The following is from my 2004 novel The Sage and the Scarecrow. At the moment, I am revising the chapters from this book into 3-4 page short stories for posting on my blogs and in literary magazines.
You can read the entire revised first chapter of “Sage and the Scarecrow” here:
The Novel in Short: Six months after his father has died from cancer, Pierce finds himself in a state of anxiety and crisis. The book follows Pierce through a journey to find his best friend and the only person he thinks can “cure” him.
In the picture that I have stuck between the pages of the Tao Teh Ching Jennifer is wearing her glasses with thick black plastic frames proudly as a testament to her geekdom. Whenever I think of her, I always think of her with those same thick black frames around her eyes.
When I’d first met Jennifer she told me that she was embarrassed of her glasses—she always told me that she wished her frames could be the thin metal ones that people could hardly see. But she never got new frames, and I never understood why.
Eventually, I think she grew to love the thick black frames because she loved the way people looked at her with them. She said to me once that the best thing to be is weird because then you have the advantage of seeing people without the benefit of the familiar: you see them at their least superficial sometimes (unless that’s all there is), sometimes surprised, sometimes inflexible, cautious, capricious, hateful, genuine, or maybe they even give you a little weirdness in return.
A year ago was the last time I’d talked to her and she told me that she had briefly considered getting new glasses. Since then, I hadn’t really talked to her and I sometimes wondered if she ever followed through with her threat.