2014—the year of my sophomore novel I AM
Phoenix Harper’s childhood was stolen at the age of ten. He was in fourth grade. He raced home to watch cartoons after school. He was sexually molested. No one believed him.
And then he blinked.
Now, at the age of twenty-two, he is neither a child nor a functioning adult. Forced to return to his hometown, it’s like some higher being pressed pause on the remote control of his life. He’s caught in the middle, in-between his past and the future. He’d spent so many years trying to forget what had happened, but the heat of the Alabama summer is slowly engulfing him.
Phoenix doesn’t know how to let go. Every time he closes his eyes he sees the sidewalk, the tree, the church, and then memory fails him. He’s wandering through the ruins of who he was. Resentment for his family is heightened by the rising temperature. Then there’s his career failure and the pressure to be somebody. He doesn’t know who he is, but he’s trying his best to define it.
Stuck in small town suburbia, he meets a cast of characters who alter his outlook on life. Each new encounter brings to light a part of himself he didn’t know he was missing. Slowly, he is starting to realize it isn’t a matter of where he came from but rather where he’s going.
With the help of the cashier and the bag boy at the local grocery store, an elderly neighbor who sips sweet tea on the front porch while she reminiscences, and his kid sister who acts like a crazed baboon, Phoenix will finally confront his inner demons. It’s time to discover what life is about: Who will you be?
I've always dreamt of being a writer myself, like professionally in the literary world. But that aside, which writers do you think are your biggest influences and what are the reasons for them being so?
If you dream it, then you’re halfway there already. Now is the time to take action! As for which writers are my biggest influences…
- Edgar Allan Poe because of the way he is able to craft mystery and suspense and alliteration into his work. He doesn’t just write. He molds his words into art, building imagery with a distinct voice.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald because he has this way with words that is pure beauty. I wished I could one day achieve this. He can craft something that isn’t too much or not enough. That’s talent.
- John Green because he is, simply put, a literary god.
#F. Scott Fitzgerald
#the catcher in the rye
This is why I read. This is why I write.
”Among other things, you’ll find that you’re not the first person who was ever confused and frightened and even sickened by human behavior. You’re by no means alone on that score, you’ll be excited and stimulated to know. Many, many men have been just as troubled morally and spiritually as you are right now. Happily, some of them kept records of their troubles. You’ll learn from them — if you want to. Just as someday, if you have something to offer, someone will learn something from you. It’s a beautiful reciprocal arrangement. And it isn’t education. It’s history. It’s poetry.”
— Mr. Antolini, The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
"Subterfuge Grocery"A Short Story by Matthew Hubbard
Small town life was nothing like it was rumored to be.
Sure, the eternal optimists tried to sugarcoat the fact that their lives were as boring as everyone else’s by labeling the monotonous and the mundane with “small town charm,” but that was like slapping lipstick on a pig and calling it a beauty queen. It was the same damn thing, the same damn people, and the same damn life around every same damn corner. Nothing was what it seemed; nothing was what people made it out to be. Ever. Sulfur Springs, Alabama, was no different from any other small town.
Sometimes, you got stuck behind a godforsaken tractor driving down the road at a mind-numbingly slow crawl of speed. You were just itching to pass the dumbass redneck. The steering wheel was gripped tightly as you veered across the median to see if you could, but you couldn’t. It was always the same damn thing: either a car was coming or there was a curve up ahead and you couldn’t tell if it was safe.
I was pretty sure some wiseass would say to count my blessings and take the time to enjoy the scenery. Easier said than done. The blessings were few and far between. Sure, the scenery was nice to look at, but the fumes from the tractor were enough to make you sicker than a dog. There were drawbacks to everything in life. Don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Throwback Thursday: My attempt at writing a second novel about a family of hypocrites. It was abandoned after 15 chapters; however, most of the material was recycled and used in my sophomore novel, I AM—coming out in 2014!