Over Under Sideways Down


Posted on May 5th, by James McAllen in Uncategorized. No Comments

It was the best of times… it was the worst of times.

In other words… what a week.

Last week and this week were supposed to be recovery time from my surgery. I thought that I would spend the time working on my next writing project, but I hadn’t really anticipated the level of fatigue that I encountered, or the complete lack of motivation that went with it. So rather than doubling my literary output, I watched a lot of bad movies. One of which was a Bradley Cooper flick called The Words. In a previous blog post I stated that I didn’t “Get” Cooper, so I’m not really sure why I had the movie on my netflix queue, but I did.

As it turns out, the premise of the movie was an idea that I had of my own making some 5 years previous. In the movie, a middling writer comes across a manuscript and passes it off as his own, wins awards, accolades, and cash and prizes. Then the actual author of the book finds him, and fills him with guilt. Nice idea, not well executed. It was a C- at best.

In my book, titled Beyond a Shadow, a one time Pulitzer winner discovers that he is dying and hurries to complete his 2nd book before his demise. He dies before it is completed. Five years later, a graduate student is doing a paper on the life of the writer and becomes friendly with his estranged sister. She becomes enamored with the boy and gives him a trunk which unbeknownst to her, contains the unfinished manuscript. I won’t bore you with the rest of the details because there are none. I wrote about 25 pages of notes and then tossed it in a drawer and never finished it. After seeing this movie, I doubt that I will.

My mid-week was consumed with family obligations after the death of my mother’s sister, but on Thursday, I raced home in anticipation of my very first, inaugural, cherry-breaking… book signing. My pre-game afternoon nap was broken up several times with well-wishing phone calls; none of which calmed my jitters. By 6:30, I was starting to get nauseous at the thought of no one showing up and me sitting on a stool reading to four old ladies that were sitting down waiting for the bus. As I paced outside the Bookmark Shoppe waiting for the event to begin, or more appropriately, waiting for enough people to show up, my brother noticed the sign announcing the upcoming appearance of Wendy Williams.  He wondered, facetiously of course, if the queen of bad daytime TV would be pacing outside the store on the day of her appearance.  The answer, of course, is no, but it was enough to break the ice and get me to calm down. With that, we headed inside to face the roomful of friends, family and a smattering of strangers.

In a word, the event was Amazing. I read a couple of stories, signed a few books, conducted a Q and A, and left there happier than I have been in a very long time. I was downright giddy. It could not have gone better. Unless of course, a hollywood mogul happened by, heard me talking about my un-read screenplays and requested to see them, but that’s just being greedy.

I awoke on Friday morning with a renewed sense of self and burgeoing energy. I would have gone out for a long run just to sweat out the demons, but truth be told, I didn’t want to. Instead I ran a few errands, went food shopping and prepared to head back to work for the week, knowing that no matter what, I wouldn’t let the world wipe the smile off my face.

Next time I won’t tempt the world.





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