Author of Genetically Privileged & Genetically Conflicted
A. W. Daniels
A. W. Daniels Why I Write – My Writing Journey Most young are in a hurry to mature. As innocence is considered too demure. This virtue is replaced, With far too much haste. Is ambition such a strong paramour? I had finished my first year of college when I took a summer job in a sales position. I wasn’t sure why a sales job interested me since my studies were focused on a degree in biology, but I figured it would allow me to travel and experience that which a young man should. The lights of Las Vegas, the tastes of New Orleans appealed to my senses but I often found myself in a hotel room working on an expired English Lit assignment. Our class was to write a short story that was to be a sequel of a classic work. I chose The Catcher in the Rye, even though it seemed too obvious that a young adult male might find the novel appealing. My mind was spinning with the speculations of how Master Caulfield’s adult persona would develop. The options were limitless! As the summer ended I began thinking about returning to school. That was until I saw my bonus check from the sales job. It was worth far too much for any nineteen year-old at that time of his life to resist! Perhaps I would maintain this endeavor for a while. After all, I could always continue my studies the next semester and make enough money in the meantime to cover the holidays and tuition. I always questioned why I had even a modicum of success in sales. My personality seemed contrary to my business peers and associates. They were classic type-A individuals with a keen sense for financial bloodletting. They could smell a potential customer a mile away and spot his or her Achilles heel before the victim’s perspiration dissipated from the soon to be entangling handshake. Perhaps it was my quickness with numbers? I mean, it wasn’t that difficult to use dozens as multipliers. I could exact totals before the customer’s blood hit the floor, much to the pleasure of my superiors. Or was it the detail with which I followed through for my now anemic distributors. They appreciated the fact that I didn’t hesitate to do their work, and it only served my purpose of moving merchandise down the supply chain. So I continued in the profession, telling myself that I would remain tethered to scholastics by continuing to work on my sequel to Salinger’s controversial novel. Of which the first draft was completed in due time. I felt exhilarated!
I was so impressed with myself that I showed the work to a young lady I’d just begun seeing. She liked the fact that I had actually displayed the initiative to write a novel. And when I say she liked it, let me emphasize, she really liked it. But something funny happened shortly thereafter. She read the untitled work. She didn’t answer or return my calls. Maybe, since it was a first draft, the punctuation offended her? Were the margins not set correctly? I’m not sure. It couldn’t have been Holden Caulfield’s Oedipal proclivity since that was directed towards his father’s second wife. They weren’t even blood related! To this day I remember holding the tainted manuscript in my hand as I prepared to move from the apartment to a newer, nicer part of town. I’d heard there was little more than a snowball’s chance of getting one’s deposit back from my landlord from the transient neighbors adjacent to my unit, so I took one last look at the sweat stained papers and tossed them in the pile of garbage I was leaving behind on the living room floor.
I always felt Holden Caulfield would find such a burial fitting.
Life continued its winding path. Trust continued to grow between my customers and work associates. They knew that even though I might be socially deficient the quality of work and the reliability of my assets, warranted continued business together. The job grew, as did my family. The responsibilities for my immediate kin demanded that I focus on their care and well-being by bringing home financial sustenance. At least in my mind. But I couldn’t keep myself from writing in to a newspaper column to retort, or satirize a comment I found inane or distasteful. Some were even printed with several offering at least a temporary spot in the local circular, to the pleasure, or chagrin of their readership. It was in Canada on a sales trip that my writing paramour reared her lovely head. I was reading an article about genetics and how the day of “designer babies” was soon coming to fruition. Was it the science or the writing aspect of the article that planted this seed of script in my thoughts? A year went by as a story took root. The social aspect of a genetically modified child continued to grow. What abilities could be scientifically borne into a human? What would society think of such an engineered being? What would the child think of a society that was populated by humans inferior to his or herself?
The storyline grew. The plots developed. The characters demanded names! I found myself sitting at my laptop for hours on end as the story, already developed in my head, spewed onto the pages. The first draft was rough, very rough, but I stood up and felt the exhilaration from decades past. But I didn’t like the title. Two Test Tubes just wasn’t the right name so I immediately began editing the chapter from which the book was named. A recurring phrase caught my eye during the edit. I thought about it overnight as pages turned relentlessly in my sleep. I woke up the next morning quite relaxed as it was during the holiday season. I knew no one from work would bother me today as I poured a cup of my newly acquired caffeine habit. I sat down in front of my computer and erased the old title. I typed out the new title confidently. “Genetically Privileged” was born. As I began editing that morning the thoughts in the back of my mind moved towards consciousness. The sequel, “Genetically Conflicted” had been consummated.