Priming the Pump: Our first contest entry

(My little town.  The number is not population or elevation)

Good Morning from the towers that are A Word with You Press

I have no idea where this is going.  But as I have very few laurels upon which to rest, I thought it would be a good thing if I entered my own contest.  I feel better about the world when I am actively engaged in writing something new. How about you? (Of course… Duh! or you would not be here!)

So I have written a prologue without any notion—yet—of even the premise of the book that I hope will spring from this beginning. And I am asking all of you to do the same.  Take the leap of faith that if you start with a prologue, the trickle of words will become a stream, and the stream will become a flood.

Wanna play?  The winner gets $250 cash, a Barnes and Noble gift card for $25, any three books from our library (hope to have our store up this week) and the opportunity to get feedback from a growing community of Literati. (Rush may have Ditto-heads, Stephen Cobert may have Nation, JohnMcCain has My Friends, but the narcissist behind the curtain (that would be moi) at A Word with You Press has Literati! (and that would be vouz!)

So for our new contest Once Upon a Time, here is my novel idea:


by Thornton Sully

He was still God, and I was still struggling with my first pair of glasses.

I would listen for the sound of the train at dusk, with the same kind of anticipation that I would feel as a grown man when the headlights of my lover coming up the drive would halo across the kitchen window.

Sometimes my mother would pick Him up at the station; sometimes He would walk. Only when I returned to Old Greenwich in my twenties did I realize that it was but a scant six blocks to our home.

I waited in the open field by the house, tossing a baseball skyward, catching it before it dropped to win the game for the Mets. God would soon be coming up the lane, and would put down His brief case, and toss the ball two, maybe three times. Mine was an elongated first baseman’s glove, so heavy at the end of my arm I was always a little amazed when I caught the ball. God did not need a mitt. He could catch anything bare-handed.

And there He was, walking up the lane after a day in the city where He did whatever it was that gods do. I ran to Him and He picked me up and kissed me on the cheek. He set me down and I put the ball in His hand and ran to my position. I wore my Mets cap; God wore a Fedora.

He eyed the kitchen door, but He was mine for a full five minutes. “That’s it for today,” He said. “It’s getting dark.” I trotted over to give Him another hug. It was only then I noticed something pinned to his lapel. It was a little swab of a sponge, about an inch square.

“Dad, what’s that?”

“Do you remember what an acronym is?”

“Yeah. Of course.”  I was proud I remembered. He was always teaching me things like that. Other kids, I was sure, did not have a father like mine, teaching them the details of language and of the world. I was important!


He spelled it out. “S-P-O-N-G-E. That’s The Society for the Prevention of Niggers Getting Everything.”

He twisted the cap on my head affectionately and I followed Him through the back door to the kitchen, where He kissed my expressionless mother on the cheek and poured the first of several bourbons.

That’s what gods do.

14 thoughts on “Priming the Pump: Our first contest entry

  1. Parisianne Modert says:

    There is an intimacy in first voice, Thornton Sully which is both the tale of the inner being and vulnerable to the fragilities of life’s childlike wonder and disappointed failings. I marvel how rich the subtext of his environments swirl nuance and naturalistic accents to his characters. The expression of “you are there” is a given, feet on the path, the kitchen floor with the scene playing, audience and self forgotten. As a woman, my favorite expression was “He kissed my expressionless mother on the cheek and poured the first of several bourbons.”, because the drama in this last sentence invites us to Chapter One.

  2. Michael Stang says:

    Thanks Thorn for giving us the primer. Depends you who talk to what a prolugue is. The internet will drive one to kill the muse. I hear the collective sigh of relief from those who want to enter the frey, and were not quite sure. My own sigh as well. I am delighted at this contest and expect wonderful results. We are writers, after all. It could not make more sense.

  3. Gary says:

    First of all – DISCUS SUX!’
    Second – I like this beginning. It reminds me of an old movie called Big Fish in which a young man struggles to separate the real vs. the legend in his father’s life. The young man in this story is trying to live/survive with his mortal father but he sees the father as being larger than life. At the end of this prolog, the reader is left anxious to find out what qualities the father possesses, whether he is a gentle God or an angry, vindictive God. Good premise – good setup. Will there be lobsters in this story? Gary :}

  4. Tiffany Monique says:

    God as a concept. Racism as a construct. Relationship, Idols (and their tarnishing)… from the frickin’ PROLOGUE! Man, I can so learn a lot from AWwYP! You start asking questions immediately, and get emotional moved about like you’re in an uncooked butter popcorn tin over fire. I love beginnings like this.

      • Tiffany Monique says:

        MICHAEL! I have missed our AWwYP Tete a tetes! I am SO glad to be back in one of the few conversations I feel is relevant to me. We spark greatness here and I am looking forward to reading all of your posts TOO! Once again into the battle!

  5. Stars Fall On My Heart says:

    Do you have Gorilla Glue? Because I’m having a hard time keeping my lips closed after reading what SPONGE stood for.

    You could totally label this novel “The Fall”. The little Adam doesn’t hear the whooshing sound just yet, but there is going to be a huge crash in the Garden of Eden.

  6. Laura Girardeau says:

    You say you don’t know where this is going, but I clearly see. A memoir in literary fiction form, a hard-hitting, engaging, sadly funny and personal novel. Your writing always moves me, but I think this is among the best because it lets us see inside. It’s less fancy prose and more sudden surprise. Don’t shelve it…

  7. Shawna A Smart says:


    Thorn you rascal… crabs!

    Oh my, anyway on with the roll, and as usual you can weave a lovely spell in first person. Your talent for projecting that intimate narrator’s voice, the easy language and comparisons of childhood, and that slap-in-the-face style of your hooks are always delightful to read.

    Happy Birthday by the way, Captain-oh-my-captain… the world is pleased your light is still flickering I am certain.

    My eyes are weak and blurry yet, but the miracle of restored sight is still giving me gulps of gratitude at silly moments, and this is one of them.

    I am so pleased to be seeing this site again.


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