What if your main character did not have a face but had them all? When I wrote The Five-dollar Miracle I took a risk, and unusual approach – I did not describe the main character physically, instead, I described every character in the story, except Pastor Neil Beckham. However, I had a clear purpose for doing this. I wanted the main character to appeal to every reader, this due to the nature of the story. To be able to get away with a faceless main character, I made sure to focus on the character’s personality, psyche, emotions, and personal history. In this way, the physical attributes took a secondary place and were able to disappear, blend with the story, thus becoming less important. By describing every other character, their stories became alive as well, however, always strongly linked to the main character. Every other character in the story became a support for this faceless main character. In this way, the reader could imagine him in his own way, and tailor him to his/her own reading experience, but mostly because The Five-dollar Miracle is an inspirational story. Because of the nature of the story, I was able to get away with it, however, this approach would not have worked for any other of my novels. Three readers who enjoyed the story very much, did not even realized that there was no description, and each person imagined him in a very different way. I took a risk taking that route, however, in order to do that, the rest of the characters became an important part on this decision, So far, it seems to have worked out.
The Five-dollar Miracle is my latest story. It is the story of how a small miracle – a five-dollar miracle – changes a stranger, a pastor, a congregation and a whole country. It all starts when Pastor Neil Beckham receives a five-dollar bill inside a sky blue envelope from a stranger. It is a novelette, and quite different from my previous works. It has an inspirational tone, and a comfortable pace. It is reader friendly. It presents the themes of faith, loss, and triumph.
I enjoyed writing this story as it was something different and light as far as style and development of the story. However, it presented some challenges I did not expect, from technical (computer) issues to writing challenges, unexpected requirements such as writing a hymn, and a sermon. This story presented itself as a nagging title inside my head, and that is all I had. I set aside the story I was planning to write, and I had no idea of who the characters where going to be, what point of view, or anything at all. I just wrote, and somehow, the story emerged. Although it is short when compared to my other works, it reads at a comfortable pace.
This novelette has a more human tone. My other novels deal with the topics of redemption and the supernatural. Secondary themes such as acceptance, forgiveness, grief, and judgement are present in the story through characters situations. These intertwined stories appear unannounced /unplanned weaving these topics into the main (faith).
Overall, it has been an enjoyable experience as a writer, and it taught me to listen and trust the process. Why this story? It was the story that wanted to be written. The Five-dollar Miracle is available in print and e-book through Amazon. The hardcopy can be found here and e-book here.
I will be working on my next novel – The Girl Who Could Not Love – for the rest of the year.
This is a short story that came to me this morning, and I decided to include it as today’s blog post. It is a bit grim but not so grim. Eventually, I would like to publish a few of my short stories in an anthology. I hope you enjoy this one.
It was a sunny day; I saw it cloudy. The silence was too loud inside my head. The stillness, a cloak for the raging waters of my soul. I glanced outside my window. The trees moved to the gentle breeze as a dance of death began inside my head. I could hear the deaf sound of loneliness; it had become my lullaby. Isolation became the clothes I wore daily. I searched the empty corridors of my heart over and over; I found nothing. It had morphed into an empty shell of despair, a chamber of hollow beats. There, I found nothing that would justify the next heartbeat.
A chilling breeze danced nearby; Death awaited. I could feel her mutable presence begging me to speed up the process. I was ready. How did it get to this moment? Did it matter? I didn’t require an answer. An answer made things complex. I heard the doorbell. I ignored it. It rang a second time, and a third, until it became noise. I placed the gun next to an empty picture frame. Somehow, I never got to place a picture in it. I counted twelve steps to the door. I opened it. I didn’t bother to bolt it anymore. I had no cares. I forced a smile. It almost hurt at the corners of my mouth. No one was at the other side to return my crooked smile. I looked around; no one was there. I stepped out on the front porch. No one was there.
I saw a splash of red fluttering to my left. A cardinal perched on the Forsythia bush surely made a nice contrast to the bright yellow buds. How did I never noticed that before? Something scurried up the old cedar tree. It was a squirrel, then came another, and they chased each other up and down the old cedar.
“That old cedar must have seen so much,” I mumbled.
I sat on the front steps. A crow marched unpretentiously on the horizon. It almost shimmered as the sun hit its feathers. I felt the warmth of the sun on my skin. How long had it been? A busy party of little brown birds scattered throughout the ground looking for food. A reddish wasp rested atop a chair, as if thawing from a frost or waking from a dream, its wings resting downward. The sun’s warmth felt good on my skin. Everywhere I looked I saw signs of life. Life was everywhere; I could see it if I cared to see it. I felt something fuzzy rubbing my leg in a rhythm.
“Where did you come from, lil’ fellow?”
The disheveled black kitten was skin and bones; I could count its ribs. It kept rubbing against my leg, and I could hear a faint purr becoming louder. It was so tiny. I picked it up and it nuzzled against my arm, then it nestled. I sat out there for a while. The kitten fell asleep in my arms, and I observed the rhythm of life around me.
“What am I going to do with you lil’ fellow? It looks like you will be needing me for a while, at least until you fatten and grow up a bit more.”
The crow restled with a worm until it came out of the ground. The squirrels moved on to another tree.
“What should I name you? Hum, let me think. Aha, you shall be called Rigor, but we’ll leave the mortis out; how is that?”
Rigor became my inseparable friend for the next 15 years. To all, he was a black cat; to me, he was life, and a constant reminder. During that time, I never found out who rang the doorbell.