Note from Brian:
“Silent Attic” (which I am posting in this post) and “Danny Dreams” (which I will post in a separate post very soon) are deleted chapters from an early draft of a novel called The Suicide Diary, which I wrote in a frenzy in January 2004. I’m not a novelist at heart, and I think my experience with The Suicide Diary over the next decade is what finally made me accept that truth once and for all.
In the years following that one-month writing whirlwind, I revised the book through several dozen drafts, trying the story from different angles and different approaches to make everything hum, but it just never gelled in a way I liked.
Agents, though, absolutely loved the sales copy and pitch I wrote for the book. I queried 120 agents over the years and 63 of them asked for the manuscript. That’s a stunningly high percentage, at least in my experience.
In the end, all but three of the agents passed on my strange little novel, yet somehow those three offers of representation arrived within days of each other just as I was about to finally give up on the book. I ended up signing with one of the agents, and she might have been even more excited about the book than I was.
I won’t go into the sad history of what happened next, but The Suicide Diary hasn’t seen print as when I’m writing this, so you can probably make some good guesses if you know the publishing business.
That said, I’m thinking — thanks to my supporters here on Patreon — the novel might still be published eventually, and Amy and Danny’s stories will finally be told. I’ll definitely let you know if something like that is possible down the road.
As always, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d rather do that instead of commenting on this actual post. Thank you again for all of your support! — BJF
by Brian James Freeman
My name is Amy Walker and my mother died three years ago on a sweltering August day during the worst heat wave in decades.
Any time spent in the direct sunlight that week risked a quick burn. Walking outside was like being wrapped in a wool blanket.
I was fifteen.
My little brother was just three.
My father was forty going on forever.
He worked two shifts at the factory to keep the bills paid, and we rarely saw him. He worked so hard because he loved us, but also, I believe, because the work allowed him to pretend his wife wasn’t dying.
The cancer started in my mother’s breast and spread quickly, undetected. She was never the same person after the doctor appointment when she received the bad news.
Sometimes I think she actually died that day.
The rest of the time, the time spent in the upstairs bedroom of our little house, the time spent wasting away, didn’t count for anything.