My grandfather, at age 25, wrote a novel. It was published in 1906. I have a copy.
For decades — nearly a century — this book was not talked about in my family. It was shocking! It’s still shocking to some of my relatives. So much so that the copy I first uncovered 20 years ago was tucked away in someone’s drawer, and I never saw it again. I had to go to a rare book service to get another one of the few still surviving.
Apparently this book was at least partially autobiographical. Grandpa subtitled it, “Being the Little Story of a Young Railway-Office Clerk,” which is just what he was. He used his real name, with a fanciful and romantic faux middle name. Clever disguise!
In his little book, my grandfather wrote about a young man having an unrequited crush on some beautiful girl that he admired from afar as she walked to and from church every Sunday. He longed to marry her. He fell in love, knowing nothing but her name.
And yet… scandalous to his future wife and eventual children.
There’s the shocking scene where he finds a girl in the bushes smoking a cigarette. The wild night when he gets drunk and has to walk all the way home. The desperate pledge he makes to marry another young lady, a pious and beautiful blonde, who goes to the “Italian church.”
And finally — spoiler alert, in case you want to read the book yourself — he gets very ill, and at death’s door sends his best friend to tell the winsome girl who is the object of his affection that he would die happy if she would only visit him once before he shuffles off this mortal coil.
Reader, visit him she does, but when he professes his interest (in a very restrained way), she tells him that she is going away to join a nunnery. Alas… all his hopes are dashed.
To me, it was entirely fascinating to read the young thoughts of a forebear I never met, and to have a little glimpse into his world. Very cool and very tame. I like to think that we would have enjoyed each other, if we had ever met.
But here is the MOST shocking part. I’m not sure if the fuss was about more about the illustrations than the words. Because my grandfather was also an artist, he drew a sketch of (ready for it… gird your loins!) a naked woman.
Clearly, there were no naked women in those days. It’s a wonder my father ever got born.
And thus the lesson, dear writers — behold the power of the book. Here we are more than one hundred years later, and my grandfather’s little story remains a rather scandalous, barely-discussed subject to his family.
Now, imagine what trouble you can stir up when you write something for your descendants to read and devour!
Works in Progress
"Sand Song” (a novella set in Hugh Howey’s SANDbox) 8,627 / 10000 words. 87% done!
"The Terminal” (a dark futuristic short) 2383 / 2000 words. 100% done!
“ROCKS 1” (the first episode in a dystopian series) 5675 / 10000 words. 57% done!
“Salt & Pepper Mystery #1” (Book one of a cozy mystery series) 22379 / 40000 words. 56% done!
Karma lives in the Silo, deep underground. She lives with a man whom she barely knows and with a name she doesn’t remember choosing. When visions come to her about another husband, another way of life, and another world, Karma struggles to discover what came before.
Five years have passed since the airlock slammed shut on the 4,000 souls condemned to live in the Silo. Karma can remember now that there was a time before--before she was locked into this cylindrical tomb under the earth. But all she can see of the outside are dead hills and the dark clouds swirling through what remains of a toxic world.
Karma lives in a Silo deep beneath the earth. She isn't sure of much else… only that the wallscreen shows an outside view that is barren and swirling with toxic clouds. Most of the other residents seem content. Except for the ones who jump to their deaths from the hundred-level spiral staircase. And the ones who are pushed.
The kids are fighting in the Silo—gangs engage in battles between the Up Top and the Down Deep, with the Mids caught in between. There are too many young people without work. They ink themselves with primitive face tats and guard their territory against incursions from below or above.
Karma has endured twenty-five years underneath the earth. Her path in life—a path she never bargained for—has included marriage to a man she never chose, whose powerful position forces her to hide her memories of the time before.
After a hellish three months locked in the private inner sanctum of IT, Karma and her family emerge, bloodied and forever changed. Rick is a man who is no longer in control. Mars has become the power in the Silo.
Daniel is sixteen now, and he can count up to one hundred. He can go all by himself up and down the two levels of the Silo between his home and his job. Daniel knows he's not as smart as some people. But his mother told him he was smart enough to help her, so it must be true. He always believes his mother. His mother is a doctor.
THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS GOING TO BE A WOMAN... Catherine Young, Vice President and newly-anointed Democratic nominee, is surging in the polls. The race is on against GOP candidate Jerusha Hutchins, folksy charmer and blonde beauty, who is the darling of the far-right Liberty Party.
Join Harold and Rosemary as they bring together their family and friends for a night of celebration before a long-planned trip... and see just how this journey ends. Mix a little Dorothy Parker and a little Shirley Jackson, add a twist of David Sedaris and a pinch of O.Henry, and out comes a satirical romp. "Till Death Do Us Part" is a 3,000 word short story. This is a sophisticated take on the way people fool themselves. More New Yorker magazine than Asimov.
A pinch of Dorothy Parker and a twist of O.Henry go into the mix to make this Fitzgerald short a bracing sip of satire. There is a free sample of RUNNING, her best-selling Kindle political thriller, at the end of this story.
Another quirky short story from Patrice Fitzgerald about love and the ways people connect. When Felicia gets a special birthday request from her husband Herman, she can't believe what he's asking her to do. Will she say yes? This 3,000 word short story explores the nature of a happy marriage, compromise, and passion. A four-chapter sample of Fitzgerald's best-selling political thriller, RUNNING, is also included.
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