It is difficult to understand the mind of a person who is so committed and certain of an ideology they will risk all to force change upon others. I have long theorized it is really not so much a commitment to an ideology as it is the power they wish to attain and using any means to attain it. To illustrate, if Germany had already adopted National Socialism as an ideology for governing, Hitler may have very well become a communist or a free market capitalist in order to attain power.
Are there true believers in rebellious movements? Obviously, yes. In one sense an admirable quality, however, in another, dangerous. Every movement or ideology becomes corrupt—period.
This is where my first novel, Ice Too Thin, takes the reader. It is a story about a deeply committed man who finds himself with sudden power and does not know how to handle or enforce it. That is the antagonist, Captain Jay, of the novel. For those old enough to remember or a fan of the old TV series MASH, every line I wrote about Captain Jay, Colonel Flagg was in my head.
The protagonists standing in opposition to Captain Jay is a local man, a quintessential unlikely and unassuming leader. He organizes the town’s men to revolt against Captain Jay and his men. However, the coup d’etat against Captain Jay is not a blow from Bob Crandell and his men, but an even less assuming old man, Ole Man Brown.
In every story there lies a subtext. In every life, there is a subtext. It is a little thing that somehow works it’s way to the forefront of our lives from time to time and we can never quite put our finger on it. Some dismiss such things while others seek the help of a professional. I liken it to two city limits sign on the same post. Impossible, because a city exists between each sign, we just don’t know what the city looks like or what goes on there. Once a person accepts a city exists, he is obliged to step in. Normally, what is found is something that could not be processed at the time it occurred. It waits, as it were, for the right time. There is that sort of hidden element to this novel.
This book started to be written nearly 20 years ago. It started with no plot nor idea for a story. It was only to be about an isolated community. It started with only a single sentence; “Darkness covered the town as if by the stroke of a painter’s brush.”
Until long after the novel was complete I had no idea who its protagonist was. What is meant, who if anyone, did I have in mind when writing about him. For a writer, once that is discovered, it tells you something about yourself. It came to me when I was writing the About page on my site. It was Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. Almost in every detail, it was him. Two children, the younger a girl, and the older a boy. My Atticus’ wife is still living. He is a lawyer. As I wrote the actions and words of the protagonists, Bob Crandell, the movie version of Atticus Finch, played by Gregory Peck, was not in my mind. Peck came off as arrogant, aloof, and overly confident. Bob Crandell has seldom stepped before a judge or jury; he handles wills, estates, and civil disputes. He’s more like Henry Fonda; he’d rather wear a smile than a suit.
The prologue of Ice Too Thin simply reads, “Welcome to the small town of Lonely Plains. It is located in the northern plains. The year is 1981. Nothing much happens here.”
Those words, though, I thought about for a long time; they came to me quite quickly and naturally. It begs the question, why should anyone want to read further? It is much like the line from Naked Gun when Leslie Nielson’s policeman character tells everyone watching a building explode and people running from it in terror, “Move on folks, there’s nothing to see here.” When somebody says that, you can be certain there is something to see.
Ever wanted to visit a small town for just a weekend or so? A place where the folks are mindful and polite to others. They are in many ways isolated from the hubbub of the crazy world that exists beyond them. Their lives are simple and purposeful. It’s a good place to visit; it is towns I either lived in or near. I invite you to visit such a place by purchasing Ice Too Thin for yourself or a friend.
It is available digitally (Kindle) or in paperback.