Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Getting Over Agnes

I just ended a six month love affair with an older woman. It had all the emotional entanglement, breathless energy and exaggerated freedom of a real affair. A writer’s imagination can sometimes work that way.

The affair began innocently enough (don’t they all?) when I started reminiscing about my first real job after finishing college. Before that, came two years in the Army, finally graduating from college, a hiatus to Europe to find myself and finally, a modest retreat back to Minnesota. It was time to curtail my wandering and wondering and get a real job.

I saw an ad in the Minnesota Daily (the student newspaper) for a job opening with the Minnesota Department of Public Health. It was on the University of Minnesota campus, just a half mile from my two-story hovel on University Avenue. The job was for a staff writer to create articles for their newsletter, write press releases and other sundry writing assignments.  To be honest, I think it was the close distance to my pad that drew me to the job.

It was there that I first met Glady. Like every cliché you’ve probably heard before, there was something about her that caught my attention. She was older than me, dressed like a mid-thirties plain-Jane and expressed little that was remarkable about her presence, stance or demeanor. Yet we immediately connected on some strange yet strong level.

She reminded me of my old English Professor back at St. Thomas College who seemed to sense a hunger in me for writing. He was very encouraging and challenged me to pursue my dream of becoming a writer. Cool guy, he was. She reacted the same way about my writing.

A while back, I wrote a blog about Glady and that seemed to kick-start something in my brain. That’s what happens when there’s a temporary vacuum in my head between writing projects. I began to imagine what would have happened if Glady and I had had a love affair. In reality, there was never anything between us other than a few casual conversations and general gossip about the office.

At the time, I was dating a Hispanic woman and if Glady had taken an interest in me, I probably would have been too daft to even notice it. Truth be told, I had Susan on my mind.

At about the same time I was imagining Glady and me intertwined someplace romantic, ‘Vella’ appeared in the form of an e-mail notice from Amazon. The technology giant had just come out with their new Vella platform which offered short stories, novellas and novels in serialized form. They invited me to submit some of my works to their platform. That invitation, along with my own rampant onslaught of images crowding my brain, was enough motivation to initiate my romance with Glady…in fictionalized serial form, of course.

I knew if I was going to write about that period in my life and the people who inhabited it, I would have to be careful not use the real names of the people involved. So Glady became Agnes, her gal-pal at work had a name change and our boss, the same. Then I was off to the proverbial (writing) races.

But in order for this affair to work, I had to fall in love with Agnes in my head as well as my imagination; hence my writing became a very visceral love affair. If it was to be real in my mind and therefore (I hoped) in the minds of my readers, I had to feel the emotions my protagonist (me) and Agnes were feeling. Our arguments, deep discussions, love-making and ultimately our conclusion had to be real to my inner soul as my finger-tips tapped out our love story.

The premise for the story is simple enough. What happens when an immature twenty-five year old kid meets and falls hard for a mature thirty-five year old woman? I know opposites attract (50 years and counting for me) but I had to ask myself what else might have attracted this kid to this mature woman and vice-versa. That was the journey my protagonist (and me, in my mind) had to take to make it real and ultimately painfully true.

As a famous song lyrics goes: ‘It was sad and complete…’ and I wouldn’t have had it any other way. The affair lasted barely six months and then it was over. I wept in my mind for the loss I felt. It was real and emotional and impactful….like most love affairs. Now it’s time to see if my readers agree.

The way Vella works is simple enough. The first three chapters of any story on Vella is free. After that, beginning with Chapter Four, there is a charge in the form of tokens to read each subsequent chapter. Tokens can be purchased on the Vella platform and there are directions for quantities purchased.

I have posted the first three chapters of my story ‘Agnes, Memories of First Love’ below:

Link to ‘Agnes’ on Vella platform

‘Agnes, Memories of First Love’ is my first attempt at writing a serialized novella for this new Vella platform. I’ve already got several more storylines in outline form if this one takes off.

Falling in love with Agnes was both a satisfying and yet very bittersweet experience. We shared a lot of good times and sad ones too. We both grew and matured as a result and were the better for it.

In the end, it was one of those life journeys that one must take to feel the joy and pain of living when sharing intimacies with another person. It’s a journey I hope my readers will enjoy with the same intensity that I did sharing it with them.

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