FOREWORD, ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND DEDICATION



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I’m done with National Novel Writing Month. I crossed the 50,000 word mark early this week, and have taken a break from writing. I will go back to finish the story in a few weeks, but for now, I am enjoying not staring at my computer screen all day long. The last two weeks of the contest were difficult for me, but I managed to persevere despite it all. I will post one last excerpt tomorrow, but for now I thought I would share the foreword, acknowledgements and dedication for this project.



Foreword


Certain T began with an idea and an image, and initially the two were completely unrelated from each other. The idea, or rather ideas, were to cover topics such as “the next steps” in a relationship and surrogacy of children. I was not sure how it was going to pan out initially. I was in a relationship when the planning for this novel had begun last spring, but by the time fall came around and it was time to seriously commit to the ideas and characters, and then write it, I was single. The “next step” in this case for me, was choosing to take the single path once again. I wrestled with how I would portray the next steps on the page. I wanted to do it in a way that was realistic, but not in a way that would be too close to home for me, or too embittered. I think I did okay in balancing all of that.



The image though, the image was something I had decided on very early on. I had this image in my head of a bearded man who was over six feet tall, probably about two hundred and fifty pounds, and dressed up as a woman. Was not a drag queen, but rather a crossdresser. In the female identity, her name would be Pearl O’Wysdom, and she would provide life advice, or serve the tea (truth) to those who were willing to pay for that advice. Not as a life coach in the traditional sense. No, she would be serving up sass and straight-up life advice in a bar, on gay night. Pearl was born, and from there, a way for me to start connecting the dots on the characters and their stories.



I returned to characters I had previously written back in 2011 for National Novel Writing Month. They still had some story left in them, and in the case of Cooper, has sort of unofficially become the representation of who I am in my thirties. Cooper is more sure of himself than the last time I wrote about him, but that does not mean he is completely put together. He has his flaws, and he is still learning, just as I am still learning.



A brand new character stood out as one of my favorites. Bradley has got a great internal struggle that he is trying find a suitable outlet for in the pages of the novel. He is perhaps the character that goes through the most, and when I had originally developed him for this novel, it was with the idea that he would just be a bit part that served another story. Lo and behold, I start writing him, really enjoy writing him and his part begins to expand from there.


Certain T in the end, was a novel I largely pulled together from seemingly disparate parts adn put together into a whole. It is not quite a mish-mash, but the sums of the parts somehow miraculously made a whole.



Acknowledgements



As always, there is always a number of people to acknowledge throughout National Novel Writing Month. Nine years later, it astounds me the number of people who encourage, influence and just generally keep me going through this contest. Everyone has had a significant contribution, even if I did the bulk of the work, so to speak, in the past month.



To my clients, thank you eternally for your patience, your support, and your cheerleading this past month. I know I have been a bit distracted, but your sessions gave me a much needed forced break from writing, and it always seemed to be at times when I really needed a break. Special mention to those clients who asked how I was doing, not just writing, but as a writer who was juggling a day-time career, a part-time career and writing a novel in a month (what was I actually thinking this year?). Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.



Thank you to Ali. As a first time National Novel Writing Month participant, I had the opportunity to truly mentor a growing writer, and that in turn helped reignite my passion for writing. I hope this is just the first of many competition years for you.



Thank you to Mandi, another incredibly talented writer who I thoroughly love talking about writing to. Your insights are worth their weight in gold, but more importantly your support and passion for the art of writing is something I have never personally known in another person before.



Thank you to Alex for providing some key critiques as I wrote. I may not have implemented everything you said while I was writing, but rest assured I make notes of what you say for further reference, and I will be coming back to it for the revision process.



To my parents and my brother, Andrew, who still think I’m batshit crazy nine years later for doing a contest like this, but especially for coming back to it every year, but thank you especially for not harping at me if I did not return phonecalls or text messages right away.



Thank you to everyone who influenced a character, a plot, or even just a snippet of dialogue. You do not know who you are, and that is intention (I wish not to be sued in some cases), but know that contributions of all kinds and sizes is what helps me the most when it comes time to approach the keyboard.


Dedication



To Mandi. The universe works in mysterious ways. It is not always fair, just, or even kind, but your passion for writing is only exceeded by your passion for life.


THE SECOND WEEK, PEARL AND BRADLEY



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The second week of the contest has been really rough for me. I was hoping to be closer to 40,000 words, but the reality is, I will not even make 35,000 at this rate. The inspiration and the motivation just are not there at the moment. However, I half expected that to happen, and I am willing to ride it out until the upswing hits.



Meanwhile, I have been thinking about a couple of characters a lot this week. Pearl, as a main character has had to remain an enigma. This is on purpose, because I do not plan on revealing her story until the final scenes of the novel. I am hoping that it has a big pay-off, but I have not quite figured out at what point that is going to happen. I have dropped hints and clues a few times throughout the piece so far, but I feel like at some point, and some point soon, I will have to address her story.



As for Bradley, he surprises me. He is a lot of fun to write, but I am starting to notice that a lot of his scenes seem repetitive. In the editing stage I imagine a few of his scenes will get cut out entirely, but for the time being his character has actually been more fun to write than I had originally thought.



All the other characters are around, I am writing them, and they really are not standing out or causing me troubles, so I suppose they have been serving their purpose.







Bradley went out that night. He had an itch that needed to be scratched, and it could no longer be ignored. He went to a bar first, and was not able to pick up, so moved onto a another bar, by the time he struck out on the third bar, he was becoming not only restless, but a little desperate as well.



 He did not want to end up here, but he honestly had no other choice. He had heard about this place from a conversation between two gay guys in a bar several months ago. It was where you could go for anonymous sex. Go in, get what you need, get off and then get out. The location and the actual idea did not really appeal to Bradley but he desperately needed to get off, and there were no other outlets around him presenting themselves.



 Bradley stepped through the non-descript door. He was not even sure from outside the building if he was at the right place or not, but upon entering knew he was at his destination. There was a front desk area, that looked more like a coat check alcove. There was someone standing behind the counter and Bradley approached cautiously. The guy behind the counter, not much older than Bradley himself looked up from the magazine he was casually flipping through.



 “First time here?” The guy asked, as he absent mindedly flipped another page. “Rules are up there,” he said pointing to a list or rules and regulations. “It’s twenty dollars, and you can stay as long as you want. Hot tub is broken though, so you might as well skip that. If you want to smoke, we’d prefer you use the outdoor balcony on the second floor instead of traipsing in and out of the main door.”



 Bradley nodded quietly as he reached into his wallet and pulled out a twenty dollar bill.



 “If you need condoms are packets of lubricant, you can find them throughout the building. Lockers are down the hall and to the right. They are a quarter each. Any questions?”



 “Is it busy?”



 The guy behind the counter raised an eyebrow. “You missed the happy hour orgy, if that’s what you’re wondering,” he replied sarcastically. Bradley frowned in annoyance, and the guy noticed. “Thursdays aren’t typically our busiest night,” he explained. “There are a few guys… I noticed that there was a circle jerk going on a little while ago in the dry sauna. Might want to check that out.”



 “Thanks,” Bradley mumbled and he made his way down the hall. He stored his valubles in the locker and took the key out of the lock. He saw a small sign tha indicated keys for private rooms, and he grabbed one, while searching the doors around him for numbers. Finding the corresponding room, Bradley slipped inside.


NANOWRIMO AND MUSIC



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Anyone and everyone that knows me personally knows that I am obsessed with music, to almost OCD levels. It becomes particularly bad during the prep and writing stages of National Novel Writing Month, because I am that kind of guy who likes to have a soundtrack for his novel. It usually starts with a long list of potential tracks and over the course of the month gets whittled down to something that would fit on one or two CDs as a soundtrack compilation.
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This year, the list started at 716 songs. I currently have it down to 298 songs. Still a long way to go…



And now, an excerpt:



Pearl got her customary drink and made her way over to her table. She sat down, draping her purse over her chair like she usually did. “Already a line up,” she remarked before looking up to see Josh sitting in front of her. “Didn’t you see me last week?” She asked.



 “Yes.”



 “And didn’t I help you then?”



 “You did… mostly.”



 “You know I’m not technically a therapist, right?”



 “I do.”



 Pearl sighed. She had a feeling this guy was going to be one of the rare ones that just kept coming back because it was easier that shelling out a hundred and fifty bucks an hour to lay out on some over priced psychiatrists faux leather couch. “Right, then… Josh, right?”



 “You remember that?” Josh asked with surprise.



 “No, your ID is sticking out of your wallet a little there,” she said gesturing to Josh’s brown leather wallet placed in front of him. “I can see a J, an O and an S… it was just a lucky guess.”



 “Oh,” Josh replied with a slightly embarrassed look on his face.



 “Don’t worry about it sweetie… so what is it this week?



 “Well, there was this guy last week…” Josh began, before pausing for a moment.



 “Most stories begin that way around here, it’s gay night after all. It’s the second sentence of the story that I’m more interested in,” Pearl pointed out. “That’s usually the one that tells me where our conversation is going to end up.”



 “Well, we were at a bar, and there was this guy,” Josh repeated. “I approached him and we started talking.”



 “This sounds promising.”



 “And then he asked if I wanted to give him a blowjob.”



 Pearl leaned in, anticipating the next sentence as though the story being told to her was a suspense novel. “I told him I wasn’t,” Josh concluded.



 Pearl sat back in her seat. “Not exactly the ending I was looking for,” she remarked.



 “My life isn’t a porno,” Josh replied defensively.



 “Maybe it should be.” Pearl could tell that Josh was taken aback by her words. “Listen, Josh, honey… you’re nineteen. Most boys your age, gay, straight, whatever, have already stuck it in as many moist holes as they could at this point, and yet you’re holding back. If it’s not for religious purposes, than what is it? You’ve got to get over it.”



 “So if I have standards I suddenly have to get over them?” Josh protested.




 Pearl considered that for a moment. “Yes.” She could tell that Josh had gone from looking upset to looking downright pissed off. “Listen, honey, you’re saying on the one hand that you want to get laid, but on the other hand you’re letting your standards run your life. I’m not saying you should’ve blown the guy last night, because he does sound like he was a pig. But what I am saying is that you need to find a balance between standards and expectations. That is where your true struggle lies.”



 “So what should I do then?” Josh asked.



 “Just get yourself out there!” Pearl said. “It sounds like to me that you’re spending so much time trying to figure things out, that you’re not getting yourself out there! Meet people, let them get to know you, and then, if the physical attraction is there, let them in…. literally, in that case.”



 Pearl watched as Josh’s shoulders sagged slightly. “I know it’s not easy,” she added. “I’m a pretty private person, myself. Josh, if you don’t want to be alone, don’t isolate yourself. Now, you know the drill,” she said gesturing to her drink. “Can I expect you same time next week?” She further inquired as Josh slipped the required money underneath her glass. That elicited a smile from Josh. “Go out. Have fun,” she urged as Josh slid out of the chair.



 “Thank you,” he said, before walking away.



 “Next?” Pearl said simply, as though she were holding court. A jockish looking guy sat down in front of her. “Not often I get hand-delivered a fine speciman such yourself,” she remarked as he settled into his seat. “What can old Pearl do for you?”



 “I have this problem with my boyfriend,” he said.



 “You have a boyfriend?”



 “Yes.”



 “I would’ve pegged you for being heterosexual”



 The jock smiled. “I get that a lot.”



 Pearl laughed. “Well, honey this just proves the existence of god, if he put a gay man into that body. But enough about my religious beliefs, what’s going on with you boo?”



 “It’s my boyfriend. We’ve been together for about six months now. Everything is good, but there’s one lingering issue…” The jock looked on either side of himself to make sure no one could overhear what he was about to say. To ensure he was not heard he leaned in a little closer to Pearl. “I really want to bottom for him, but he insists that I should be the top in the relationship.”



 Pearl nearly burst out laughing, but managed to contain herself. “I’m sorry… the jock is a big nelly bottom?” She said in a voice just low enough that only he could hear her. “Jesus, take the wheel!”



 The jock blushed in response. “He’s just a really great guy, and he’s… well, he’s got a really nice big dick. All I can think about is him putting it in me, but every time I asks, he brushes me off on that point, saying that I should be the dominant one.”



 “How does he identify himself, honey?” Pearl asked, trying to regain her composure and provide the best advice that she could to the client in front of her.



 “When we first started dating he said he was verse, but he’s not once been a top in our relationship.”



 “Is this a dealbreaker for you?”



 “I’m not sure,” the jock replied. “I mean, it’s something that I really want… maybe even need from him, and I feel like I’m not getting it.”



 “Then you need to tell him that,” Pearl urged. “A relationship is about getting what you need and want from the other person. If you need that big dick of his to plow you three ways to Sunday, then you need to tell him that’s what you need. Do you love him?”



 “…. Yeah, I guess so.”



 “Does he love you?”



 “I think he does… I’m not really sure, we haven’t really talked about that, yet,” the jock admitted.



 “It sounds to me like you guys need to work on more than just the sexual roles in your relationship, you need to talk about your communication roles as well. Tell him how you feel. Tell him what you want out of the relationship. You can still be that strapping guy for him, even if you do get in touch with your emotions. And then tell you want that big dick of his up your butt!”



 The jock laughed nervously. “Honestly, that sounds like sound advice to me… thank you,”



 Pearl smiled. “Money goes under the glass, you and you come back with a question anytime,” she said. It was now the jock’s turn to smile as he slid his payment under her glass.


HALFWAY THERE!



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I crossed the twenty-five thousand word mark this afternoon. I am officially half done the contest (even though the novel itself is not half completed). That is all I have for today, other than another promised excerpt!
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Bradley upon receiving word that he had secured the internship, went out to celebrate. It was strictly against what his beliefs had been growing up, but as Bradley had learned while in being away for university studies, sometimes the world contained grey areas. Exceptions to the rule, and areas that required a little bit of leeway. He went out to a bar nearby the apartment he rented with a few other guys, and had a beer. He nursed it slowly, knowing that it was the only one that he should have, and took stock of the other patrons.



 There was one group in particular that caught his eye. They looked like university students themselves, but one guy in particular had his attention. A little shorter than his five foot, eleven inches of height, and with brown hair a little longer than his, he had an innocent face that looked as though it could use a little corrupting. Bradley smiled at the guy the first time they locked eyes before bringing the beer bottle to his lips and taking a sip.



 They eyed each other for several minutes until the guy came up to Bradley’s table and sat down beside him. “I can’t help but notice that you keep looking at him,” he said with a shy smile. It was apparent to Bradley that he had been pressured by his friends to come over and approach him. There was something strangely endearing about that. A part of him was like that once. He hated that part of himself.



 “Oh yeah?” Bradley finally said, bringing the beer bottle down to the table. “Maybe I was just looking in your general direction.



 “I saw the look in your eyes though,” the guy replied in a hopeful tone.



 “What look would that be?” Bradley asked, trying to play as coy as possible, but realizing the facade was going to fade quickly.



 “I’m Josh,” the guy said, extending his hand in attempt to switch gears on the conversation.



 Bradley accepted it, suddenly very amused by Josh’s attempt at taking control of a situation and conversation that he clearly never had. “Brad.”



 “It’s nice to meet you, Brad. What brings you in here tonight?”



 Bradley gestured to his beer bottle, nudging it with a single knuckle. “Just here tonight to celebrate a little.”



 “Oh? What are you celebrating?”



 Bradley was becoming annoyed with Josh’s cheerful disposition. “I landed an interview with an architecture firm, and got a job offer.”



 “That’s great! So you’re an architect?”



 “One step closer,” Bradley confirmed.



 Josh smiled in response. “Mind if I join you in that celebration?”



 “It all depends on what you’re into.”



 “I’m sorry?



 “Well, I’m celebrating tonight, but drinking really isn’t my thing all the time,” Bradley admitted. He leaned in close to Josh, so that there was barely two inches between their faces. “What I could really go for is a blowjob right about now.”



 Josh pulled back defensively. “I’m sorry…” he stammered, “But I think you have the… wrong idea.”



 Bradley sat back in his seat. “Didn’t seem that way, but fair enough.” He grabbed the beer bottle once again and for the final time brought it to his lips. He finished off the contents and set the bottle back down onto the table. “Later,” he said simply as he rose from his seat and grabbed his jacket off the back of his chair. Without looking back, he strode out of the bar, less satisified than when he had walked in.



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 Josh sat there, watching as Brad picked up his jacket and left bar, the last of his words stinging in Josh’s ear. He had actually thought by the glances that they had exchanged that perhaps he would have been an approachable guy. Instead, it turned out that he was just like all the others. Josh sighed and rose from his chair in frustration to return to his friends.



 “Did you know that guy?” Guillaume asked. “That conversation looked a bit intense there for a minute.”



 “No, it was just some rando.”



 “Listen, we were all thinking of heading over to Barrymore’s after this,” Guillaume announced. “It’s retro nineties night there tonight.”



 “How is that even retro? We were born in the nineties,” Josh pointed out.



 Guillaume shrugged his shoulders in response. “It was just a suggestion if you wanted to get out of here.



 Josh nodded. “Sure, there doesn’t seem to be much here for me anyways.”



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 Bradley opted to walk the twenty minutes back to his apartment. He was feeling accomplished for having secured the internship, he was feeling disappointed for his celebration plans being kiboshed for the moment, and most importantly, he was still horny. He could feel his penis swelling in his underwear, and the sensation was driving him crazy. He was going to have to find an outlet somewhere.



 He knew of a place not far from his apartment, but the thought of going in actually induced fear and shame within him. He felt as though crossing that threshold was more than just a physical transformation. It would require a change both body and soul for him. It was a tranisition that he was not ready for yet, so he carried on to his apartment. He returned to find the entire place in darkness. His roommates had clearly gone out for the night.



 Bradley generally objected with the lifestyle choices that his three male roommates held. They partied too hard, did not study enough and generally acted like prehistoric men. Yet, as much as it probably disturbed his parents that he lived with such men, it served a particular purpose to Bradley. It allowed him the security to go about his life, outside of the watchful eyes of his family, and usually casted attention away from his own activities, and that suited Bradley just fine.


THE DREADED SECOND WEEK OF NANOWRIMO



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The dreaded second week of National Novel Writing Month has begun. It is the week where most people will throw in the towel. Enthusiasm has waned, and the realization that under developed plots and unlikeable characters start bubbling to the surface. The second week does not affect just first time writers, it destroys the hopes, will and dreams of even the most seasoned participants in this contest.



It is usually the week where I slow down, but in the now nine years I have competed, I have only dropped out once, and it was in this week. I will never repeat that again.



I have been fortunate that I have written half of the required word count in the first nine days. Even if I have a couple of crappy days this week, I will still be in excellent shape to finish by the end of the month. I had a couple of fantastic ideas hit me this past week. A character I did not expect to be all that interesting to me, has actually come to the forefront as one of my favorites, and plotwise, areas that I had not quite figured out, have managed to just plot themselves. All in all, I am having a really good competition year.



Now, I know I promised an excerpt for every five thousand words written. I am behind in doing that. So there will be an excerpt today and each day until Thursday so that I am caught up.



Pearl O’Wysdom strode up her quiet side street in Centretown several hours later. It had been a good night. There was the young virgin, the guy with an uncertain future, and a guy she pegged as someone struggling with their sexuality identity among others. By the end of the night it was the usual jokers who only paid to see if they could get a rise of her. Those were the ones that for obvious reasons annoyed her the most, but she tried not to show it. She got revenge in the end by answering their stupid questions and taking their money anyways.



 She finally arrived at her building, a three story house that had been converted into a walk up. She had been living there for nearly thirty years now, ever since she had relocated from Toronto to Ottawa. The place was nice enough, and thankfully for Pearl, the landlords only seemed to raise the rent a minisicule amount every few years. As a result, of the six apartments in the house, only one had moved out in the past five years. Not that Pearl knew any of her neighbours. She kept to herself, living her quiet life, away from prying eyes as much as she could. That was the way that she preferred it.



 She stepped up to the main door and stuck her security key in. Once inside the building she checked her mailbox quickly to see that there was nothing of important, dumping the trash mail in the recycling box that the tenants kept undernearth the mailbox for that very purpose. She slipped her heels off before the three floor ascent to her apartment. She could not remember how long she had been cross dressing, having started it when she was still in Toronto, but she found that she had never been able to get through an entire night in high heels, and that stairs were still a bitch to navigate. She reached the the top of the stairs and faced to the right where her unit was located. She unlocked her door and slipped inside.



 Once in the safety of her apartment, with the door closed and locked behind her, Pearl was able to relax. She dropped her purse down on the side table along with her keys and made her way into the kitchen. As was her ritual she allowed herself a shot of well aged whiskey. She reached for the bottle which was sitting on top of her refrigerator and grabbed the shot class from the dish drain board beside the sink. She poured a liberal amount of whiskey into the shot glass and set teh bottle down on the counter. “For you,” she said to no one in particular as she was the sole occupant of the apartment, before downing the whiskey in one swallow. She placed the shot glass in the sink before leaving the kitchen, making sure to turn off the light on her way out.



 It was not until she was in the comfort of her bedroom that she started to take off the persona she had been wearing that evening. First the wig, then the earrings followed by the dress. She placed the wig on the head mannequin she kept on top of her dresser and was careful to properly hang the dress in the back of her closet. Now a man once again, he made his way into the bathroom, wiped make up off of his face, brushed his teeth and then crawled into bed. He would usually read for a short time before turning off the light, but opted to go straight to bed that evening. Turning off the bedside light, he turned over, another night as Pearl O’Wysdom, over.


THE FIRST 10,000 IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST



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Followed closely by the second ten thousand, or that is what the organizers of National Novel Writing Month will lead you to believe. From experience though, they are correct. I crossed the 10,000 word mark earlier this evening, a few days ahead of the contest schedule, and right on schedule by my own standards.



Things are beginning to click with the story and characters as well. This is not a perfect piece, and I am most definitely feeling my way as I go, but I am less waving my arms in the air ala Kermit the Frog freaking out at the moment. So that is a good thing.



The only question remains: Is a closeted bisexual mormon boy into BDSM too cliched for this novel (or any novel for that fact)?



And now, because I crossed another 5,000 word, you get an excerpt!



“Is there something wrong?” Pearl O’Wysdom asked, not intending to sound so gruff, but failing nonetheless. She had been sitting across from the brunette guy for more than a minute now, and he had not even opened his mouth to speak yet. “Is it my appearance, because honey by the looks of things, I’ve been crossdressing longer than you’ve been alive!” Her attempt at bringing levity to the situation clearly failed as well.



 “No… it’s just…”



 “Let’s start with your name honey, and go from there.”



 “It’s Josh.”



 “Well Josh, you can call me Pearl, all right?” She found herself suddenly softening for the young man. She guessed he was probably nineteen. Barely old enough to get into the club. She was going to have to tread lightly with this guy. “Someone told you to come see me, right?” Josh nodded in response. “Well, if you’ve got a question, Pearl here can give you an answer.”



 “I’m still a virgin.”



 “That’s more of a statement than a question,” Pearl countered with deadpan wit.



 Josh blushed, realizing how forward he had been when opening up. “I mean, I”m still a virgin, and I don’t know why.”



 “Well, is there someone in your life?”



 “No.”



 “Is there someone you want to be in your life?”



 “Not really.”



 “Are you just looking to get laid? Because honey, Grindr’s for that.”



 “I’m not sure.”



 Pearl gave Josh an unusual look. “Well, I’m sort of at a loss as to why you’ve come to see me then.”



 “I just… I haven’t really come out yet,” Josh revealed.



 Pearl suddenly could see where this was going to go. “Okay, and you’re probably wondering where all the feelings and the attractions are coming from, right?”



 “Not exactly.”



 Pearl was back to being at a loss for words once again.



 “I’ve known I was gay since I was fourteen,” Josh began to explain. “I just haven’t been able to bring myself to be with a guy yet. I’ve been interested in a few, but I’ve never gotten past kissing them.”



 “And why is that?”



 Josh glanced down at his hands. Pearl had a feeling she was about to get a bombshell as an answer from him. “I just don’t know if that person is the right person to be sleeping with.”



 “You want it to be special?” Josh looked up once again. While he did not verbally communicate in the affirmative, Pearl could see it in his eyes. “Honey, it’s not a bad thing to wait… but sometimes if you wait for that right person, you end up losing out on all kinds of opportunities.”



 “So you’re saying I should just go out and sleep with someone random then?” Josh asked in a confused tone. “Because I’m really not about that.”



 Pearl held up a finger. “You only get to ask one question when you see Pearl, but I’ll let it slide this one time.” She paused briefly, allowing her warning to sink in with Josh for amoment. “That is not what I’m suggesting at all. What I am saying is that sometimes in your search for what you think is the ideal person for you, you miss out on finding someone who under the radar is actually perfect for you.” Josh looked confused. Pearl knew that she had to dumb it down just a little bit more. “Honey, go out and enjoy life, and if an opportunity comes up where you feel comfortable getting that cherry popped, let it get popped.”



 Josh smiled weakly. “Okay…”



 “And you come back any time if you have any questions. Money can go underneath my glass there,” she added, bringing up the business transaction of their conversation while pointing at her half-empty glass.



 Josh dug a ten dollar bill out of his wallet and slid it under her glass. “Seriously, you come back any time,” she repeated. Josh smiled a second time, more genuinely than before as he slipped out of his chair and walked off.



 “Cute kid, but he’s going to get eaten alive,” she muttered to herself as she pulled the ten dollar bill out form under her glass and stuffed it down her bra.

WELCOME TO NATIONAL NOVEL WRITING MONTH



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It is day three, and while I am maintaining my daily word count goals, I still have no idea where I am going with this project. Remember how in my last entry I wrote about how this year’s contest was probably going to be a wingin’ it shit show? Actually I didn’t, but that basically describes how the first seventy-two hours have gone.



This is not the worst year I have ever competed (so far), but it is still really early in the game. I am not having difficulty in making the daily goals as I said, but I am also not entirely liking what I have written so far. In fact, I am actually ambivalent towards it. I am not panicking yet. If I still have not gone anywhere substantial with it by this time next week, I will start to panic. Until then, I keep calm and keep writing.



And now, I give you the first thousand words as an excerpt. My plan is with each 5,000 words written, to post a new excerpt.



The last time that Cooper McLachlan thought that he had everything in life, that life was ripped from him. That was three years ago, and while his life had dramatically changed in that time, there was still a part of him that worries that he could lose the things that he considered important at any time.



 Back then, he had a successful career as an junior partner in an architecture firm, a beautiful condo with his boyfriend of nearly nine years, Oliver, and not a single concern in the world. Then, the day after his twenty-ninth birthday three years ago, Oliver pulled the rug out from under Cooper. He announced that he no longer wished to be in a relationship, and Cooper found himself single, without a place to live, and suddenly finding himself in a spiral of confusion, and life rebuilding. By the time he turned thirty, Cooper had not only left his job and started his own architecture firm, but also found himself with a new condo, a new perspective in life, and more importantly a new life partner, Patrick.



 It was on this day, a Saturday in early fall that Cooper and Patrick stood in the paint aisle in a Home Depot, staring at paint samples. They had been talking for months about repainting the second bedroom, and Patrick, the procrastinator in the relationship had finally decided that this was the day that they would choose a colour. Cooper secretly suspected that they would only get as far as choosing a colour that day, and that the actual painting would probably be delayed for one reason or another for an extended period before anything was actually done about it.



 “I think the Perriwinkle would look really good on the accent wall,” Patrick said holding up one of the many paint cards that they both held in their hands. “It will give the room some colour, but it would be soft enough that it will be easy enough to paint over,” he rationalized.



 “Why would we paint over it? And why not something like the Prussian Blue?” Cooper held up a different paint card with a much deeper, darker shade of blue. “Is that not what accent walls are supposed to be about? Accent.”



 “Yeah, but look at how deep that colour is… it would take two or three coats of primer to cover it up.”



 “Again, I ask why we would want to cover it up?” Cooper inquired.



 “You never know when we might want to uproot and move,” Patrick pointed out. Cooper gave him a pained expression in response, and Patrick knew immediately that he had hit a sore spot. While he had come into Cooper’s life after the break up, there was still residual aftershocks that Patrick had been a witness too. “Sorry, I shouldn’t have said that.”



 Cooper sighed. “It’s fine… but seriously, which colour are we going to go for? Are we in agreement that it’s going to be blue?”



 “Yeah, I’m fine with blue. And really, just pick the colour… I never use that room anyways.”



 “That’s not the point though,” Cooper argued. “The point was that we were going to pick the colour that we both liked.” Cooper did not want to get into it again, but lately he had felt that Patrick was simply going through the motions in their relationship. The painting of the second bedroom was just a microcosm of what was going on. Cooper recognized that they both had very busy lives. He had his small architecture business that while successful, still required him to be very hands on. Patrick was a very sought after plumber, and did not know how to say no to jobs. Cooper had hoped that the painting project would force them to spend a little time together, and do something constructive as a couple.



 Cooper was about to continue when the cellphone in Patrick’s pocket began to ring. “Sorry, can you take these?” Patrick asked, shoving the paint cards he had in his hands to Cooper before he even heard a response. “I think this is probably about a job,” he added as he pulled his cellphone out of his pocket and stepped away. Cooper could feel his level of frustration rising. He knew that Saturday was technically a work day for Patrick, but he had specifically asked Patrick to block off time for them so that this particular errands for renovations could be completed without interruption.



 Wishing to keep himself busy, Cooper started putting sample cards back where the belonged, holding onto the two cards that illustrated the two shades of blue that they were currently gridlocked on. Patrick was still on his phone by the time Cooper had finished his task, talking in an animated tone. Cooper found himself pacing around the aisle until Patrick finished his call.



 “Sorry about that, but it looks like I have another project lined up for the end of month,” Patrick revealed when he returned to Cooper’s side. Cooper clearly was unable to hide his look of annoyance, because Patrick caught onto it immediately. “What’s wrong?”



 “You couldn’t have taken that call later?”



 “It was a work call, Cooper.”



 “I know, but you promised me that you would give me a couple hours today so that we could get this done.”




 “Well, I don’t really know what to tell you.”



 Cooper frowned in response. He knew that there was no sense in keeping this going. It would simply devolve into a fight, and over painting a room, it just was not worth it. “Nevermind, it’s nothing.”



 They stood in the middle of the aisle in silence for several moments. “Let’s go for the Prussian Blue,” Patrick finally said. It was clear to Cooper that Patrick was offering the choice of paint colour as a concilliatory gesture, and he was not about to back down from it. He placed the sample card with Patrick’s choice back in its slot.



 “You’ve got a deal.”