Watching West Wing on Netflix last night and my daughter didn’t realize that “CJ” (the press secretary) stood for Claudia Jean. I happen to really like the name and decided to use it for something. I started writing, it’s been a while, and I came up with what’s below. I really like the first paragraph. I do not have a working title which is very unusual for me. As usual though, I have no direction or story in my head and I did start with only a charcter name.

I had started with a male lead character, a single dad. Then I thought to myself, I’ve been meaning to write a strong female character, so I changed it. This would match the character of CJ Craig anyway, as she was quite the strong woman on West Wing.

There’s also a quote by a screen writer, I can’t remember who, Joss Whedon maybe, who when asked why he always wrote strong women characters, he replied, “because you keep asking me that question.” I keep talking to myself about writing a book that only has women characters, I need to just do it.

Below is what I started, I like it so far and, for the time being, will probably continue with it.

Hope you enjoy.


The tide rose and fell as it always had. The air was fresh with rain residue, and the sun was squeaking through the gray clouds with splashes of glittering light hitting the golden sand. It was exquisitely beautiful in its simplicity. It was a moment in time to worship mother earth. It was a moment to breathe in life. It was a moment to cry and release.

Claudia Jean Harper stood on the shore of her deceased parent’s summer home and cried until she could cry no more. They were tears of sadness. Claudia’s father had passed away when she was a young child.

Claudia Jean Harper, nicknamed CJ by her father the day she was born, had vague memories of the day her father died. She remembered coloring in the living room. She remembered it had been a rainy day which is why she was inside. She remembered a knock at the door, but mostly CJ remembered her mother screaming and falling into the policeman’s arms sobbing uncontrollably. That particular memory ran through the gardens of her mind at the most inopportune times. She felt weak when a tear escaped because of the damned memory, but in reality her strength was far deeper than she would ever know.

A drunk driver hit CJ’s father while he was crossing the street, on his way home from the pharmacy. It was just a two block walk and Oliver Harper thought it would be faster to walk than find parking on the street. Speed was of the essence as his little angel had an ear infection and was in pain. There was nothing worse than your child being in pain and the helpless feeling that ate away at the pit of your stomach.

Oliver had just left the store and noticed the traffic light on Main St. was red. Main St. would have been his usual route home, but to save even sixty seconds of time he decided to scoot through the Marsala Hardware store parking lot and cross on Broadway instead.

Nineteen-year-old Marty Babbish was driving his dilapidated 1967 fastback Ford Mustang, painted in primer gray. He had just come from Hannigan’s bar, where he had swallowed a bottle of scotch in a short amount of time. He had just lost his job and felt it was a mandatory rite of passage. Lou, the bartender, watched him stagger out of the bar onto the street. Out the window Lou watched as Marty fell twice before reaching his car across the street. Lou should have never let him leave the bar; he would regret that decision later in the day.

Marty swerved out of his parking space, side swiping a parked car as he accelerated down Broadway.  In three blocks he would be going over 90 miles per hour, and would run a red light, where Oliver Harper would be walking home with medication for his young daughter’s ear infection.

Oliver was thrown with such force that his body went through the hardware store window and knocked over a display rack of garden tools in the middle of the store. He was pronounce dead at the scene, and most likely died on impact of the windshield on his head.

Marty Babbish was released from the hospital on the day of Oliver’s funeral. He would be charged with vehicular manslaughter among other things. Lou the bartender would pay a hefty fine, get probation and lose the bar.

CJ remembered a lot of people coming to the house in the days following her father’s death. Much of it was a blur, she had only been five years old. There was a black dress, there was a lot of food, and there was a lot of crying.  Everyone kept hugging CJ and saying how sorry they were. It seemed endless, and for a five-year old it was completely overwhelming. What the adults did not understand was CJ’s frame of mind. A young mind that could not grasp the concept of death as adults did. Adults often did not think back to remember their own childhood experience’s before speaking with children.

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