Trust me folks. You will want to get your hands on Don’s new book as soon as you can. I would have got through it faster, but I kept reading passages out loud to wife, and then my children, and then anybody else who would listen. This is special!” – Matt Watroba
The Hitchhiking Years: And Four Other Stories
Coming October 2021
All Preorders will receive signed and numbered first edition copies as soon as they are available.
Memoirs of a C Student
A collection of twelve short stories by Don White is available.
A Woman Between Worlds 27
My Terrorist Experience 67
My Unique Heritage 87
A Much More Deadly Strain 95
She Sings Me to Sleep with Laughter 99
The Adventures of Alarm Man 107
Five Minutes at my Friend’s Wedding 123
Father’s Day 163
The Viking Ship 177
The Boys Club 189
The Dinner Meeting 219
Afterword and Acknowledgments 255
This is a hard cover, 264 page book.
Click to Read a sample
Here are a couple of pages from one of the stories in the book.
Hopefully this will give you an example of my writing and send you into a wild book-buying frenzy.
The Dinner Meeting
One warm summer evening in 1995, I was working at the computer in a bedroom on the second floor of my house, when my wife called my name. At that time we were both thirty-eight years old and had been together for twenty years.
Two people who have lived together for more than half their lives have certain modes of communication that are incomprehensible to the rest of the world. For example, it is common knowledge that many qualified members of this segment of society (the severely married) are capable of having entire twenty-minute arguments with their partners telepathically. Mrs. Severely Married will just look at this person with whom she has spent her entire adult life and in a few seconds be able to communicate, with subtle body language and almost imperceptible facial expressions, her side of the argument. And Mr. Married will respond accordingly. It is an extremely effective energy conservation program. And a survival skill.
My wife is particularly masterful at this style of communication. When she crosses her arms and leans her body slightly to one side, I know that is shorthand for her ten-minute diatribe about what an asshole I am for not doing more to help her around the house. When she tilts her head to the right and raises her left eyebrow, that, I know, is shorthand for her brilliant ten-minute indignant response to my feeble attempt to justify my lack of productivity on the weekend with some lame argument about how hard I work during the week. And when she places her hands on her hips and I see heat begin to rise from her head and shoulders, that is her way of telling me in no uncertain terms that I cannot possibly win this argument, and that it is in my best interest to shut the ball game off and help her.
These are twenty-minute, high-volume arguments, done silently in thirty seconds.
In addition to this complex visual language, there is also an entire audio vocabulary between long-time companions through which they can communicate, not so much with words, but by inflection.
My first exposure to this audio phenomenon occurred when my son was an infant. When he wasn’t sleeping or staring into the fifth dimension, he was crying. That’s what he did, he cried. To me it all sounded the same. One annoying baby sound—waaaaaaaah. However, his mother heard an elaborate, articulate vocabulary within the subtle (and to me imperceptible) differences in every sound that came out of his little mouth. She was equipped with a specialized hearing system that instantly decoded the secret world of infant cry/speak.
Often he would cry in the middle of the night. Sometimes she would ignore him and he would go back to sleep. That waaaaah, she knew, said, “Where the hell am I? Oh, there’s my mobile. I know this place. Everything is cool, back to dreamland.” Other times she would get up casually and nurse him. She had translated that cry: “I’m starving here. Where’s the nice lady with the big tits?”
But occasionally my wife and I would be asleep and our son would begin to cry. Not even a full waaaaaah but just the first waa. . . and she would catapult out of bed and be at that baby’s side in two one-hundredths of a second. She knew by the inflection of this sound that he was hurt. He wasn’t hungry. He wasn’t teething. He wasn’t scared. He was in pain and all he had to do was make the “I’m in pain” sound for one millisecond and his mother would instantly appear to untangle his leg from the bars of his crib.
At my computer, my wife’s voice penetrated my air-space. One word—two syllables—my name—Donnie. I have heard my wife speak my name nearly every day of my adult life. At last count, she could say it with over four hundred inflections, each clearly communicating a unique reason, motivation, and sense of urgency. From the lips of my wife, my name is an entire language, one that we both speak fluently.
When the first consonant of the first syllable of my name reached my ears it did not make the lengthy trip to my brain for analysis and interpretation. It was snagged and identified by a visceral, adrenaline-driven, high-speed processor located in the pit of my stomach.
This astounding piece of equipment was developed, and used on a daily basis, by prehistoric man in an era when taking the time to think, “Hmm, that sounds like a lion,” was more than enough to significantly increase the likelihood of a Cro-Magnon’s abrupt and unceremonious return into the food chain.
Move and live. Or think and die.
I move. I do not get up from the chair and run downstairs. I just appear there. My son and his friend are standing in the living room with my wife. They are drenched in trauma. Before a word is spoken I already know that our lives have been permanently altered.
© 2006 Don White, all rights reserved.
I started writing this book in 2001. I had just gone part-time at my day job and had two days a week where I could write in the morning. I thought it would be done in a year. By year three I had learned so much about writing that I felt obliged to go back and re-write everything I had composed in years one and two. Being an astute observer of ridiculous trends, I eventually realized that this was a pattern that, if allowed to grow roots, would guarantee that my book would never be finished.
There were times that I felt buried alive beneath the weight of writing this book. During those times (and there were many of them) I would picture a woman who had just put her children to bed after a long day that included eight hours at a job and another four or five hours tending to those responsibilities that await her at home after work. I would envision her settling into the comfort of her favorite chair, turning on a small lamp, opening my book and giving to me the one single hour that her day had allowed her to use at her own discretion.
How precious is that hour? The competition for that hour of a person’s time is extremely intense The thought that someone might consider giving that hour to my book always gave me the boost and the determination I needed to finish individual stories and to force myself not to settle for anything less than the quality of writing that I would want in return for my day’s only free hour.
Now, I am aware that men read books. I am also aware that people read books at the bus stop, on the subway, and in noisy cafes. But I found that those images (hairy man, crowded subway) were a lot less effective motivators for me.
In any case, the thing is done and I am very proud of it. I hope you like it.