Broken Pieces

Brie McGill – Inside the Mind of the Author

Inside the Mind of the Author

by Brie McGill

Button your collar: it’s the difference between an A and a B!” said my dad.

I’m pretty sure I unbuttoned it when he wasn’t looking.

Everyone is taught to conform, and to some extent, conformity necessitates civilized life. Everybody dresses up for an interview to win a well-paying job, to buy the pretty little house with the pretty little yard. Some people can even afford a cleaning lady, and everyone generally avoids looking crazy at all costs.

The author knows that beyond the pretty little yard, inside the well-kept, pretty little house, on the second floor, from the ceiling at the end of the hall dangles a rusty pull-chain, invisible to the untrained eye. Tugging the pull-chain unveils a secret stair to an attic, full of family secrets, both forgotten and intentionally buried.

The author is the only person crazy enough to enter the attic: it is a private, dusty space, overflowing with the madness of the past.

The author opens an old trunk and pulls out a Lamborghini-red faux fur coat that belonged to Aunt Tilly. Mad Aunt Tilly drank herself to death, leaving behind seven sad cats and an eerie porcelain doll collection that put popular horror flicks to shame.

Slipping his arms into the jacket, the author scavenges deeper into the trunk, feeling his fingers lock around the cold barrel of Grandpa Martin’s gun from the war. (What kind of nutjob stores a gun inside a random trunk of memorabilia, anyway?) The author slings it over his shoulder and muses sadly how Grandpa Martin never did fully recover from the trauma he endured during the war. It was advised not to make any quick movements in his presence: cousin Dirk was still regretting that one, from six feet below the ground.

Ah, yes, Dirk’s graduation cap is buried in the bottom of the trunk, too!

Uncle Nelson owned a company that manufactured galoshes–he was a stalwart man, fond of gambling and Cuban cigars. There is a hideous pair of day-glo orange galoshes beside the trunk in the attic; trembling, the author steps into the galoshes. The old boots still reek of expensive tobacco.

Everyone has an attic packed full of similar items, similar stories. But the author clothes his work–clothes himself–head to toe in these memories, these people, these impressions, and dares to walk the streets in something crazy, like a bright red coat, graduation cap, and orange boots, toting a defunct gun.

The author’s goal is to successfully weave a story with his tapestry of memories, so that when he roams the street, strangers approach him and resonate. To hear the words, “My crazy cat lady grandma has a coat just like this!” makes him smile: the quirky, the embarrassing, the outdated, suddenly feels normal, and his bizarre costume serves as a catalyst for strangers to find common ground.

The author’s mind is like the attic, a secret place, seemingly out of view, bursting with impressions and memories that don’t match the veneer of the perfect house and the perfect yard. The author knows, deep inside, everyone that toils to survive has become out of touch with secrets and memories locked in his own attic.

The author writes to remind everyone of who they fully are, of those shadows and distant laughter echoing in the corners of the mind, of the totality, the craziness, the sorrow, the irony and the joy of the human condition.

Eccentric appearances are secondary.


Counting days is irrelevant in the life of a well-to-do man, unless he counts the days passed in total service to the Empire. Salute. Submit. Shut up and scan the wrist. Therapists armed with batons and brass knuckles guide the derelict along a well-beaten path to Glory.

When human experiment Lukian Valentin escapes the Empire to save his crumbling sanity–through a grimescape of fissured highways, collapsing factories, putrescent sewers–he realizes the fight isn’t only for his life, it’s for his mind. Torturous flashbacks from a murky past spur him on a quest for freedom, while the Empire’s elite retrievers remain at his heels, determined to bring him home for repair.

Lukian needs one doctor to remove the implanted chips from his body, and another to serve him a tall glass of answers. Lukian attempts a psychedelic salvage of his partitioned mind, gleaning fragments of the painful truth about his identity.

A scorching, clothes-ripping rendezvous with a mysterious woman offers Lukian a glimpse of his humanity, and respite from his nightmarish past. It also provides the Empire the perfect weakness to exploit for his recapture.

To rise to the challenge of protecting his new life, his freedom of thought, and his one shot at love, Lukian must reach deep into his mind to find his true identity. To defeat the Empire, he requires the deadly power of his former self–a power that threatens to consume him.

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Genre – Sci-Fi/Steamy Romance

Rating – R (18+)

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