Friday, August 30, 2013

Excerpt: Brain: The Man Who Wrote the Book That Changed the World by Dermot Davis

Going Dutch

It had been ten years since Daniel’s graduation and it’s fair to say that the intervening years had not been very kind to him, personally or professionally. Despite some early signs of success, where Daniel acquired a literary agent and had two novels published by a small, yet well regarded, independent publisher, his books did not sell well. His most recent book advance was rapidly approaching complete exhaustion.

Encouraged by his agent to move to a larger metropolis, a shift which she sold to him as a necessary career move (to take meetings and, generally, to be taken seriously by the literary establishment), Daniel moved to Beverly Hills. Soon after that he prudently chose to relocate to West Hollywood and then slowly but surely he continued to down-size and move to less affluent neighborhoods as his funds continued to evaporate.

Upon his final move to a poor and quite noisy neighborhood in the San Fernando Valley, he tempered his self-disappointment with the justification that he was a true artist and like the then unknown and struggling literary expatriates of Paris (Sherwood Anderson, John Dos Passos, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, et al), at the turn of the twentieth century, he too only required a bed, a desk and a typewriter.

His light brown wavy hair made curlier by the heat (and his failure to shower immediately upon waking), Daniel stood over his printer as it printed the remaining few pages of his latest novel, The Impossible Dream: Part Two. Bought at the local thrift store, his once-reliable printer was now on its last legs and white streaks were beginning to run down the freshly printed pages. Daniel wiped his sweaty brow and, with excited satisfaction, watched his document print.

Excited about his imminent luncheon appointment with his agent, Suzanne, he was confident that she would not judge him for the poor quality of the manuscript but instead would, once she had read the initial few pages, revel in the prose. In fact, Daniel was one hundred percent sure that the quality of his brilliant writing would obfuscate any short-comings with the print and toner issues in the document. As his new novel was a sequel, he expected it to be a highly desirable property. It answered many questions which were left tantalizingly unanswered in The Impossible Dream: Part One.

He didn’t want to second guess the publisher’s marketing rationale for not having Part One out in print yet but he assumed that it was because they were waiting for him to finish Part Two so that they could better strategize promotional and marketing opportunities for both books. The publishing and marketing of books was a foreign country to Daniel; one that he didn’t know nor truly care to understand but he did appreciate that it was sure to have its intricacies and indeed, for himself and other authors, its necessity.

Like his printer, and most other mechanical and electrical items which he owned, Daniel’s fifteen year old car was also on its last legs. As he sat behind the wheel, with ignition key in hand, he made a silent wish that it would start up and without incident transport him to his meeting with Suzanne, on time. Having untold trouble with the vehicle in the past few weeks, he finally had taken it to a mechanic. He had hoped to get a free estimate of its laundry list of issues. Then, he could prioritize repairs and determine what he could afford to have remedied. To his shock, the low ball estimate of the mechanic required a great deal more money than the actual car was worth.


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Genre - Contemporary Fiction

Rating – PG13

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