Thursday, December 5, 2013

#MIHBlog ~ Richard Burns ~ Springboards for writing (Part 2)

Hello everybody, I’m Richard Burns and I’ll be filling in for Mark Casigh, and I can’t thank him and you enough for this opportunity again (Part 2)…  I’m the author of “Sweet Chocolate’s First Taste,” and a couple of stories coming out soon.

There’s a first Springboard post aired earlier today – if you missed it click here (or scroll down to the last post):

Let’s try another springboard.  But a different sort.  I’m talking about a narrative that briefly touches on a point of human nature.  Probably best, that it would be a point that you plan to make a key factor in the story you’re writing.  But let’s see if this short one doesn’t inspire your fingers on the keyboard…

89:15:50.8 seconds, is the current position of Polaris.  The Northern Star.  Viewed from another planet, it’s just another planet.  But on earth, it is uniquely important.  Fixed in place, it serves as an anchor.  No matter where you are in the Northern Hemisphere, if you face Polaris, then you face north.  You know where you are. 

But there are other ways to get lost.  And the choices we make, and the events that overwhelm us, even those within our own minds, what is our anchor then?  What beacon can we turn to, to guide us from Darkness into light?  What if it’s other people?  The lives that touch our own, in both big and small, because unlike Polaris, the light they bring, will never fade.

I really like this one because it can steer you in a dozen different directions.  You could start out being geographically lost, but then, nearly immediately, emotionally lost.  It all depends on where you want to take your characters and story line.  Does this help?

Now, I would be remiss, if I didn’t include another SHAMELSS plug for my good friend, Mark Casigh’s next release, “Auld Lang Syne,” which launches on December 13, 2013, here at MuseItHot. 

This is a Christmas tale, set in Brooklyn, New York, of two lower income Irish neighborhood kids and classmates who suddenly reconnect after decades of lost time.  To cut to the chase, a little bit, this deals with a Wounded Warrior’s return home and some readjustment phase that he has to undergo.  Here is an (UN-Edited) excerpt…

Brooklyn Public Library,  Brooklyn Heights,
280 Cadman Plaza West at Tillary St.
 Brooklyn, New York;

Friday, December 14, 2012: 
Humans are social beings.  We will constantly seek out others and attempt to establish a contact.  This will often take the form of eye contact, a shared glance, a nodded greeting in passing.  From that, we will seek to make a connection, most often in the form of a conversation.  And if the connection was made well, we’ll seek out physical contact.  Typically, this comes in the form of the simple hand shake, a greeting or affirmation that the connection was a good one.  However, often, if the connection was made on the right wavelength, that physical contact, will not be enough.  We’ll long for more.

So much more…

Sheila Callahan was about to find out just how much more.  Sheila was the Chief Librarian for the main branch of the Brooklyn Public Library, and the Librarian on Duty just before closing.  The Library was decorated perfectly, with a meticulously trimmed tree in the foyer between the glass doors.  Naturally, this was due in no small part to her.  She was always in the Christmas spirit, until recently when it had become a period of loneliness.

Mike Riley was already in the Christmas spirit.  He always was. But as he approached the Library, he looked at the festive decorations and he was further into the season, despite the unseasonably warm temperatures.  At 50F, it hardly seemed like Christmas.  Still, when he entered the foyer, the sound of “Sleigh Bells,” playing over the public address system, just further wrapped him in the warmth of the holiday spirit.

She looked up as he came through the door, giving him just a glimpse of her pleasant face, despite her furrowed brow, as she went about checking books back into the library’s inventory.  She thought to herself, here he comes now.  At last, after so long… those books must be overdue…  Wearing his hat again.  Maybe somebody should tell him people don’t wear those anymore.  The smaller brims are in.  But it does look good on him.  In fact, he’s still a good looking man.  I bet those are the same books he checked out three months ago, so they’ve got to be mighty damned late!  I wonder what he’ll have to say for himself.

He wore a wide brimmed fedora, which made him look like a 1940s caricature.  He didn’t care.  Riley also carried with him half dozen books that he had checked out previously.  He knew they were late and knew that he’d pay a fine.  He didn’t care.  To him, the books were a sort of therapy.  He left the books on the counter.  There was a bell, but didn’t think that it was worth interrupting the librarian from her current task. 

He couldn’t help but give the librarian a thorough once over.  She was tall, with wavy brunette hair brought into a bun at the back of her head. Her blouse was buttoned at the collar with a red ribbon and a cameo, then fell at a sharp angle to cover what had to be D cup breasts.  The blouse was pulled tight and tucked around her narrow waist, into a dark green velvet skirt, accentuating her very well rounded and nicely spread hips with the hem about six inches above her knees.  He never paid much attention to shoes at all, but he did notice the black three inch heels she wore and he loved how heels added that so graceful curve to the woman’s muscular calves, how they tipped her pelvis forward, raised her rump higher and rounder, made her thighs go taunt as her toes reached the floor.    She is beautiful…  What is it?  There is something about her…

He was fairly certain that she was the same librarian that was here the last time.  But, no, that wasn’t it.  He remembered having this discussion with himself last time too.  Trace evidence of a connection, once, well made.

Perhaps I know her?  From my previously life?  She looks about the same age…  There’s just something so familiar about her…  I must know her from somewhere…  She is a striking figure.  He shook himself back to reality and checked his watch, 5:30.  He had a half hour until closing.  He looked the branch over, only two other patrons in the place, one college student and one middle aged woman.  Granted, he couldn’t see into all corners, but like most Fridays, a person had better things to do and places to be, especially this close to Christmas.

The sound of the librarian at work stopped and the sudden silence made him look her way.  There she stood looking at him, her face was not so pleasant now.

“I’m afraid I owe a fine on these,” he said.

She nodded and said, “I know.  Are you going to check out some more books?”

“Yes.” He wondered, how did she know that I owe a fine?  Yes, she was the librarian on duty when I checked them out, but why, how would she remember me, out of hundreds of patrons, over three months? 

“You can settle up when you check out.”  And with that, she went back to her task.

And he went to his.  It took him about fifteen minutes to find another four books and he brought them up to the checkout counter, as she finished making her announcement over the PA system, “The library will be closing in 15 minutes.”  On his way, he noticed that the previous two patrons were now gone.

Without looking at him, she took his books with a bit of huff, and asked as though it were obligatory, “Did you find what you were looking for?”

“As a matter of fact, I did.”  He was wondering where all this attitude was coming from.

The librarian took the first book and then looked away, as though it caused her pain, and she threw it on the countertop, “Really?  Really?  Seriously?  A Walking Tour of Brooklyn’?  Are you serious?”

“Perfectly,” he said sharply.  He was starting to get a little angry and looked back into her eyes, telling her that he was completely serious.

“Do you realize that these books are the property of the New York Public Library?  That they’re not yours?  To do with as you please?  To keep on a permanent basis?”

“I do.”  Puzzled, but not wanting to give her anything more than what she was asking for, he tried to draw more conversation out of her by minimizing his input.

“I have to wonder, after your casual attitude towards the last batch you checked out.”

 “Well, I was a bit over ambitious last time and I bit off more than I can chew right now.  There’s a bit of story behind that, but I won’t bore you with it.”

She then turned to one of the books Mike returned, she pulled the print out receipt, scrawled on it in blue ink was a note that said, “Let’s catch up!  Call me,  Sheila!”  “Mmm-hmmm, so why didn’t you call me?”  She stood, bent slightly at the waist with her fists on her hips, scowling at him in clear, obvious anger.

Seeing the note for the first time, Mike was stunned.  He thought, So, her name is Sheila…, He stammered in response, “Look, there’s a long story here…   I mean…  You’ll have to forgive me, I…?  Look, let me explain…”  He suddenly didn’t want to get bogged down into the details of the last few years.  So, as was his custom in these situations, he acquiesced with the minimum. 

“Look, I haven’t been able to read a book for over three years, so checking out so many books last time was far too ambitious.  I never got to that book, so I never found that note.  Sheila, I’m sorry.  I didn’t recognize you last time,” His next thought was, Hell, I don’t know who you are now! 

Suddenly, there came images of her, at age 10, 12, then 14.  Fairly tall, a little gangly for her age, always skinny, not much of a figure then, My God, that has changed!  At every school dance, but he couldn’t remember ever seeing her dance.  Just like him.  He’d been a professional wall-flower then, but clearly, he did know her.

With the knowledge of her name, he instantly felt faint traces of that connection with her, and clearly they had one, at one time.  If nothing else, right now, that connection was: She knows me from before!  It must be Sacred Hearts, one of Brooklyn’s Catholic schools, 1st grade through High School.  He really wanted to go out with this woman, to get to know her, again.  To relive his formative years here.  No, it was more than just that.  The longer he stared at her, the more beautiful she became.  But he felt that attraction had some history.  If I could only remember…

Sheila stood behind the counter, with her hand to her forehead, shaking her head in what seemed like disproportionate anger.  This kind of mad, over a few late books?

Why are you this mad at him?  Over a few late books?  No, it’s because you liked him, and you wanted him to like you!  No, it’s more than that even, you wanted him and you wanted him to want you!  Sheila argued with herself.

But in those days, at Sacred Heart’s, it was far better to be thought a non-dancing dweeb by the girls, than a hopeless dork by the boys!  Even being a minor jock on the Football Team would not have protected him.  He just wasn’t one of the cool kids, there was nothing more socially crippling than doing something stupid on the dance floor in front of everybody, much less in the plain view of a girl that you happened to like!  No, Mike took the coward’s way out, pretty consistently in those days.  Don’t kid yourself Mike, you’re still taking the coward’s way out!  Tell her you have problems.

 “Let me make this up to you, let me buy you dinner, tonight?”

Sheila was very suspicious and not at all ready to let him off of the hook.  She put her palm to her forehead and shook her head ‘no’ as she looked at her feet.   As she shook her head, he felt his heart sink down into his stomach.  Already feeling that sickly feeling of rejection, just like he always did in those days, at Sacred Hearts.

Sheila argued with herself, No, don’t set yourself up for another disappointment.  Don’t let yourself get hurt again!  How many times are you going to shoot yourself like this?  But then, he always was a little different.  Come on Sheila!  You are worth a little extra effort and if he has half of the character that you remember, he’s worth a little extra effort too!  Give it a shot…  Just jump in and start swimming…

Whispering she asked, “Why haven’t you been able to read a book?”

He wanted to be with her.  He wanted her company.  He wanted to know what she knows.  He wanted her memories.  He wanted to experience every facet of this straight-laced, prim & proper woman.  She looked so proper on the exterior, but within this super specimen of fine feminine flesh that lay beneath the thinnest veneer, he knew, laid a temptress!  Such a phenomenal body on her!  The contrast…  You’re kidding nobody Mike!  You’re horny and you want to be inside of her!

“It’s a long story.”  He mumbled looking so lost and forlorn at what he felt certain was her refusal for dinner.

She looked up and met his gaze, and her glare seemed to soften.  She liked his hazel eyes, he really has grown into such a handsome man.

“Is it a good story?” She asked.

He looked down towards the counter, shaking his head no, “No, sorry.  Just a long one.”
*                                      *                                      *

SORRY!  That’s all you get!  But this is a Very Romantic story above a love lost and therefore, unsatisfied, the old school flame that suddenly walks back into your life.  What would you do?  Say?  What if you reconnected very well?  What if you didn’t?

In addition to being a very romantic story, it is a Very HIGHLY CHARGED Erotic one too!  And when it comes to the steamy love scenes, nobody writes them like Mark! 

My thought here is that in being a reader and probably a pretty regular one, that there is probably some part in you that would like to be a writer.  And I FIRMLY believe, that everybody (yes, I do mean that without exception!) has a book in them.  It’s really only a matter of putting it down on paper. 

I’d like to think that I am helping to inspire the next generation of writers.  Both in Canada & the US!  Hopefully, one of these has inspired your fingers to feats of greater glory on the keyboard.  Now get busy!!!

Again, feel free, to contact me:, put in the subject line:  “Richard, I have a question…”

From Me & Mine to All of You & Yours
We are wishing you The Merriest of Christmas Seasons!!!

Richard Burns

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richard...thanks so much for your wisdom - I've enjoyed your posts. Springboards are a great way to inspire would be fun to do this again sometime.

Happy Holidays to you too:)