Benji

Benji 3

Here, finally, an excerpt from the 1st draft of the book I am currently working on. This chapter tells about my first canine companion, a cute albeit rather enormous English Mastiff puppy I was given at the age of 7. Sadly, his stay with us was brief, but he will never be forgotten:

“Oh no, he’s done it again.”

My dad looked a curious mix between erupting volcano and deflated marathon runner, arriving last over the finish line.

I followed his gaze downward and saw a fresh layer of deep scratches marking the inside of our wooden front door. Following my dad’s gaze further, I saw books lying shredded in the hallway all the way to the artificial horizon created by the far wall. Puddles of pee glistened on the tile floor like miniature golden ponds. Scraps of torn book pages floated in them like water lilies. If not for the acrid, far too intense toilet smell, this could have been a rather romantic scenario.

Dad sighed a deep rumbling sigh. We had only been away for half an hour to buy groceries at the corner store. I did my best to look understanding and crestfallen even though I relished this rebellion and disaster more than I dared even admit to myself.

We slowly went further into the apartment, coming across what looked like the remains of what looked like one of Mom’s shirts and our TV remote control.

Finally, in the living room sat the culprit. Clearly aware that he had done something he shouldn’t, for otherwise he’d have greeted us at the door. Nevertheless, considering the circumstances, he looked far too delighted to see us back. Tail wagging; thump, thump, thump, into another puddle of pee right behind him. Little, golden drops flying in all directions.

(From ‘Word of Mouse’, Chapter 3, Benji)

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And He Would Tell a Story…

sebastian konrad

“You’re not frivolous Tom. Back in the caveman days our ancestors would huddle around the fire at night. Wolves would be howling in the dark, just beyond the light. And one person would start talking. And he would tell a story so we wouldn’t be so scared in the dark.”

This is from the movie ‘Genius’ (2016), a true story. Editor Max Perkins comforts his author Thomas Wolfe in a moment of doubt… assuring him that, as a storyteller, he is fulfilling a need in people older than time, something vital and irreplaceable.

I’ve always felt like this about stories as well, be they true or imagined. It’s why I am so passionate about both reading and writing. Stories help us find our way. They make life more bearable. They comfort us and let us know we’re not alone with our troubles, not alone in being lost at times.

Surfer’s Nipples

2004 finished tattoo and scars

“In the past, I had often been stared at and asked about the sizeable scars on my chest. At The House of Dancing Water, no one asked. My fellow divers seemed curious, but no one ever approached me. As for our performers, I knew they had seen so many scars in their lives, they had stopped asking each other for such details a long time ago.
Our moto riders once saluted me as a fellow surfer, after seeing me bare chested in the theater basement. I had stared at them, uncomprehending. “Many professional surfers surgically remove their nipples to avoid the agony caused by abrasions,” they explained to my astonishment.
Apparently, I had surfer’s nipples. Who knew?”
(Excerpt from Paralian, Chapter 30, “Macau Pool”)

For many years, I had agonized about my scars, had felt self-conscious and shy about taking my shirt off in public. I dreaded open stares and questions. I worried too much about what other people might think.

Then, I “cured” myself by confronting the issue head-on and chose to become a SCUBA diving instructor, later an aquatic performer trainer, jobs which required me to work with my shirt off most of the time. People sometimes stared openly. But it didn’t bother me as much as I thought it would. They talked. But people always do, don’t they? What and how much they talked didn’t have any relevance to my life. Even more important, as I looked around, I saw scars of all shapes and sizes. I wasn’t the only one who hadn’t gone through life unaffected.

Gradually, I relaxed. All was fine. I wasn’t a freak, standing out from the crowd. Alone. Apart. Isolated. Instead, I learned, I was one of many. A small pebble in the diverse and forever changing sea of humanity.

Liam Klenk on Goodreads

goodreads to-read

The only thing I don’t like about writing is that it gives me far less time for reading. So many books out there… so many fascinating themes… alternate realities… and lives, I’d love to disappear into for a few days at a time.
Are you on Goodreads? Here is my page: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14425961.Liam_Klenk
See you there sometime, maybe?
And off I go. Today is both, a reading and a writing day.