“Painting for a Stranger” Progress Report 1

“Painting for a Stranger” Progress Report 2
January 12, 2019

It's good to be writing again

In mid-November I started work on my next project, "Painting for a Stranger." It will be a short story or novella between 5,000 and 15,000 words. Much shorter than "The Hidden Saboteur" that weighed in at over 190,000 words, much to the dismay of Steve, my editor.

Since releasing "The Hidden Saboteur" (THS), I've been spending my usual writing time figuring out how best to promote the book without going broke. Not an easy task I assure you. However, I am committed to releasing three books in 2019. Books, as I've learned, do not write themselves, therefore I need to get back to it.

The Thrill of a Blank Screen and a Fresh Prayer

And, it feels good (in a scary way) to embark on another journey. "Painting for a Stranger" is the back story about the painting that plays such a mysterious role in THS. I deliberately left a lot of questions unanswered about the painting. I wanted the reader to make their own decisions about it's origin and whether or not it was magical. As a result, there are some loose ends. Wherever loose ends exist, there lies an opportunity to write a book that makes a pretty bow out of those loose ends.

An Inside Look

"Painting for a Stranger" takes place in modern-day Seattle prior to the time in which the events of THS occur. The story introduces the reader to the artist, who may not be exactly who he appears to be. I expect I'll be explaining how the painting was inspired and created. I plan to also explain how Dr. Laura Shildstein came to own the painting and why she decided to do with it what she did. (I hope you appreciate how I prick your curiosity here about "Painting for a Stranger" without spoiling the experience of reading "The Hidden Saboteur," if you haven't done so yet).

The Ending is a Mystery to Me

Beyond what I just said, I don't know where the new book is headed. I never do. I pray before writing each day, and let the Holy Spirit take the reins of my imagination.Then I just hang on tight and start typing. Below is an unedited excerpt. I invite you to check back here from time to time for updates on my progress.

Excerpt: "Painting for a Stranger"

A grin curled the old man’s lips as a cloud drifted away from the morning sun to release rays of sunlight through the studio window and onto the canvas in front of him.

“That’s better,” he said to himself, pleased that the purity of the morning light would help him mix the green-blue color his mind envisioned for the sea in his painting.

It was still early on Saturday and shoppers hadn’t yet filtered through the catacombs of the Pike Place Market to find his little studio tucked between gift shops one floor below street level. Though it was peaceful and still in his little gallery, he knew that one floor above him it was already crowded with people and would stay that way well into the late afternoon.

At street level along Pike Place between Pine Street and Pike Street, local residents were shopping for fresh fish and vegetables. Tourists, who outnumbered the locals ten to one on any given day, wandered through the aisles, sipping their coffees while trying to take pictures with their phones of the fish merchants tossing whole salmons over the counter and through the air, as if playing a simple game of catch with a football in the back yard.

The scent of fish and salt air assaulted the nostrils in the market, but not in the studio. The essential oil lamp that was always lit, emitted a soothing aroma of lavender. Gentle music played softly in the background.

The studio-gallery was small. Measuring 22 feet from end to end and 15 feet from the entrance door to the outside wall that faced west and overlooked Elliott Bay. Half of the outside wall consisted of windows which let in ample light during the day to permit the gallery owner, Wayne Gee, to paint for hours every day . . . [to be continued]