Six Feet Away, is a book I initially wrote in 1991, that
was based on a short story that I couldn't let go. Originally it was about 275 pages and most of the characters lacked
depth. I decided to rewrite it in 2001, when I became a stay-at-home dad. Now it's around 375 pages, with characters
that are more realistic. There is more conflict, more storyline, and more of everything. I'm actually going to
try and get it published upon its completion.
I wrote the book the first time for two reasons. One, I had always wanted to write a book.
Two, I was dumping a ton of emotional angst onto paper. Few things are as cathartic to me as writing. Some
of the above mentioned emotional angst was pretty direct and fairly true-to-life in the original manuscript but much of that
material has since been deleted or changed a great deal. I'm attempting to write a novel now and not a hybrid between
a novel and my personal diary.
My fantasy is to get the thing published, make a little bit of money, do a few book signings, and maybe
get invited to a few speaking engagements concerning the book. My reality is that I've probably got just as good of
a chance at being hired to perform in CATS on Broadway. I'm prepared for that. My other reality is that
if the book does get published, then family, friends, and possibly others will point their fingers at me and shout, "That
character is supposed to be me, isn't it!" Which could be followed by, "You bastard!", or "I'm suing you!", or "Thanks,
I didn't know you thought so much of me." I've drawn from personal experience to create several parts of the book and
the people who know me best will easily be able to discern those parts, but most of it is totally made up, because I'm just
such an unbelievably creative guy :-). The professor is not my dad, the main character is in no way shape or form anything
like me, and my mom isn't in there anywhere either. My brother and sister don't appear either. However, the
bearded lesbian character really is inspired by my friend, Reed Hubbard, and the middle-aged man who aspires to molest squirrels
is a transparent attempt to include Read Hendon in my book.
So, what's Six Feet Away about? It begins with the birth of one of two main characters,
Alex Andrews, of Jackson, Mississippi. Alex is born to wealthy parents, one a former Miss Ole Miss, and the other a
collegiate football star. The other main character is a professor, Dr. Oscar Taylor. While Alex is coming
into the world, Dr. Taylor is working his way up the ladder of academia, without great success. Their stories
run parallel to one another, until they meet many years later in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, at which point their individual
stories merge and become one story.
The rough draft isn't finished yet, as I've had two different paths I've taken on the development of
the story. My goal is to finish it sometime this year (2003), but we'll see. I like to write for hours at
a time, not in little 30 or 40 minute bursts. I typically don't have several hours in a row to write but I'll do what
I can to reach my goal.