At sixty years of age Daniel Allman had committed the one sin he never thought he would; he had not died in his youth. To say he wouldn't live past forty had been a popular saying back in his day, (or was it thirty?)but he had really believed it. He had always done the kinds of things that would bring an early death, but he had somehow avoided it. Now, as he had heard someone say, "If I had known I was going to live so long, I'd have taken better care of himself." He had lived hard then and was paying the price now.
Courting death then had been his way of staving off madness, a family malady, but now - being no longer young - he tried to stave off that madness and his quite literal temptation to suicide, by way of his writing.
He wrote a weekly column about literature, surprisingly popular, for a metropolitan newspaper, had had reviews and articles published in the 'New Yorker' and others, but he feared writing his Great American Novel because he might fail and kill himself at last. It was touch and go for him - any day could be the end of his sanity and his life. He had a long history of many events and a nearly photographic recall of things literary. He had the ability to write interesting tidbits about books and authors. These were things he knew he could write. His 'portraits' as he called them. But there was no guarantee that he could actually write fiction of great caliber.
So it was with great apprehension he sat down and began to write what was then and would remain his secret work - his secret novel.
Copyright 2010 by James D. Sanderson. All rights reserved.