Welcome to the David B. Seaburn newsletter. Learn about recent and upcoming book publications. Visit him at www.davidbseaburn.com
Newsletter Dated: 12/20/2009 4:52:53 PM
Subject: Welcome to my newsletter!
I am using this newletter format to keep people informed about my writing. For more info on previous novels, check out www.authorsden.com/davidbseaburn
I have just finished my third novel, which is entitled
Charlie No Face. I am seeking representation at this point, but wanted you to know that it's on its way.
Here's a brief look:
Charlie No Face is a coming of age story about an eleven year old boy, Jackie, who lives with his father in a small western Pennsylvania town in the summer of 1959. Jackie’s mother died when he was three months old. And although he knows little about her, his mother’s presence is palpable and Jackie’s desire to learn about her life is growing as quickly as his 11 year old frame.
Nevertheless, the summer of ’59 is a summer of promise for Jackie. His father is home on a long vacation; he is the starting centerfielder for the mighty Kiwanis baseball team; and with his friends, Brian and Tommy, Jackie is exploring his world, including his budding interest in the female anatomy, and even more importantly his fascination with Charlie No Face, the ghastly local hermit whose deformed body and face are the stuff of nightmares, tall tales and late night expeditions to be one of the few who have actually seen him. His late night ride with friends and their encounter with Charlie are exhilarating, terrifying and transformative:
"Charlie sat back on his haunches and raised his head. I had never seen anything like it before. It was as big as the globe that sat on Miss Loss’s desk in social studies, but not exactly round, more ballooned out in spots, like something went terribly wrong at the factory when they made it, like the whole continent of Asia stuck out as if it were as high as Everest, while South America was just one big indent, like it was a reject globe, one that no teacher would ever put on her desk, one that no one would ever want."
Before Jackie knows it, his idyllic summer implodes when his father’s car gets vandalized, a tornado ravages the neighborhood, rumors of Charlie’s death abound, and Jackie learns that his father is not on vacation; he’s unemployed and must leave home to look for work.
Jackie must stay with his only living relative, great Aunt Dee, out in the country near the Ohio line. There he befriends Aunt Dee’s little cocker spaniel, Abigail, learns how to garden, and discovers that Aunt Dee’s reclusive boarder (Henry) isn’t who he thought he was at all. He’s really the infamous Charlie No Face. Jackie tracks him through the woods one late night:
"I watched as they stepped into the moonlight. I could not believe my eyes. 'Oh, my God,' I said out loud, 'Oh my God.' There was Abigail trotting beside Henry, who was using his stick to find his way. But it wasn’t Henry at all. It couldn’t be. I watched his every move as they walked several more steps and then disappeared into the shadows again. I was sure. I knew it had to be, but how could it? I had only seen a head like that once before. I looked up and down the road again. Was this the same place? Was this the road? I thought of Kelso and the guys and that ride and what we saw and how we didn’t say a word the whole way back to Ellwood, how we sat in silence, how we didn’t speak of it much after that night, and how stunned I was when I heard that he was dead. But now I knew the gossip was wrong. Now I knew the truth. I stepped out into the middle of the road, not a car in sight and squinted to see if I could catch the shadow again, but I couldn’t. Nevertheless, I knew."
They fall into an unlikely friendship. Eventually Jackie talks with Charlie about his name:
“Well, I didn’t make it up myself. Everyone calls you this when they talk about you. I think it’s been around for an awful long time. My dad knows it, even though he doesn’t like me to use it. All my friends’ parents know it, but they don’t seem to care if we say it. I don’t know if people are being mean when they call you this; it’s just what they call you. I always thought it was really your name, even though that sounds stupid now.”
“So, what do they call me, Jack?”
“Charlie No Face,” I said, regretting the words as they came out of my mouth. It never seemed wrong to use it before, but here in front of Charlie, it seemed like I was calling him a bad name, something I wouldn’t say to someone’s face.
“Yes, that’s what I’ve heard.” Charlie reached for another log, shuffled to the fireplace and tossed it in kind of sideways. He settled back into his chair and sighed. He didn’t say a word.
Finally he spoke. “Is that why you don’t call me by name?” He was right. I had never called him anything to his face.
“I guess so. I guess I didn’t want to call you that, because I didn’t know what you’d think of it. I didn’t want to say something that would make you feel bad.”
“Do you know what my name is?”
“Well, yes, I do.”
“What is it?”
“Then that’s what you should call me. Not Mr. Hopewell, but Henry, or if you’d like, you can call me Hank.”
Jackie learns to look at Charlie with his heart, not just his eyes. He also learns that, much to his surprise, the catastrophic accident that befell Charlie as a child also holds the key to understanding who Jackie’s mother was.
Charlie No Face is a story about a young boy’s journey toward understanding who he is and how he should look at the world around him.