I Pressed the Button


Leonardo da Vinci said, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”

In like manner, yesterday I abandoned further work on my novella, titled Charming Billy, and pressed the SUBMIT button, sending the manuscript across the ether and into the hands of the editors at Narrative magazine. 

Narrative describes itself as dedicated to connecting writers and readers around the globe. Sometimes referred to as the PBS of literature, Narrative claims to publish more work each year than any other literary periodical—and is free for all readers.

A few weeks ago I told you that I would be taking a hiatus from my weekly Paradise Diaries blog posts so I could complete the four books I have in progress.

In those past few weeks, I’ve taken Charming Billy as far as I could. Pressing that button was the first step in releasing Charming Billy to find its way into the world.

Charming Billy is a 23,700-word novella (a novel is more like 80,000 words) that traces a teenaged boy’s first engagements with iniquity after his brutish father turns him out of the house. 

The time is 1957, the pivotal year that introduced Sputnik, passenger jet travel and the laser. The story unfolds in a series of letters the boy writes to his younger sister at home. Billy is an intelligent fifteen-year-old, and his is the voice of a generation fascinated with everything from UFO sightings to Elvis Presley recordings. But his letters also record a sensitive adolescent’s festering fear of imminent adulthood, including a first sexual skirmish.

We follow Billy as he moves from one hideaway to another, and along the way we meet people like Joe, the knife-carrying Puerto Rican bully whose badgering drives Billy deeper into himself . . . the school custodian and the college professor, both of whom befriend Billy, but with very different outcomes . . . and Lazy Liz and The Maestro, the wealthy couple who live in a state of moral decay.

It is from these intense experiences—and others—that Billy finds answers to the transcendent questions each of us asks as we approach the threshold to adulthood.

If Charming Billy is accepted for publication, you’ll be the first to know. Until then, take along my last book—Fat Guy in a Fat Boat—next time you go to the beach. It’s at Amazon: ((http://www.amazon.com/Fat-Guy-Boat-Peter-Yaremko/dp/0990905012/)

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