The beautiful and talented Heather Webb of Between the Sheets is throwing another contest. This one centers on voice. We are submitting the first 250 words and then it’s a blog hop with other participants who will provide feedback to improve it. Once revisions are completed, off they go to Heather to judge.
I posted the original prologue back in February 2011, and it has changed quite a bit. First, it’s no longer from the narrator’s point-of-view. Second, I changed the dates. Third, I added more information, and cut out some superfluous stuff. The reason I made this drastic change was that I wanted right from the beginning for Alvah to have a larger role. So now without much further ado, here are the first 250 words of Julius.
The Lower Eastside, November 2008
I am watching you, and have been for a long time. The time isn’t right to make my presence known, but soon, soon I will be here to guide you, to be the confidante who listens to you; to be your friend. We are kindred spirits, you and I, no matter how separated we have been by decades, distance, and death.
We are comrades.
I watch you sitting in the redwood gazebo in the small, neighborhood park that preserves the memory of the late Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. Your beloved terrier is whining, pawing at your booted legs. He wants to nestle in your warm embrace. You glance at the sky. It is gray-white—typical of New York winters.
It looks like it might snow.
And you remember.
You remember that first time you saw Sing-Sing that it was a day—like today—a cold, gray-white Sunday.
It was 1980: the year that Israel and Egypt established diplomatic relations; President Jimmy Carter boycotted the Olympics held in Moscow, and the US minimum wage was $3.10. Yet none of this mattered to you because you were only ten years old.
Your grandfather had fetched you from a birthday party and you were heading back to Chappaqua—back to the old, creaky cottage that sagged with the burden of its occupants’ history. It had been your home since you were three years-old when your grandparents brought you from Paris to live with them.
And there you have it. Be kind, be gentle; my ego is fragile.