November 11th, 2013



I visited the Mountain Lakes Public Library in New Jersey last week. They had both mountains and lakes nearby, so that checks out. They also had an awesome teen group! Man were they cool. The evening started with me overhearing one of them express distaste for the letter "u" (I may have misheard...) and so I ran with that and we worked it into our writing workshop. We also worked in a local landmark, a park known as "The Tourne." So with that in mind, I present to you Chapter One of THE TOURNE, by me and the Mountain Lakes Library Teens. Check it out! It's such an intriguing opening. You know you want to read more! Great job, kids.



       I’ve explored pretty much every place there is to explore in this small town. I’ve walked through the old steel factory. I’ve sauntered through the darkened alleys behind the market. I’ve hiked up and down every trail in the Tourne. There was just one place I’d never been. It was literally the wrong side of the tracks, but ironically it was the right side. It was green and full of flowers, full of life, full of hope. In other words, it was everything my life wasn’t.
       I decided today would be the day I go there. There was only one way to access this little slice of paradise and unfortunately, that way was a dilapidated bridge shakier than a toddler hopped up on caffeine. But I had to do it. I had to cross the bridge. I climbed the stairs of the rotting pavilion and took the first unsteady step onto the bridge. It swayed beneath my feet like a leaf in a storm.
       It was awful. It was like my heart was beating out of my chest. I looked down. I wished I hadn’t. It was a long drop to the murky river below. The jagged rocks were sticking up like knives. I was scared. But I wasn’t truly terrified until I saw the graffiti scrawled on the side of the bridge. It was just one letter: