More Unedited Spec Fiction


I grew up in a place called the Nursery.   That wasn’t its actual name, I can’t remember it now, but Lars always called it that, and so eventually we all did too.  The Nursery is a compound in Finland, I think, on the border with Sweden, in Lapland.  I found it on a map in the library in Pawling.  That’s where I am now.  Pawling, New York.  We never knew where the nursery was, exactly, when we were there.  It was for our own protection, they told us.  But when I got out, I wanted to find it.  To locate myself on this planet.  You can’t know where you are going until you know where you’ve been.  I heard that in a song lyric somewhere. 

I had some clues as to where to look.  Lars was pretty smart, but not always discreet, and he let slip occasional clues, names of places and such, over the years.  Once I learned to listen, I saved them, stored them up.  Plus, I was able to calculate from the length of the plane trip, and the direction.  We  had traveled east on the plane.  And the only reason I know that is because I calculated the time when we left, how long we traveled, and the time we arrived.  It wasn’t hard to figure out once I searched based on climate.  Not many places are that dark and cold.  It’s damn near tropical here in Pawling.

The Nursery.  How to describe it?  Well, it was a little town, smallish, comparatively.  Tiny, I guess.  There were about three hundred people, all told, the Oman, and some of their mothers.  Unlike other places I’ve seen recently, we all looked different, brown, black, yellow, white, pink.  All the Oman.  The mothers were from everywhere, but mostly they were brown.  I guess because the brown skinned ones were the most marginalized.  The most, well, culturally homogenous.  That’s not right, exactly.  They were the ones that had the most authentic cultural practices, and had maintained their nativity, in blood and behavior, since before the mutations. 

I’m not really being making sense, am I?  To be clear, the people in the nursery had all been chosen by Gale, purchased by Gale, because of their status as genetic vessels of authenticity.  The ones he chose still lived in the manner in which people were supposed to live, had evolved to live, and they had done so consistently, since before the ‘I’ mutation.  He searched the databases, the genetic libraries, for the ones with the oldest, most pure origins.  But more than that.  Once found, they were tested for their microbiology, to make sure that their systems still worked in harmony.

Their hormones, their immune system, their vagal system, and their lymphatic functions, needed to still be symbiotic with their personal internal microbial communities.   I’m sure he was the only one who cared about that part, the microbiology.  I’ve learned in the last months that microbiology doesn’t really matter to anyone else.   They keep all the data, of course, from the fecal banks, and they are studying it, but they haven’t figured out how it works yet.  Only Gale saw that one. 

Gale saw a lot of things first.

News to me; he created these devices… wait, no.  He didn’t create them; he just runs them.  Or designed them to run?  The phones, those black boxes everyone has.  Another guy made them, but Gale was the one who figured out how to make them work without the wires.  No more wires.  On anything.  I guess it’s a big deal, because he’s the richest person in the world.   He calls it the Freedom device, which is pretty funny, considering he thinks they are all slaves.  He told me so.  He told me lots of things I didn’t understand at the time, but it’s all coming clearer now. 

And they are all slaves.  Criminally enslaved to their poor choices.  It’s no wonder they mutated.  Although, to be fair, the mutations happened, or at least started happening, a long time ago.  Probably 6000 BCE in some places.  Basically when people started fighting over food.  With weapons.  The phones aren’t the cause, they are the symptom.

But there are still some of us.  I actually came from where I grew up, a Finn.  Sami, they call them now.  A fen.  I was the first.  Not the first Finn, obviously.  The first Oman.  The first one that Gale found, when he started looking.  Or rather, paid people to look.  I traced my lineage in the library, from my facial structure.  I could have gotten it right quick with one of those phone things, but, ‘no way man’, as they say. 

So I grew up in the Nursery, in Lapland.  Not a bad place for a childhood, if you ask me.  From what I’ve seen.  We had everything we needed.  The Nursery was modern, clean, bright, and happy.  There were plenty of children, plenty of food, plenty of everything.  We lived really well.  Better than most, from what I can tell.  I was in ‘The City’, as they say, and let me tell you; I would not want to have grown up there.  Boy.  Words can’t express. 

When I was young, the staff was more present in the Nursery.  As I got older, and more Oman were born, and bought, we eventually took over everything, all the teaching and crafts and skills, all the cooking and the food, until there was no staff left.  Then it was just the Oman.  Doing what Oman do.  Yoga and reading, study and class work, indoor growing and animal husbandry, unions, and babies.  Living.  Most of the Oman have no memories of the staff.  Gale, and Uncle Lars, they were the only different ones. 

I think I probably always knew about Lars.  Something behind the eyes. 

Gale though, he was just Father.  And he was a good father.  He bought us gifts, loved us.  Treated each of us as his favorite.  Knew all our names.  He read to us at night, even when there were thirty, forty, sixty of us.  He taught us the Original Conception, and the Creed.  We believed him.  We believed it all.  Now, I don’t know.

The Nursery is gone now, I’m sure.  He probably burned it to the ground when we left.  That was part of the original plan, I bet, just not so soon.  We had to move when they closed the boarders.  We wouldn’t have been able to leave later, I guess, something about the missile defense system.  We would have been blown out of the sky.  All Gale’s work, gone.  But no, he had other Nurseries.  I found that out later.   I’ve never seen him so freaked as when they closed the borders.  He had a lot to lose.  But he had a back-up plan.  Of course he did.  We came to the States for the last few years, snuck out ‘under the radar’, as they say, to the new place, the Compound, until the Domes are ready.  

I’m here in Pawling because I’m stuck.  I can’t get back to where I should be, because it’s gone now, then gone again, along with my wives, my children, and I’m not even sure where.  So much has happened to me in the last month.  I learned some things, a lot of things, that were bad.  I made some bad choices.  Stupid choices.  I have to figure out what to do next, and soon.  I don’t have much time. 

Ok my dear readers. Let’s take a poll. Not sure it’s such a good idea to put out unedited writing , but I’m willing to share some of this story because I’m just having so much fun writing it. Anyone think it’s a good idea to post these ramblings until I can get back to real garden news? Do you care what happens to Adam?

Would you read it?

My first wife was purchased for two million dollars.  Not by me, of course, I don’t have that kind of money.  I don’t have any money, actually.  Didn’t really need it, did I?  But I did have a million-dollar wife.  That’s something, anyway.  She’s gone now.

            I only met her when I was seventeen, even though we lived in the Nursery together since we were born.  Or rather, since we were purchased, which for me was right away, as an infant, maybe even before.  I didn’t see those documents, but I suspect.  Maybe it was later for my wife.  The Nursery has a separate section for girls and boys, at least when we were young.  At least it did at first.  It’s a complicated place, the Nursery. 

            Gale named her Eve, my first wife.  A bit cheeky, if you ask me, but you know Gale.  He has a flare for drama, and not always the subtle kind.  He wants everyone to know where things stand.  No oblivious exit for anyone.  That’s what has me worried.     I’m surprised, now that I think of it, that he didn’t make us call him God.  We did call him father, though, all one hundred and eleven of us.  Did I say Gale has a lot of money? 

            Maybe I should start at the beginning.  My name is Adam, and I am the original Oman.  The foundation.  The seed.  Created, if I can use that term loosely, by a Godman, a man who thinks he’s God.  A man playing God.  Maybe I should just call him God. 

No, he’d like that too much.  His name is Gale, and he’s just a man, like me.  Gale Herald.  I’m sure you’ve heard of him.  Yup, that Gale Herald.

            I’ve had a pretty quick learning curve here, so forgive me if I’m sloppy in the retelling.  I only met the real Gale Herald last month.  And met is the wrong word.  I didn’t meet him.  If I had, there would be no story to be telling.  Or rather, possibly, no one to tell the story.  Discovered is the word.  I discovered who Gale Herald actually is.  If I hadn’t had the resiliency training, the shock would have killed me.

Truth be told, I don’t know where this tale really starts.  Does it start with me, my experiences in the Nursery, my life?  My new perspective?  Maybe. But maybe the beginning was before me.  Beyond me.  I mean, I’m really the victim here, at least right now (although, ‘victimization is a choice’, I hear Lars in my head).  Maybe this story really should start with Gale.  It was all his plan, anyway, so I’ll start with Gale. 

But even then.  Do I start with Gale now, or the one I knew, my father Gale? 

You know what?  This is my story.  Plenty of stories will be written about Gale someday, so, fuck Gale.  My name is Adam.  The second Adam.

This is an excerpt from my new writing project. I’m having so much fun writing, I don’t really want to hear if you don’t like it, but….I’m trying to toughen my skin, so I’ll bite the bullet. What do you think?


Hey folks!

So, I just happened to take a look at my blog the other day. I haven’t paid attention to it in ages. It was one of those dumb things where I looked at my phone at five o’clock in the morning (never a good idea), got a notification from twitter, remembered a tweet that I had replied to, tried to search for it, opened my profile, saw the blog link and clicked on it. Click click click. Down the rabbit hole. Just for fun, I clicked on archives, and re-read a post from January 2019. It was about how there is nothing to do in the garden in January. I had good laugh at that one. Prophetic. There hasn’t been much to do for about a year besides bear witness to a deranged commander in chief, (I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with reality tv, i.e. the news) and learn how to avoid just about everyone. Anyway, the point is that in that blog post, I told you I was going to start a novel. Two years ago. Remember?

Well guess what? I actually did it!

Maybe I shouldn’t be surprised. Like I said, I didn’t have much else to do. But before you all rush over to Amazon and search for my book, (I hope you will be doing exactly that very soon, it’s called Bridge to Eden, but before you do) please understand there is a whole heck of a lot more to writing novels than you might think. Than I thought. Writing the damn thing is only half the battle. Not even half.

First you write it.

Then you edit it.

Then you edit it again.

Then you have beta readers read it, edit it, and comment for, well, everything. Pacing, consistency, plot structure, character development, subtext, foreshadowing, sentence structure, voice. Tone, symbolism, setting, point of view, story arc, conflict. Did I say pacing? Then you rewrite. Then you edit.

Then you hire an editor, and wait. And wait. Then, when she has sliced your novel to bits with her pen in order to reconstruct it in a better way, you do all that first stuff again. Torture.

Then, when you have done all that, and it’s the absolute best writing you can do, you are ready to query. But even before you query, you must learn the correct way to query. It’s different for different for every agent, mind you, and might include a synopsis, a biographical statement, including accolades and other published works, and anything at all you can use to prove that someone else might want to read your story too.

A note about the query letter. This letter must be the best three paragraphs of your life, because if you don’t utilize every single word to hook your agent, (you know, the one you researched, whom you follow on twitter, you like all their posts on FB, know their dog’s name, their favorite ice cream, the one you basically stalk), then you will never get published. Then, once you have queried an agent, and your three paragraphs were interesting enough for them to request the whole manuscript, you wait. Months. For them to get around to actually reading it. Torture.

Then, if you actually get someone on the hook, if you happen to be the lucky winner whose manuscript just happened to land on an agent’s desk the very minute they decided they needed a philosophical speculative dystopian upmarket book club (not quite literary) possibly YA, with elements of LGBTQ, generational bonds and mental illness, well, then, they might just offer to represent you. Then you work with another editor. THEN, if a publisher bids on your novel, they will offer you a paltry sum to publish your blood, sweat and tears into an actual book. And because it’s your first novel and you don’t know any better, you are insanely happy.

Now, before you start to think that I’m already insanely happy, I’m not. I’m still in the torture stage. All I did was finish the novel (and some of the editing). I have a long, long way to go before you can buy it on Amazon. But this brings me to my point.

Eat the Season is now just called Delicate Balance (the URL hasn’t changed, though) and here, along with interesting garden tidbits, recipes, and random thoughts on life, I will be talking about my writing. And maybe posting some actual writing. Hope you don’t mind.

As always, I’d love to hear from you, about your experiences writing, or knitting, or gardening, or cooking, or anything else you want to talk about. Check in. I miss my peeps.

Down Time

Down Time

Ah, January. One of my favorite months. Not only because its often snowy and sunny at the same time, like today, but because I don’t have to be doing doing doing every minute of every day. I’m speaking as a gardener when I say there is always something to be doing in the garden. Except in January.

This is my down time. The time when I get to relax and just think about the garden. I can plan what steps I need to take in the spring. I can lay out my vegetables on my garden plan. I can shop seed catalogs. I can daydream about it, or not, but I don’t have to show up every day and get my hands dirty.

Sure, there are other things to be doing in January, like shoveling snow, but I don’t feel the urgency of things needing to be done yesterday, the crisis of time passing while weeds are growing, that I feel in the warmer months. It feels nice to relax.

It’s also wrestling season, another one of my favorite times. Well, not the wrestling part, actually, that isn’t terribly pleasant. The part I love is watching my 17 yo son kick some booty on the mat. That part is super fun. He’s really good.

Since this blog is about gardening and eating (mostly), you’re probably wondering what is on the table at Winter Farm this snowy season. Well, we are enjoying the moose meat that my son, (also a world traveling hunter) brought back from Newfoundland this fall. We have a bunch of duck, goose, pheasant and venison in the freezer too. I’ve been having fun cooking from Hank Shaw’s cookbooks Duck Duck Goose, and Buck Buck Moose. He’s a terribly clever chef of wild game.

So what am I doing with all my free down time? I decided to write a novel. Ha ha, I know. I can hear you all laughing. As you should. I don’t really know how to write fiction, and so I’m learning as I go. Playing catch up and realizing it is nothing like I though it would be. Hard work. I have a whole new respect for authors. Anyone out there with advice for a wannabe author?