Ode to Dead Young Friends
A Memoir by
Anthony J. Langford
The true story of four people who died too young.
A dedication to Youth.
Avita – A stunning but wild, free spirit. She is nineteen and has the world, particularly men, at her feet. Yet her desire to experiment and live on the edge is fraught with danger.
‘Life’s for fun. Live a little. ’
Andrew – A passionate country boy with fire in his blood. He loves his family and his friends and yet struggles with his emotions and his place in the world.
‘I'm not even thinking about next week. ’
Rosemary – A meek city girl just coming into her own. Some are late to the ocean, with barely a toe in, testing the waters and finally wading in, discovering how beautiful it really is, but only to be lost in a sudden wave.
‘I just… I don’t know if I can do this…’
Ryan – A confident young man with a zest for life. He is smart, well-travelled and seemingly has it all. And yet, while not as young as the others, he is still coming to terms with who is. For some people, for whatever reason, perhaps no reason at all, destiny conspires against them.
‘You do have to try and find happiness in life, wherever it is.'
Ode to Dead Young Friends
centres on the fragility of life, the bond of friendship, the rivalry’s, the intensity of emotion between friends and lovers, the misunderstanding's, insecurity's, breakdowns, the threat of violence, horrors real and imagined, learning how to manage the politics of sex, the emergence into an adult world and the devastating shock of loss.
Ode is the essence of humanity, captured in our most vulnerable time, when we are young.
(There is a long Introduction, so I will only post the first portion of it and also a snippet of Part One).
A Funeral is an odd place to begin a story. They are usually positioned towards the end, or perhaps in the middle, if at all. Anywhere but the beginning. Publishers will tell you it's professional Hari Kari to start any type of text with a funeral scene. I suppose they assume all funerals are morbid affairs. Not so. I've heard of some tumultuous celebrations, barely disguised rip roaring, drug induced orgies. A free-for-all drunken cacophony, with wine and song and pills. Perhaps I exaggerate. However, while most people believe in an afterlife of sorts, many of us are moving away from the traditional solemn and sermon based funerals. There are now 'Green' funerals, where the deceased is buried in biodegradable material and deposited in an eco-cemetery. In parts of New Orleans, they still celebrate the Jazz Funeral, complete with a jazz band as part of the celebration. There are internet funerals too. Streamed online for those who can't make the real thing. You never have to leave your loungeroom.
One in particular that I attended a few years ago was a veritable triumphant remembrance, complete with dance music and professionally edited video. This funeral, that of a dear friend, prompted me to contemplate other funerals I've been to. Even in the midst of writing this book I've had to attend one. We do expect a certain number of funerals in our lifetime. The chances are that number will increase as we get older. Yet I sometimes think that I received them in reverse order. At a young age, I experienced far too many.
Part One - Avita
Three Bedroom House with Two Others.
Own Room, Good Size.
Ring 9… ….
Avita was Hot.
A melting, heart wrenching, saliva inducing, stormy, lustful, raging, stunner. A girl that froze the speech from leaving your mouth. A girl that made you forget every normal social introductory norm including the English language. A girl that made me hard and soft at the same time. Yet she wasn't the first of the two girls I met. It was Maree who answered the door. I'll never forget that hair. There had to be an entire can of hairspray in that one do. The chemical smell almost gave me respiratory failure. I met her eyes and had to crane my head back to see the top strand. I almost cricked my neck.
I grew up in the country and had responded to an ad in the local paper. The town itself had around thirty thousand residents and I was looking for a place to live. I was seventeen and had moved out of home the year before. Part of the reason this happened at a young age, aside from the fact that I wasn’t getting along with my parents, was that they were building a house, literally on their own. They had sold their dilapidated weatherboard, (which would be demolished by the new owners) and when they had to move to their new abode, it was nowhere near complete, not one room. My parents, brother and sister had to share a tiny caravan out back, a proverbial sardine can. The small dining table had to be folded down to make the second bed. Barely room for them let alone for a fifth. It was probably a blessing to my parents as they had their hands full as it was and I had been an introverted, extroverted, disillusioned teenager. In other words, a shit. First I lived with one set of grandparents and then the other. I was running out of options.
Novel No. 4 - R.I.P. (Rest In Prime).
(2021 update: This is a very heartfelt book. Most of it is true. I'm not certain I will publish it. It needs some rewriting.
I'm intrigued.. again great opening. I love the description of the characters, including their own little snippet of how they see/fit into the world. As much as I love your poetry and short stories, it seems your novels are where I want to be. Your style seems quite a bit different to me with your long form writing and your ability for rich, descriptive, passionate and often painfully honest writing goes straight to my heart.ReplyDelete
Like Sally...I too love the character descriptions. I think most young ones could relate to one of them. Whilst I'm not young I can in some way relate to Ryan!I've read a few novels and seen a few movies that open with a funeral...it actually grabs my interest because I know the story is going to lead to something deep and thought provoking...but i wish you'd stop teasing us!..i'm dying to read more! :)ReplyDelete
Thanks for sharing your new novel.
Love the intros to the characters and their "Statement TAG" thoughts in italics.
Your intriguing introduction, snippets and lyrical style has hooked me in :))
Not only might a funeral be a good place to start a story, "A funeral is an odd place to begin a story" is a great line...ReplyDelete
Very interesting so far! Looking forward to more. Are you books available for sale?
Aristotle says: "Well begun is half done."
Like everyone has already mentioned your novel has a great beginning. I have no doubt the rest is quite likely as great. Would love to read it all.
You have a gift in putting truth in words so simply, fluently & catchingly. Thanks for sharing.. I enjoyed it!
By the way I am so Rosemary. :)
Keep it up!!
Sally - That's very kind of you. I suppose each book has its own personality or style so perhaps the writing does change. This is definitely from the heart, and very personal. I hope it speaks to people but it was always a dedication to my friends. xReplyDelete
Susan - I'm sure you're right about the funerals opening books and movies. Sorry to be a tease! lol I'd love to be in a position for offer more. Hopefully it won't take too long. I just wanted to let people know what I've done.
Karen - Thank you! The statement idea was a last minute thing but I think it works.
Pat - Cheers my friend. Unfortunately none of my books are published as yet. I'm still working it and hoping for the traditional publishing path. I'm being more proactive now and concentrating more on the business side of things, whereas before I was lost in actually writing. I was lost for quite a few years though. haha
Zakii - Thanks so much. That's a great quote and a nice way to segue into your thoughts. So you're a Rosemary huh? lol.. Well don't let life pass you by. Embrace it. We don't know how long it will last.
Thanks so much everyone. I really value your thoughts.
Glad to hear from you Anthony! A funeral is the best place to start a book. And i realy don't give a damn what people think. I learned before i was 19. Lost 6 members of my family within two weeks. What could look as an end was a begining. For me... Great job! Big Hugs!ReplyDelete
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Anthony ... Your book reads wonderfully & you've definitely got me intrigued. I am with Arielle, why not begin with a funeral! Funerals are not only a celebration of the life that has been lost but they are also a very stark reminder that we are in fact here on borrowed time & we better get going with the "LIVING" part of life!!ReplyDelete
Sounds like a powerful and emotional story that is clearly connected to you. Like others have already said it reads very well and makes me want tos read more.ReplyDelete