About Me

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I'm the co-host of THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO with Dana & Carl (Sunday nights, 9 to Midnight Eastern, www.westcottradio.org).  As a freelance writer, I contributed to Goldmine magazine from 1986-2006, wrote liner notes for Rhino Records' compilation CD Poptopia!  Power Pop Classics Of The '90s, and for releases by The Flashcubes, The Finkers, Screen Test, 1.4.5., and Jack "Penetrator" Lipton.  I contributed to the books Bubblegum Music Is The Naked Truth, Shake Some Action, Lost In The Grooves, and MusicHound Rock, and to DISCoveries, Amazing Heroes, The Comics Buyer's Guide, Yeah Yeah Yeah, Comics Collector, The Buffalo News, and The Syracuse New Times.  I also wrote the liner notes for the three THIS IS ROCK 'N' ROLL RADIO compilation CDs, because, well, who could stop me?  My standing offer to write liner notes for a Bay City Rollers compilation has remained criminally ignored.  Still intend to write and sell a Batman story someday.

Friday, April 1, 2016

UNFINISHED AND ABANDONED: Our Lips Are Sealed

Unfinished And Abandoned digs deeeeep into my unpublished archives, and exhumes projects that I started (sometimes barely started) but abandoned, unfinished.  I am such a quitter.



Our Lips Are Sealed was a vague idea I had for a detective novel, whose protagonist returns to the little town where he'd attended college decades ago, a town he'd left behind when his then-girlfriend killed herself.  I jotted down the opening paragraphs of the first chapter, and the closing paragraphs of that chapter, with the intention of fleshing it out into an actual, y'know...story. I have yet to write another word, but I save everything. You never know when the mood may strike me to return to this.  

Our Lips Are Sealed

Chapter 1

It always amazes me to think of how something as seemingly slight as an aroma can conjure up such vivid memories.  To this day, a whiff of warm peach cobbler will transport me back in time to summers at my grandmother’s house in Missouri forty years ago.  The stale smell of sweat and spilled beer will bring me back to about a million nightclubs and dorm parties, fried grease will recall the two years I worked at a fast food restaurant a couple of decades ago, dust and mildew will conjure an image of my favorite old book and record stores (in Syracuse and Cleveland Heights, respectively), and paste, as everyone knows, is the official scent of grade school.  Some smells just seem to open specific doors into your memory, regardless of whether or not you’d ever really want that door opened again.

Her perfume was a good example.

I hadn’t seen her in over 25 years, hadn’t wanted to see her, preferred not to think about her.  But when she walked into my store all these years later, her scent announced her presence before I’d even turned around.  Not that it was overly strong, nor even something most folks would even notice.  But I knew that scent, that sweet, subtle smell that brought back…everything.  I didn’t need to turn around to know.  But I turned, and said, “Rose?”

“Hiya, Steve,” she said.  “Been a long time.”
           
[I never wrote this middle section of the first chapter, which presumably would have detailed a bit of the back story behind Steve, Rose, and the suicide of their mutual friend Renee. The proposed first chapter then resumes and concludes:]

"That’s just it, Steve.  I know what you thought, what we all thought.  But that’s why I’m here, damn it.  We were wrong, Steve.”

“Jesus, Rose, ya think?”

“Not about that, you idiot.  About what really happened to Renee.”

By now, I had no idea what she was on about.  I just wanted to her to leave.  Exasperated, I said, “God, Rose, just get to the point already.”

“Renee, Steve,” she said.  “Renee didn’t kill herself.  I think she was murdered.”