Thursday, April 13, 2017

Death in the City - an Excerpt from Part 4 "Hard Words & Harder Goodbyes

I would like to really thank everyone that has ordered copies of "Death in the City." I'm looking forward to reading your reviews when you're finished reading it. For those who haven't read it yet, here's another sample.

4 - Hard Words & Harder Goodbyes

The first half of Nurse Jeanie’s work day went by faster than she expected despite the emergency room being relatively quiet that evening with the exception of a few crying children who were sick with the flu and a few loud confrontations between hospital security guards and homeless men who kept having to be escorted out of the building for loitering. It was freezing outside and they were seeking somewhere to sleep and get warm but the hospital didn’t want them inside the building unless they were there for medical treatment which, by law, they couldn’t deny them. There was also a grumpy, rude, perverted old man suffering from an asthma attack that kept wheezing inappropriate requests directed at the female nurses. He seemed to be obsessed with how their butts looked in their nurse’s uniforms and insisted on telling them, in graphic detail, what he wanted them to let him do to those butts. He was obnoxiously loud but otherwise, the doctors, nurses, orderlies and everyone on duty that night were all appreciative of a not-so-busy night in the E.R. for a change. Everyone seemed to be drowsy and moving at a snail’s pace because of the sleepy vibe that hung in the air like a thick fog.
Jeanie hadn’t brought any food from home so on her break, she decided to buy dinner from the West Indian food truck that was always parked on the side block of the hospital. She loved Jamaican food and they always had delicious, spicy jerk chicken which she happened to have a craving for that evening. She placed her order at the window cut into the side of the truck, then rocked and swayed to the old school reggae that softly poured out of the truck’s speakers. She made pleasant small talk with the chubby owner of the food truck as he prepared her meal but only because it would have seemed rude if she hadn’t. He politely passed her the hot chicken wrapped in aluminum foil and Jeanie smiled at how delicious if smelled. She wished him a pleasant night before she turned away to walk back to the hospital. That’s when she heard a familiar voice behind her.
“Why’d you call me and hang up?” Nate, Jeanie’s ex-husband, asked.
Angry and annoyed by the sound of his voice, Jeanie spun around to face him. The last thing she was in the mood for was an argument with him on the street outside of her job. When she looked at him, she was shocked by his appearance. He had always been a neat, well-groomed man. He cared so much about the way he looked that she often called him pretty, or vain so it was surprising to see him disheveled and un-kept. Even in the shadow that the hood of his sweatshirt cast over his face, she could tell that he hadn’t shaved in weeks. He wasn’t exactly filthy but, his jeans were just dirty enough to let her know that he had been wearing them for some time without washing them.
“What’re you doing here Nate?” she asked.
“I haven’t seen or heard from you in a month and a half. I’ve tried to reach out to you but you won’t take my calls,” he said.
“Because there’s nothing to talk about,” she interrupted.
Nate felt her animosity towards him like a gunshot to his chest but he was determined to keep talking because he had no idea when he would have the chance to speak to, or see her again.
“I was surprised to see your number pop up in my phone yesterday and then I got worried when you just hung up,” he explained.
“I hung up because I didn’t want to talk to you,” she quickly answered.
“But you must have wanted to talk because you dialed my number…unless you called me by mistake,” he said, questioning her sincerity.
“Listen Nate…I had a really rough day and I was having a really hard time sleeping so I dialed your number. I swear, I’m not even sure why I thought it was a good idea to call you but I hung up because I changed my mind,” she explained without sharing the whole truth with him which made her feel bad because she had always believed that selective, deliberate omission was the same as lying.
“Well, what had you shook up enough to reach out to me all of a sudden? In all the years I’ve known you, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you afraid or unsure, or even restless. You’ve always been a woman of faith,” he said.
“Not anymore,” Jeanie answered. “ I gave all that up after our son was taken from us.”
“Well, your faith isn’t the only thing you gave up on after he died,” said Nate.
“He didn’t die! He was killed….and I don’t want to talk about this,” she snapped.
“Why not? Why can’t we talk about our son? Why can’t we talk about us? We were supposed to be there for each other…to get through this. What the fuck happened to our marriage?” Nate yelled so loudly that more than a few people passing by turned their heads to see what was going on.
“Because there’s nothing to talk about!” she shouted and the veins in her neck bulged as she yelled back at the top of her voice.
“Nothing? Twelve years of marriage and you think there’s nothing to talk about?” he asked and grabbed her arm as she tried to walk away from him.
“No…nothing!” she said through gritted teeth as she yanked her arm away from him and continued on her way back to the hospital.
“So…it’s really just that easy for you to throw it all away…to throw me away?” he asked.
Nate’s question made Jeanie turn around and storm right back towards him. His aggressive demand for answers had triggered an anger inside her that she had kept bottled up for so long that it had become more harmful to her heart than her grief. There were things that she needed to say but had avoided saying just to spare Nate’s feelings but now that he had chosen to relentlessly pry, she decided to let him have it all.
“Yes, it WAS that easy. You want to know why I stopped loving you?” she asked while poking her finger in his chest. “I stopped loving you the day you stood up on that podium, in front of all those news cameras, right alongside the police commissioner, calling for peace, asking everyone to stay calm, begging the people who were angry and outraged about what happened to OUR boy not to turn the city upside down. You stood side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder with the people who were protecting and defending our son’s murderer. You stood there…asking everyone to protest peacefully and I just stood there with you and let you speak…and I hated you…and I hated myself too. While you were trying to help them save this place, all I wanted was to watch it burn like the hell it is. That’s when I stopped believing in you…stopped loving you. That’s when I stopped believing in everything I was taught about faith…and forgiveness. I have neither one of those things left in me. Do you get it now? Do you understand now? I hope you do. Now…leave me the fuck alone,” she told him coldly before she turned her back on him and started to walk away again.
“I lost a son too. I miss him too. I hurt too!” Nate yelled after her.

“Obviously not as much as I do,” she answered without turning around to look at him.

Copyright © 2016 Keith Kareem Williams
All rights reserved.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Writer Wednesday Featuring Imani Wisdom

Good day folks. Welcome to another installment of "Writer Wednesday." Today, let's get to know another very talented writer. Enjoy the interview and please, follow her links and show her some love.

Writer Wednesday Featuring
Imani Wisdom

1. When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been wanting to be a writer since I was eight years old. And it was also that time when I penned my first song lyrics. At that time, I didn’t understand the connection of organizing my work or developing character. I just knew, then, I love the feeling of writing.
2. Does writing energize or exhaust you?
Writing my meditation. It relaxes me, but I also love the energy of the craft. That unpredictability of new storylines keep my passion afloat.
3. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?
Depending on how you define “writer”, I believe it’s very hard to separate writing from emotions. Before I published my first book, Zion’s Road, I used writing as a form of healing. Back then, I never had an interest of writing professionally. I just knew the pain had inside needed to come out. So, writing, on different levels will have to come from some sort of emotions.
4. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Persist and never quit, and find a mentor.
5. What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Probably when I discovered I enjoyed writing – at eight years old.
6. How many hours a day do you write?
Before I started to working my night job, I wrote early mornings, four to six hours a day. Now, at least once a week.
7. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?
It’s not difficult at all, except when the character calls for a scene conveying their inner-thoughts and feelings.
8. How do you select the names of your characters?
There’s nothing special on how I choose my characters’ names, they just come based on feeling. However, there are a couple of names in my latest novel, The Journey of Ruthie Belle, that are named after two, lost loved-ones. The names fit the characters perfectly.
9. Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Shortly after I published Zion’s Road, I used to check for reviews every day – perhaps, twice, or more a day. And now, I wait until I get alerts in my inbox. I’m not saying I don’t care for reviews, but I’ve learned to move on from all reviews. Taking reviews to heart – especially the negative ones – can rattle your confidence.
10. What was your hardest scene to write?
In, The Journey of Ruthie Belle, the first scene was, not only difficult to write, but an emotional one because of the graphic detail of domestic violence. I’ve been asked if I would’ve changed anything in the book, I would rewrite the scene without the violence, and the answer to that is no. Without the opening scene, it wouldn’t have conveyed Ruthie’s truth, and how she survived for 80 years.
11. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
On average, three months. But I have written manuscripts in much shorter time, including Zion’s Road, which was three days.
12. Do you believe in writer’s block?
I do, but there’s a way to overcome writer’s block. First, step away from the computer or your notebook and do something else, anything to keep your mind occupied other than characters and plot-lines. Or, freewrite without stopping. Trust me, once you put the words on paper without backtracking, your creative juices will flow.
I do this all the time and it works.
13. What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
What’s difficult, now, is not being to able whenever I want. I have to carry a small notebook to work whenever I have ideas.
14. Does your family support your career as a writer?
It used to bother me, and now I focus what matters: My art.

***Booking for Imani Wisdom contact***