Gerald tiptoed in a northward direction behind the blue, flowered couch across his darkened living room to the far end where the door to the baby’s room was slightly ajar so that his wife could hear if the baby issued the slightest peep which he had been doing several times a night. The baby’s nightlight which was to the left and just above the base board as Gerald entered cast a warm glow throughout the nine-foot by twelve-foot room. Sheila had decorated the room with an expensive Schumacher wall paper with sail boats on it that she had found on-line. In the dim light the boats appeared to be floating on the wall. “Appropriate,” thought Gerald wryly since he intended to float as far away as he could as soon as he said good-bye to his namesake, Gerald Junior. Sheila had insisted on naming the child after Gerald in spite of his opposition.
Junior was asleep in his crib, lying on his back in a blue flannel sack that had been given to the Flints as a baby present by a woman Gerald worked with in the law firm. A little bubble had formed at his mouth. Gerald found it both endearing and slight disgusting. He didn’t really like babies; they nauseated him.
Gerald did feel somewhat sad-looking at the baby, who he wouldn’t see grow up on a regular basis. But he was leaving. The cab was waiting outside to take him to the airport from where he would fly to Hong Kong for no better reason than it was about as far away as he could get. He just didn’t want to be tied down. He had known it as soon as the baby came home and imposed his routine on the household.
Gerald didn’t think this made him a bad guy, just human. It would have been nice if he had known it sooner, but it was what it was and he just couldn’t feel bad about it, except for the baby.
Do you want to read this hypothetical book? Probably not. It is written by someone who doesn’t trust his or her reader. You can tell by the fake author’s attempts to explain every little thing so that the reader will see things exactly as the author does. LOL with that. Just think about the people you know who try to foist their opinions on you. Don’t you just love them?
Here is an edited version:
Gerald tiptoed to the door of the baby’s room which was slightly ajar. The baby’s nightlight cast a warm glow throughout the small room and made the sail boats on the wallpaper appear to be floating. “Appropriate,” thought Gerald wryly. He had come to say good-bye to his namesake.
Gerald Junior was asleep in his crib, lying on his back in a blue flannel sack. A little bubble had formed at his mouth. Gerald found it both endearing and slightly disgusting.
A cab was waiting outside to take him to the airport for a flight half way around the world to Hong Kong. He had decided to flee and felt no remorse about it except for the baby.
You still may not want to read this book based on this passage. At least it is now shorter; it is also more ambiguous. But this gives readers a chance to evaluate for themselves what Gerald is doing, to decide for themselves if he is a schmuck or not. Readers like to participate. Arguably, firing up the imagination is what reading is all about.
It does mean that writers – particularly those who put their deepest feelings into their work – have to be prepared. It won’t be the same when the reader is done with it. But to try to make the reader see things the way you do, is to drive the reader away.