View Full Version : Excerpt from Rough Draft

August 22nd, 2007, 02:48 PM
Co-authored with Chris Owen (http://www.chrisowen.net/), Rough Draft (http://www.torquerepress.com/cart/cart.php?m=product_list&c=1475) is a story about two lovers, Paul and Gray, who are reunited despite the many years and the three thousand miles between them, by a series of sometimes funny, sometimes heart-wrenching, hand-written letters. It has been published as a novel by Torquere Press after a successful run on their popular serial fiction
subscription series, Turn of the Screw.
"Grey and Paul were good friends in college. Good friends with privileges. But they haven't been together in years. When Grey puts pen to paper and writes Paul a letter, he half expects it to be ignored. But Paul writes back and their old flame is rekindled.

Or is it? Has too much water gone under the bridge or can Grey and Paul reconnect and deal with the issues that took them in different directions after college? "

Fans of Paul & Gray! Chris and I wrote a short Rough Draft flashback piece set when the men were in grad school together. It ran for a month on Torquere Press' website as a special bonus feature for Turn of the Screw subscribers only, but now that the feature month is over, you can read it! Read "Study Break", here (http://www.jodipayne.net/rdstudybreak.htm).


Dated October 25

Hey, Professor!

Sorry about the paper, I borrowed it from one of the students in the after-school play I'm directing. This time it's 'Arsenic and Old Lace'. I'm going to have to do one hell of a make-up job to make my 16 year old female leads look like they're 70, huh? Anyway, they're doing costume fittings tonight and I'm just hanging around answering questions so I figured it was a good time to write back.

Me? Panic? I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about, I never panic. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. I was surprised by your letter, though. In this age of email, nobody picks up a real pen anymore. I think letter writing is a dying art. Of course in my case you might prefer an email; I know my handwriting leaves a lot to be desired. Can you even read this?

All the same it's good to hear from the "Wandering Mind of Gray". I wish the circumstances were a little better. The semester has barely begun and already you're lamenting the loss of your social life? It's going to be a very, very long year, huh? Jokes aside though, are you ok, Gray? It doesn't seem like you not to dig until you find a silver lining to the daily grind. [something is scratched out here] You seem sort of depressed to me. Or lonely, I guess. I'm surprised, I would have expected that a town surrounding the hallowed halls of academia would be far more diverse. So is what they say about college towns all talk? Must be.

And please don't tell me how old you feel, I am so not ready to go shopping for my mid-life crisis convertible (although I'm thinking a Porsche, how about you?). At least you're working with kids that can drink legally. I've got acne-laden, hormonally-confused teenagers on my hands. Today's crisis was that Cindy, the girl playing Martha, went nuts when I suggested that her character was overweight and we would have to pad her a bit. She freaked out about looking "fat" and ran out of the room crying. I had to coax her out of the ladies' room with dramatic and important-sounding talk about personifying and embodying a character and a story about Ian McKellen's method acting.

I told you that story right? About how he was… oh, I know I told you and now I'm repeating myself, it's my favorite fucking story after all.

Uh-oh, you think she's going to go home and tell her parents that story? That's all I need, I can hear the phone call now. "Mr. Foster, I understand you told my daughter it was alright all right to be drunk." (It's bad enough I'm a fag, right?)


Anyway, it worked. She's now being measured and fitted for her padding, and she's going to look great. One down, 12 more disagreeable teenagers to go. Don't talk to me about feeling old.

Things are ok with me otherwise. I'm getting the bills paid, and all. I'm building a million dollar home at the moment. Ever noticed how a $300K house is a "house", but a million dollar house is a "home"? What's up with that? Anyway, this woman, the wife, has really bad taste. Tacky as hell. With any luck we'll have this "home" finished before the winter rain hits us. I'd like to be done before Christmas, I'm thinking maybe I need a vacation this year.

Oddly enough, I can drive to downtown San Francisco where there are plenty of gay meat markets to choose from, and yet so far, I don't think I'm any better off than you are. I mean sure, I've had the one-nighters here and there, pick-ups and such, but apart from one or two exceptions, I haven't wanted to look twice. And even the exceptions haven't lasted more than a couple of weeks, or a month tops.

Don't let the hype fool you, San Francisco is a lonely town. Seriously. You're all set if you want to get laid, but if you actually want to have a conversation, you'd be better off hitting the Mission or Noe Valley and looking up the lesbians.

Heh. Mentioning the lesbians made me think of that time we went to the opera with Lisa and Allison as our "dates"? Remember? And you kept calling Allison "honey" and "schnookums"… I laugh every time I think of that.

Those were good times, huh?

Well, I better go check on my little method-actress. Besides, as you can see, I'm out of paper.

[written up the margin] Hang in there, and try to find something to occupy your mind, you're thinking too much again!


Written on lined loose-leaf in blue ink. The pen appears to be running out of ink.

Dated November 5

Hey Paul,

Glad you could fit me into your schedule -- I mean that, I'm not trying to be a prick. How on earth do you find time to live between working and doing plays? I mean, really, Paul. Don't stress yourself too much. And that is the lecture out of the way.

Seriously, I'm fine. I probably shouldn't have mailed that first letter, or at least waited a day or two and added more to it. Call it mid-term stress -- god, was I like that when I was in school? Shit, how morose. You know what? Mid-terms suck just as much from this side. I can hardly wait for finals.

Anyway. Better now, sorry for the brain dump and for worrying you. And hey, I can always stand to hear about Ian McKellen's method acting again. And again. And once more just for fun. You think you'll survive the play? Oh, little hint -- like you need one from me: When putting on a production of 'The Tempest' take more than three weeks to get it together. No, really. At least a month. It won't be quite so painful for the world that way. Yeah, that was a good night. I live in fear.

It takes $300,000 to build a house? Shit, man, I'm going to be homeless forever. As it is I'm barely past the sheer need for a roommate to make the rent. Looooong way from a 'home'. (This is me skipping the part where I talk about your muscles and how hot you look working on said home. See? Skipping the whole thing. Right now.)

In the post mid-term hush around here I've been thinking about stats. Statistically, a bunch of the varsity jocks are gay, right? Off limits, what with the whole professor/student thing. But, also statistically speaking, a bunch more profs than just me gotta be queer, yeah? (Okay, with my luck they're all lesbians. Whatever.) Also? If I'm staying away from students, can't find a prof to bang, then.... I'm thinking I need to expand my horizons. Look to the public sector, so to speak. Find out who's building all these houses.

Did I just say that?

Ahem. Anyway, what's going on with you? Anyone making your nights more fun than your days? Stay away from that midlife crisis Porches, babe -- you're more a Prowler kind of guy. Oh wait, that's me. In any case, it's on hold until after finals. How are the little actresses coming along? Any of them crushing on you yet?

Take care, baby. Don't let them get you down.