Maple on James, a Novel by Nathan Swartz
I recently completed my second novel titled Maple on James. I have included the first four paragraphs below for anyone who might be interested in reading said written work, but wants to get an idea of what to expect.
Download the Novel (PDF, 196kb)
On James Avenue sat a white house, nearly identical to every other house on that side of the street, save for the color, and collectively they stained the earth like so many years of grime and wear on the very siding that clung from those dodgy domiciles. Inside of this particular house sat a girl, legally a woman by several years, but indecisive enough in her 20-something ideals and wishes to prevent her from having that particular glint in her mottled hazel eyes that would give another individual reason to call her a “woman” rather than “just a girl.” Blanketed in a dress which she had fashioned herself using her dead grandmother’s sewing machine, it hung loosely and wrinkled from her shoulders, draped along the floor to cover her feet, the souls of which were caked in the dirty thickness of suburban America; her never wearing shoes, socks or any other garb befitting a set of toes, heels and in-betweens. The dress was once white, but had now slightly yellowed from the stains of nicotine and spilled tea and she had sewn patches from various other clothes of sentiment. A rose print formerly part of a blanket made by her mother but later chewed to tatters by her dog; a Czech Republic flag from her six month galavant through Europe; a long maroon strip crimped neatly into pockets running down the dress’ left side from the sleeve of an ex-boyfriend. That would be an accurate physical description, but quite simply put, she was sunbeam elegance vibrating through the dirty specs in the air, she was the heavenly light streamers pouring through the clouds in the early morning after a long, boring haul at church, she was the apple freshly fallen from the tree and rolling down the farmland’s endless grassy hill.
The girl was rocking herself towards sleep with the mechanics that a leather couch and those dirty feet of hers produced, the middle of a sunny summer afternoon pouring in satin-thick through the windows in its best attempt to avert her from her slumbery mission. Her lips wrapped up in the wealth of yummy humming-stirring that fills the skin in that strange twilight between blinking your eyes closed and just barely napping, the curl spilling up over her cheeks like just too much milk in the mug. A cute boy from high school rode past her on a unicorn, a younger version of herself trotted a tricycle in circles around the garage, and the sun shot rays of Disco ball light all over the never-ending foggy landscape of her memories mixing with her dreams. Just as her eyes closed and she was seconds away from sleep her father walked down the stairs and, not seeing her sleeping, asked “Would you like some tea then, Annie?
“Hmmm….mmmm…” she reveled in the waking, as it would only lead to prolonging this purgatory dreamscape. “No thank you,” she whispered, nearly inaudibly, “I’m just going to take a nap here.”
He looked her over, smiling, feeling the plethora of emotions that a proud parent is overcome with each time they realize that the creature in front of them is the same one they watched from the time she was no more than a kick inside of her mother’s belly. Her eyeballs moved under their fleshy lids, the index finger on her right hand slowly stroked the arm of the chair and just enough motion was left in that old rocker to keep her swaying through the dusty particles dancing through the sun’s big beams. A picture of Annie when she was a child glared in the reflecting light, she wore a baseball uniform and smiled with all of the innocence and hope that we all have before the realities of life come in to occupy our time and remind us of what we could have become if the necessities of putting food on the table and a roof over our collections of junk hadn’t made the top of the priority list. He began to imagine that they were both fifteen years younger, he was doing the dishes and looking out through the back window at her climbing the big maple tree in the backyard, brown hair blowing through the limbs and leaves like vines finally finding the proper home. Her toes weaving between the bark and sending her up like a geyser riding a bottle rocket on a Sunday afternoon. From the time she was six, well into her teenage years, she would climb that tree every morning, playing cowboys and Indians and Barbie dolls or just playing, generally enjoying youth. As the daydream memory scene was playing out in his head, he watched her swing from one branch only to miss the next, and come bellowing ten feet down from the tree to the earthen floor below. Just as she, in his vision, hit the ground, so did the plate he was drying. He snapped back into reality.
[End of excerpt…]