Thursday, February 18, 2010

Edwin Miller – a cuckold

The brass keyring said WORKAHOLIC but it wasn’t true. Edwin Miller did work hard but only because it was a convenient alternative to thinking. He had developed the habit on the day he got married. He watched Bartholomew Jacob Mathers (Jake, as he preferred) study the brass fob. Edwin said nothing as he tried to guess where this impromptu meeting was headed. Because Jake was the latest fresh-faced graduate to be recruited to the director’s board under their nepotism programme, Edwin knew the visit to his office was not just a friendly assignation.
“You do work hard,” Jake said, as though agreeing with the keyring. He toyed with it a moment longer before tossing it back onto the minimalist clutter of Edwin’s desk. The fob and keys landed with a heavy clatter. “I think you work a little too hard.”
Edwin raised a sardonic eyebrow. “I’ll try not to do it again.”
Jake circled his desk. Edwin thought the habit was both annoying and disconcerting. He wondered if this was one of the management techniques they now taught in university. It was easy to imagine some sadistic sociology professor lecturing on the positive benefits of invading an employee’s personal space: reminding workers who was really in charge by penetrating their comfort zone. Not bothering to rise to the challenge of this particular mind game, Edwin sat back in his chair and tried not to act defensive. He had already made the decision that he didn’t care for Jake.
“Who’s this pretty lady?”
Jake held the obligatory framed family photo that belonged on Edwin’s desk. It was a three-year-old snapshot dating from their honeymoon. Jake stroked the glass as though caressing her cheek. To Edwin’s eye, the frozen smile on the picture seemed to widen for the graduate. He didn’t know if it was the light in the office or a trick of his imagination but he could have sworn his wife’s eyes sparkled as Jake held her photograph. He inwardly glowered at her treachery.
“That’s my wife.”
“Does she have a name?”
“She has two. Three if you count her maiden name.”
Jake’s sharktooth grin faltered. “And her name is?” he prompted.
“First, last or maiden?”
“First.”
“Desdemona.”
Jake laughed. Because his hands shook Desdemona’s photograph appeared to share his amusement.
Edwin scowled.
“Desdemona is Othello’s wife,” Jake began enthusiastically. He spoke as though this was a subject he had been forced to study. He spoke with the enthusiasm of a man who has finally found an outlet for his arduously acquired knowledge. And he spoke with the fatuous assuredness of one arrogant enough to believe he was the only person to ever have read Othello. “Desdemona is the true victim of Iago’s diabolical machinations to avenge himself on Shakespeare’s tragic hero. Her story is the…”
“This is a different Desdemona.”

***

This is Edwin Miller, central character from my Amber Leigh title, Cuckold. The perspective on this story is strictly third person: third person with a narrative angle from Edwin’s point of view. But it’s a very intimate third person. It’s written as though the third person narrator has access to Edwin’s thoughts, and is heavily influenced by Edwin’s world view.

And I happen to like Edwin. I like Edwin because I spent a few months working with him as I worked on this story. And I like Edwin’s dry sense of humour. He’s a curmudgeon in the office – ruder to his boss than I would ever dare to be – and you have to admire a man with those talents.

I also like this novel: it’s probably one of my favourites. I like the story. I like the characters. And I like the fact that someone on Amazon reviewed the book with the opening statement, “You can tell this book was written by a woman, because she takes so long to get to the point of the story…”

[Sigh] There’s nothing like the professional criticism of a well-informed Amazon reviewer, is there?

11 comments:

  1. Hello, Ash,

    Good choice! Edwin is remarkably real, even though his personal kinks might seem unbelievable. I also agree that this is one of the best-written books that I've read by you--maybe not as fun as some of your work (I found looking at the world through Edwin's eyes somewhat painful) but serious and genuine.

    All the best,
    Lisabet

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  2. Hi Lisabet,

    Thank you. I really enjoyed writing Edwin, even though parts of his story were difficult to relate.

    And my apologies for being missing in action for so much of this week. It's amazing how easy it is to get lost in paperwork, isn't it?

    Best,

    Ash

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  3. Ash - Ya gotta love Amazon reviews. LOL Especially the snarky ones that you can laugh at on many different levels.

    Michelle

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  4. Michelle,

    I did have one review where they'd put "If you like old priests shagging young girls, you'll like this." I'd thought they were being dismissive, but they gave it 4 stars!

    Best,

    Ash

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  5. Actually I think that's kind of an honor, being chosen as a woman writer, although to my ear your prose has a distinctive guy sound.

    Don;t beat up Amazon reviewers too much though. I met Mire Uno, the lady who helped me write Color of the moon because of her review of Lacadio Hearn's book "Kwaidan". I knew right away here was somebody who knew more than I did about what I was trying to write. So it works the other way too.

    Garce

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  6. Oh I don't have problems with all of them. Most reviewers on Amazon are genuine readers who are just sharing their thoughts. Which I support.

    It's the fakes and the dumb*sses I have problems with. : )

    One reviewer blasted me because one of my titles wasn't printable. Said that you could find other writings "of the same ilk" for the same cost that are printable.

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  7. Garce,

    I won't beat up ALL Amazon reviewers. There are some good ones out there and I'm glad you were able to find someone so helpful through that site.

    Best,

    Ash

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  8. And he spoke with the fatuous assuredness of one arrogant enough to believe he was the only person to ever have read Othello.

    Hahaha! Fine specimen of the "nepotism programme," indeed.

    Intimate third-person is a wonderful flavor of p.o.v., as your excerpt illustrates so dramatically.

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  9. Jeremy,

    Thank you. I've been taking tips on good writing from a book sitting on my desk called Rock My Socks Off. Really well written. You'd love it :-)

    Best,

    Ash

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  10. : ) Thanks, Ash! Your comment totally makes my day!

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  11. Having read this opening, I have to say, I love Edwin's voice, particularly his interpretation of the sort of person Jake is. Fabulous!

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