Down the Hall on Your Left

This site is a blog about what has been coasting through my consciousness lately. The things I post will be reflections that I see of the world around me. You may not agree with me or like what I say. In either case – you’ll get over it and I can live with it if it makes you unhappy. Please feel free to leave comments if you wish . All postings are: copyright 2014 – 2021

Archive for the tag “Novel”

The Struggle To Tell A Story

writers-blockEVERY DAY I HEAR SOME WRITER GRUMBLING ABOUT “WRITER’S BLOCK.”  I’ve never had that and I find it hard to fathom. Not know what to write next? That has never been a problem.

I’ve asked a number of writers to explain it to me and they have trouble coming up with an answer that doesn’t go in circles, ending up with a shrug.

Read more…

A Safe Place – Continued

A SAFE PLACE – Continued –

“…I didn’t do it. I didn’t kill her.”Detective-with-smoke-flipped-300x244

If I’ve heard some guy say that once, I’ve heard it a hundred times. What else is he going to say? “I did it. I’m guilty.” Not in this state.

Read more…

Ready When You Are, C.B.

 IT SEEMS TO BE A TRADITION in our houMarvin the Martiansehold that we go to the movies only once a year. We didn’t plan it that way. We are either busy, otherwise engaged or not interested in spending eight bucks to watch a remake of a film that should never have been made in the first place.

We went to the movies last week.
Read more…

Now Serving #15 – And I’m Holding #137

JugglingI’M NOT MUCH OF A JUGGLER. In fact, I am the worst juggler I have ever known. W.C. Fields is a better juggler than me – and he’s been dead since I was six months old.

Read more…

A Scene From “Haight Street”

This selection from my work in progress, “Haight Street” is a cutting where my main character, Marlee, joins the crowd at the annual Haight Street Fair. And the music draws her in…Haight Street Fair

It was almost noon when Marlee slipped her key into the door lock and heard its reassuring click. She went quickly down the steps onto Haight Street. The early morning breeze had softened. Things were going to get hot.

A steady and growing flow of people was heading up the street toward the Fair. The one block between her apartment at Central Street and Masonic was packed with humanity of all ages and descriptions. If a social scientist wanted a good definition of “diversity,” today on Haight Street was it.

The Masonic stage was hosting a Salsa band called “Baila! Baila!” and dozens of people were following their admonition and dancing up a storm in front of the bandstand.

Marlee joined the spectators watching the dancers. The joyful rhythm soon had her swaying to the music. She closed her eyes and moved her arms in synch with the beat. Marlee was already a big fan of the Haight Street Fair.

As soon as one song ended “Baila! Baila!” blasted off into another frantically danceable tune. The crowd whooped its approval, Marlee included. Her eyes were shining like emeralds in the midday sun.

She couldn’t stand still. The music had her and she started to dance by herself. In mere moments she was joined by a tall, shirtless young man. His skin was as black as the keys on a piano and his body sparkled with sweat. The sun reflected off his shaved head like a flashing coronet. He smiled at Marlee and took her hand and pulled her out into the middle of the street. She joined him, caught up in the unadulterated pleasure of dancing to celebrate the music and life.

The sight of these two contrasting beauties lost in the movement and the music had the onlookers applauding.

Marlee and her unknown partner spun and twirled together as if they had danced this way forever. He expertly led her through intricate moves. His signals gave Marlee all she needed to anticipate his next move and to follow him in a seamless, sensuous harmony. Their hips swayed and rolled, coming together momentarily then flying apart to rejoice in the rhythm. Her hair flew around in counterpoint to her body as she matched the sudden stops and reverses of her sinuous partner.

The music built to a crescendo and he pulled Marlee close as they spun around locked in each other’s arms. At the instant that the music screeched to a halt he slipped one hand down her back and prodded Marlee backward in a very erotic pose. The sudden silence found her looking up into his brown eyes, his lips a bare half inch from hers.

The crowd went wild, cheering and applauding. Even the band looked down and smiled in appreciation.

Her mysterious partner lifted Marlee back upright and in a very courtly gesture kissed her hand.

Marlee’s head was spinning. She looked at him and all she could say was, “Wow!”

She was not heard through the noise, but her smiling co-celebrant nodded and mouthed, “Thank you for the dance, my Dear.”

This was one of those perfect moments that come out of the right time, the right place and the right people to become a memory held forever.

The band started up again and they made eye contact. He gave her an inviting look, but Marlee was out of breath and demurred. He nodded and melted away into the kaleidoscope of dancers.

Marlee had not gone twenty feet into the Fair and was already enchanted. She bought herself an iced tea and found a mailbox to lean against. She needed a few minutes to come back to Earth.

Haight Street – Chapter One

In keeping with a Saturday custom: Here is the opening chapter of a novel I am trying to bring back to life. I would appreciate your comments.Haight Ashbury street sign

Chapter One

 It couldn’t have been more different for Marlee Owens. There had always been someone to turn to. There had always been Phillip. He was the kind of man who could hold her hand and go for a quiet walk on a busy street. Now she had to rely on herself.

Now Phillip was dead.

Read more…

Time To Be Ruthless


 I RECENTLY DUG UP the file of a novel that I had begun writing about 15 years ago. I had started it when I was still living in San Francisco. That may explain why it was called “Haight Street.”

As I was reading through it two things struck me – that it was still pretty good, and that it needed some severe rewriting.

Read more…

Haight Street

Haight Ashbury street signKeeping with a rather new tradition…

Below is a cutting from an unfinished novel set in the Haight-Ashbury neighborhood of San Francisco. It is the story of a young widow who has moved west to rebuild a shattered life. This scene is her first day exploring her new hometown.


Her wardrobe was distinctly Midwest Rust Belt plain. It was excessively Earth-toned for a young attractive blonde in California, but she perked up her look with a vibrant scarf and some jewelry. It would do, she thought, as she opened the front gate, set to meet her new neighborhood.

Taking her time, not wanting to miss anything, Marlee window-shopped and ambled into the eclectic commerce of Haight Street.

She considered the latest Rave fashions on the rack at “Housewares”, all to the driving techno-beat from the in-house disc jockey. The iguanas in the window didn’t seem to mind.

She laughed out loud as she looked through the Anarchist Collective Bookstore. Their display of pamphlets and political screeds loudly denouncing the capitalism at which they were so dismally failing. Signs trumpeting a “Half-Price Sale” and “Clearance” were everywhere, alerting the three lost-looking teenage browsers that they too could join the Revolution at a discount.

Read more…

Opening Up A Sequel

sequelI’VE BEEN HEMMING AND HAWING about writing a sequel to my novel, “And Pull The Hole In After You.”  It has been a couple of years and, after writing about 30K words that just didn’t work, I’m trying again.

Here is an opening to the new story. I need you to read it and tell me if it works. Does it grab your interest or just confuse you? Is there too much backstory too soon?

I really need some feedback on this, and then I promise that on Monday this blog will return to its usual nonsense.


Read more…

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: