Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
FINAL GRADES, RECOMMENDATIONS, AND COMMENTARY
Written By: Ralph Hawk
Initially I thought this would be a fairly simple chapter to write. I thought that within it I’d simply disclose my final grades and recommendations for my six “students.” But, when I stopped and considered that this will be my last written chapter in this book, I then went back and added the commentary which now precedes the grades and recommendations herein.
Yes, in this chapter I’m keeping a promise I made to share with you the final grades and recommendations which I submitted for the six candidates who recently worked with me in their attempts to graduate out of the students of the highway genre of mankind. And I hope you’ll agree with these grades and recommendations, or perhaps one might term them “pieces of advice;” nonetheless, I’ve already turned these evaluations and comments over to those of my superiors in other earthly realities who served as overseers (so to speak) for this project.
And, I want to tell you that I’ve spoken to a friend of mine about the truthfully related telephone call which I document in this chapter. This friend is a respected citizen of our artistic enclave here in the city, and helped Joseph Same with the publishing of “The Same Tapes.” I asked Orlon Braem if my response to the “Manhattan caller” had been too harsh. And Orlon said he thought it hadn’t been, but also said he wondered what effect disclosing the content of that call to the public might have.
Therefore, I guess I can only hope that my discussion of that call will have a positive effect upon the readership of this chapter; but then, that’s also all I can hope for in regard to this entire book. So, yes, this will be the last chapter that I’ll write for this book, yet, it won’t be the last chapter of this book. There will be one more, and it will be written by Lauren Havess. And why will hers be the last herein? Because within it I want her to not only “tie together” some “loose strings,” but also tell you of a substantial decision which she’ll soon need to make.
Thus, here are my closing thoughts concerning this book. Yes, it was controversial. But its central theme was that as they grow older, all mortals must choose the paths of life on which they wish to tread. And just now, as I’m using that phrase “paths of life,” I’m realizing how symbolic all that I’m now a part of really is. And you may say that’s a brazen thing for me to say. “Ralph Hawk really has a high regard for himself and his beliefs” you may say. But, in all honesty, as I see it, it really doesn’t matter if those assumptions concerning me are true or not. The only thing that matters now is that I continue to properly and effectively function as the de facto leader of this city. And, if the rumors I hear are true, perhaps I’ll soon not be a de facto leader anymore. Apparently many people in this city wish me to be its mayor.
But, many people seek me out. And many people from both inside and outside this city want to know what I think about, or would do concerning certain subjects. And I’ll now trouble you with only one of these most recent “concerns” which have reached me either by email, telephone, letters, or personal conversation. And I’m choosing this one for two reasons. First, I find it irksome that I was asked to comment upon it in the first place, and second, I guess it provides a good representation for the types of topics I’m daily confronted with here; topics which, of course most generally concern artful activity – and artful activity of course includes not only creative painting, but writing, acting, musicianship, and everything else in any way connected to creative pursuits.
And, let’s call him a “literary big wheel from Manhattan” called me a few days ago and told me he felt that I and a number of other “obscure” writers are at this current time instilling a dangerous trend into the realm of this nation’s written prose. “How so?” I asked him after he’d also asked if, in the future, I might desist from practicing this troubling course of action.
“By either writing yourself, or else encouraging others to write books which supposedly are novels, yet which, during the courses of their telling, often deviate wildly from their central themes, and then sometimes incorporate within themselves other topics which, though admittedly sometimes interesting or even intriguing, really should be edited out of the original copies of those books,” he said. And then he went on to talk about how apparently a number of writers who’ve recently received negative reviews and/or critical feedback concerning their latest written pieces, have now not long ago begun to react inappropriately or even belligerently toward the writers of those reviews, and the instigators of that feedback.
“Yes, this is certainly a disturbing trend,” I said. “However, part of your current angst may also stem from the fact that people such as yourself have, over the last few years, lost a substantial portion of your ‘literary clout,’ and now miss the power to absolutely determine the successes and failures of so-called unknown writers – a loss of power which you and your literary equals now direly wish you could repossess.” But then I went on to say, “Well, I hope I haven’t offended you, or hurt your feelings, after all, literature still needs people like you to defend some of its greatest plots, such as the one where the billionaire falls for the waitress who earns the minimum wage, or the one about the innocent girl who fell for the suave, apparently unspoken for male, only to learn later that he was either married or gay, or already had a girlfriend, or was a sadomasochist.” And then I said goodbye to my New York caller, and hung up the phone.
And now it’s time for me to say goodbye to my participation in the creation of this book. And I think the greatest memory I’ll retain from that participation will be how greatly influenced this book was by events which occurred during its writing – events which actually weren’t planned to be discussed herein because they simply hadn’t yet happened when the book was first sanctioned for submission.
And, I’d say I learned a lot during this book’s creation, but the greatest lesson I contended with during that span of time was the same one with which I’ve always struggled the most in all my endeavors. And it concerns the fact that some people will always harbor some amount of disagreement with, and/or disdain for any course of action any human being may ever decide to follow or not follow. And of course close friends and relatives come under special scrutiny by those who really (or supposedly really) care about them.
And I guess it’s in that vein then that I’m especially concerned about the lives and futures of those who’ve come to this city to live here by the river. By coming here they’ve made mammoth choices in their lives. And they’ve pledged their very existences, as some others do to religious or other philosophical and/or psychological causes, to the furtherance of art-filled activity upon this planet. And thus, because of the commitment they’ve made, they’ll remain oblivious, for as long as they shall share mortal life, to all types of criticism, whether or not such criticism could be adjudged to have been instigated by simple and heartfelt concern, or by simple jealousy.
And most of us will grow old and die here by the river, but some of us, such as myself, have been granted a dispensation from the passage of time. And that’s because, as explained earlier in this book, some of us are natives of other realities of the earth, and hence, our directives in life are supplied to us in great extent by the overseers of those realities, most of which are superior to Earth One in their capability to affect the future of this planet, but all of which are secondary to it in their abilities to arm themselves militarily. And having said that, here are my final grades and recommendations.
NAME: F. JOHN SURELLS
RECOMMENDATIONS: I’ve known John for many years. And of course I already knew him before these current studies began. And I can tell you that he’s highly recommended for inclusion in the genre of true artists. He’s always been very forthright. And he’s always been an intellectual. He takes care of himself and those around him as best he can. And he superbly carries out all duties assigned to him; plus, he has a great writing style.
NAME: RASHON LEYF
RECOMMENDATIONS: As with John, I’m highly recommending Rashon for inclusion in the genre of true artists. And also like John, I’ve known Rashon for many years. Yes, I knew him long before these current studies began. And I can tell you that his dedication to all he’s ever been involved in has always been outstanding. He’s a great man, a great writer, and for a long time was actually a co-chairman of one of mankind’s four genres of existence! How could his grade be anything but A?
NAME: AMBER ROLON
RECOMMENDATIONS: Like her boyfriend Rashon, Amber also served as a co-chairman of the students of the highway genre of mankind for several years. She has a keen wit, and has an uncanny ability to “see through” possible situations and scenarios, both before and after they occur. And by that I mean that she can very accurately predict that certain actions may be committed by certain people at certain times, and also that certain happenings may occur as a result of those actions, or other random activities.
And she’s an above average writer I’d say; not as good as John and Rashon perhaps, but then, when you’re being compared to them, you’re being compared to the best (in my opinion). So, therefore, as is her wish, I’m recommending her for inclusion in the genre of true artists. And I also want to extend my special thanks to her for her help in dealing with Lauren Havess recently.
NAME: RENNI MAES
RECOMMENDATIONS: As with Amber, let me also state my special thanks to Renni for her involvement in the Lauren Havess matter. Renni is a very down to earth person. And I took the time to speak to her personally about her recommendation (there was no doubt in my mind but that her grade should be A). But I asked her if becoming a true artist was really what she wanted. And she answered that while she believes she does possess artistic ability – probably mostly as a painter – her greatest wish in life is that she might marry John someday and become the mother of his children. And to that I said, “God bless you Renni. By expressing what once were considered more traditional female desires, you’ve shown yourself to be as liberated as any other woman. Therefore, I’m going to recommend you for inclusion in the genre of real artists.”
NAME: CHARLES PLATT
RECOMMENDATIONS: I feel so sorry for Corzer. And I think I’m at least partially, if not greatly responsible for his current plights. There’s no doubt that he’s always belonged amongst true artists. He proved that already long ago before he was even a teenager. And I’ve been out at the farmhouse where he grew up. And I’ve seen the pictures he painted when he lived there during his elementary and secondary school years. But Charles can’t advance to the true artist classification until he receives an A in this course. Thus, he’ll need to retake it, and he’ll now remain a student of the highway for at least some amount of time. But I’ve told him that I’m so glad that he and Valerie Danns have finally decided whether they have a future together or not. And, as a result of that decision, I’ve changed his final grade in this course from C to B.
But Charles Platt deserves our honor as a veteran. He spent four years in the Marine Corps. Still, I can’t really see how he can become a true artist until he ties together a number of loose strings which now are such a part of his life. Yet, as I said, I am happy that he and Valerie have now apparently come to an agreement concerning their futures.
NAME: LAUREN HAVESS
RECOMMENDATIONS: I’ve lived a long time now, but I’ve never known a more troubled person than Lauren Havess. And I can’t really tell you the reason or reasons why that’s the case. She had a privileged upbringing - and not that that should be considered either for or against her. Like all other mortals, she entered this life with certain realities of fact surrounding her, but she failed to respond well to those facts, or to her own desires and capabilities. And I guess you know her story. She was snobbish during her teen years. And she cared about little else than herself, unless you wish to suppose that she really loved Joseph Same already then. Personally, I think she did, but her conduct at that time precluded any chance she may then have had to claim him as her own.
And after putting up with her behavior through her teen years and into her early twenties, her dad finally asked her to leave his presence. And after she did leave, she proceeded to embark upon a long journey of sexual and illegal drug encounters. And then, years later, hearing that her dad was nearing death, she returned to our city, but displayed nothing but the most despicable type of behavior here once again.
And as I told you some chapters ago, lately Lauren and I have been living in the same house. I made the decision to move in with her on strictly a non-sexual basis because of the dangerous lifestyle she’d been pursuing. And I told her I wanted her in every night by 3 A.M. Now obviously during this time I didn’t stay up every evening until three o’clock in the morning. But I did set an alarm for that time, and then went to check up on Lauren.
And during the weeks that this arrangement was in effect, Lauren did adhere to the rules – until one certain night. And on that evening, it was, I guess, somewhere around 2 A.M. that I was awakened by a ringing phone. Joseph Same was calling, and he wanted me to come to his house immediately. I asked the nature of his call, but of course would have bet almost all my money that it involved Lauren Havess – which of course it did.
So, at that very early hour I drove over to Joe and Sharon’s place. I rang their doorbell, and as soon as Joe let me in, I could tell that the three of them there were all in near shock. “Alright, what’s happened here beyond the fact that Lauren has come over uninvited?” I asked.
“She got a hold of my gun and fired a shot at Sharon,” Joe said. “Luckily the bullet only grazed Sharon’s left arm.”
I stared at Lauren for a little while then, but she didn’t look at me. I wanted to yell at her and perhaps slap her face, but I could see she was in a state if panic, and, no doubt, still under the influence of whatever substances she’d imbibed earlier that evening. Yet, I could also tell that the incident with the gun had sobered her somewhat.
Thinking quickly then I said “Well, I guess we have two alternatives here, and Joe, I’m going to let you and Sharon decide which of them we’ll pursue. First, we can call the cops, tell them what truthfully happened here, and then let the authorities decide what charges Lauren should face; or second, we can keep this whole matter quiet, in which case I give you my solemn word that I, as a representative here in this reality of the earth – representing my native reality of Parallel Reflections – will see to it that Lauren Havess is removed from this reality of the earth, and becomes a permanent resident of either Parallel Reflections or another earthly reality. And her house and factory will need to be sold. And I’ll allow our favorite attorney Jane Doer to work out all the particulars involved with those sales, as well as who should be named the factory’s new C.E.O.”
So, we decided not to turn Lauren in to the authorities, although I basically could have handled that myself. I could have arrested her that evening, and then the next day set up an initial court appearance for her. But Joe and Sharon didn’t want that. And, of course, had the bullet Lauren fired travelled a little farther to the right, they wouldn’t have had the option they asked me to pursue on their behalf that night.
“I’m willing to let Lauren decide her own fate,” said Sharon. “She can either stay here and face attempted murder charges, or I, or you Ralph, can contact the superiors of our former earthly reality and let them take her out of the Earth One reality, to live either in Parallel Reflections, or one of the other forty realities which we know at this time support some type of human life.”
“Are you sure that’s what you want me to do with her?” I asked Sharon and Joe then. And they said it was.
Thus, I took Lauren home that evening. And the next day (far into the forenoon) when she finally awakened and I told her about the previous night, she barely remembered what had occurred. She remembered going to Joe’s house she said, but didn’t recall firing a gun at Sharon.
So, I explained Lauren’s options to her then. And I told her that as an influential citizen of this city, in a court of law I would lobby to have the harshest sentence possible given to her. Yet, leaving Earth One would also be devastating to her. All her wealth would remain behind her. And it would be given away either wholly or in portions to whomever and/or whatever a court would decide should have it. And yes, that would include ownership of the factory.
And then, after thinking it over for a moment Lauren said, “How much prison time am I looking at?”
And I answered her by saying, “Since you’ve returned home, I’ve tried and tried to help you Lauren. And at first I thought you were just a confused lady who’d come to her senses with the help of me and others. But after Kenny died, and in great part because of your conduct, I began to see that probably you wouldn’t change until you were forced to. So, frankly, I’m going to try to get at least ten years for you, and if I can, I’ll get more.”
“You know, I can’t blame you for that,” she said. “When I’m sober, like I am now, I can see how destructively I’ve lived now for a number of years. But then all of a sudden, for some reason it seems as though I need to get high; and that’s when bad things happen.” And then she paused a few seconds and said, “What would life be like for me in another reality of the earth?”
“Well, it would depend upon which one you were dispatched to,” I said. “But I promise you this, I’ll do all I can, and I think I can say without bragging that that’s quite a lot, to be sure you’re sent to a reality which is similar to this one, both in the appearance of its landscape and its people. A few realities have people who don’t look like us,” I said.
“Yeah, I’ve heard that,” she said. “And what about not growing older there?” she asked then.
“Yes, that’s a reality, pardon the pun, of life for those who experience reality crossover,” I said. “You could actually live there at the same age you are now until the end of the world, or until you died from illness, accident, or an act of violence,” I said.
“But I could also rescind that option, as Sharon has done, and begin to age there if I so chose, right?” she asked.
“You’ve got that right” I said. “And, as a word of advice, maybe that’s the course of action you’d wish to follow. Maybe you’d enjoy being a wife, and/or a professional person, as well as even a mother there someday. And just think, you’ll literally have all the time in the world there to pursue the paths of life you may wish to follow. Plus, if you find someone to love there, and if the two of you feel more comfortable growing old together rather than having you remain young, you can activate the aging option,” I said.
“You’re always trying to plan my life, aren’t you,” she said with a chuckle then. “When do I leave?”
And so, apparently I’ll soon have one less (and a large one; and large in this context refers to all the trouble Lauren has caused recently, not to her physical size!) problem here in this city. And even today I’ve been trying to work out the details of what Lauren’s new life will be. But no, I don’t think the location of her new home will be disclosed in this book.