** Bring me your tired, derivative, overwrought dead manuscripts, yearning to be erased from memory… This is the first in what I intend on becoming an ongoing series where authors get to share a piece of a novel/writing project that died long before it ever could have proven its worth to its parent, its master: the author. Instead of letting the maybe-horrible, maybe-unbearable Word doc remain untouched in some far off and forgotten file folder, why not let the readers at ENCLAVE have a look? Think of it as closure. They won’t laugh, I swear. Starting things off, here’s an excerpt from my SimCity novelization attempt-gone-awry. If you are interested in having an excerpt featured in the “From the Grave” series, be sure to email me at michael @ coping mechanisms dot net. **
It’s not just a game. It’s an escape, a diversion, an exercise in principle. As in, you want something to do that doesn’t involve the same run-around, the same workday, the same frustrations. The frustrations are neck-deep. These days you can’t seem to sit still. Anxious all hours of the day and night, you are one clock tick away from giving into the frustration. Every single decision is momentous, no matter how insignificant they really are. What to eat for dinner? What brand of shampoo? A,B,C,or D? Should you call the parents or should you call in sick? Will she be voted off the show or not? Why can’t you sleep? Should you take sleeping pills? Aren’t they addictive? Do you smoke too much? Do you drink too much? Did you really buy those pills from that one dealer-guy at that party the other weekend? Where are they? You can’t find them. Did you really take them? Did you really say those things to that one colleague? Will you be fired? Why haven’t you had a date in months? Are you getting fat? Are you a couple blinks away from getting eye cancer from staring at screens all day?
Tune it out. You walk the streets back to the apartment. You can’t face the smoldering body heat, the crammed spaces of a subway train. You’ll take the long walk. You tell yourself that you could use a long walk. You hit every green light, forcing you to wait until it’s safe to cross the street.
Above you hear the rumble of thunder. It’s one of those days, weeks, months, years…
You keep your gaze trained to the dirty sidewalk.
There is nothing to see that you haven’t already seen. You don’t hate the city. It’s more like you’ve never enjoyed living anywhere. You have no “home” and yet you don’t believe there is a town, a city, that’ll fit your personality.
Ill-fitting, you occasionally glance around at the street signs, making sure you’re going the right direction.
When it starts to drizzle, you duck into the nearest store.
It’s one of those videogame stores. What’s with videogame stores and smelling like a mixture of potato chips, grease, and body odor? You avoid eye contact with the store clerks, walking the aisles, looking at the overwhelming wall of game cases, cover art all trying to grab your attention.
You almost didn’t go with a game because there were so many to choose and yet none of them stood out. You looked up and down the aisle but really –