Susan’s Inside Writing: Tease


My friend Alice Audrey used Trevor’s Song as her Tuesday Teaser this week. The Teaser is a meme where you post a few lines from the book you’re reading — or, in Alice’s case, have finished but want to spotlight. Alice has been kind enough to feature me twice. (here’s the link to the original one.)
Interestingly, my friend Shaunie did the same thing, back in October. Twice, even.

Yesterday’s teaser from Alice was one of my favorites — and given how many favorites I have in that book (like both of the ones Shaunie picked. And Alice’s first. And…), it’s not surprising. It’s from page 147 in her edition (it’s on like 199 or 213 in my print copies; weird.), and it’s the part where Trevor is saying things don’t bother him. His sarcasm (I hope) drips off the page. So does his pain.

Because it was taken out of context, one person who left a comment said, ” I wonder if he’s the silent suffering type… maybe the music is where he vents out his frustrations.”

Alice initially laughed, then became intrigued by the question.

So allow me to answer it. Since I am, after all, the creator of the indomitable Trevor Wolff.

If Trevor were Mitchell, sure, he’d communicate through his music. Mitchell does it constantly. If you listen closely enough, he speaks through his music. Thankfully, Kerri is quite good at hearing what he’s saying. But… who better to understand a man than his own wife?

Trevor, though… Trevor’s a horrible musician. He’s also not terribly great at communication. After all, he grew up in a household of fear. He grew up needing to hide certain things from the world, and wishing he could hide other things — the perpetual black eyes, the broken noses. Those sorts of things spoke for him, and they aren’t exactly the sort of thing most people want to be around.

In short, if Trevor weren’t so charismatic, he’d be a loser. His only talent is for getting away with things the rest of us can’t. He stirs the pot, and he does it well. He can bluff his way through almost anything… until you hand him a bass guitar.

In my fictional world, it’s a well-kept secret that Mitchell is actually the guy playing bass on the band’s music. Even Trevor doesn’t fully grasp the full extent of Mitchell’s late-night replacement sessions, and Trevor’s a pretty perceptive guy — even when, like in the teaser Alice posted, he’s pretending not to be.

In the comment trail, Alice said something else that intrigued me. She said, “The kinds of things that bother Trevor would terrify the rest of us. Not that he’s some big bad vampire or SEAL or anything. Just that his perspective on life is filtered through a different lens.”

It’s that first sentence that gets me. The things that bother Trevor would terrify the rest of us.

This is hard for me to comment on. I’ve never had to face most of the things Trevor has to. Some of it is terrifying when I think about it, yes. But when I’ve been in the moment, holding my breath over a diagnosis or watching a door be closed and arms folded over a chest, there hasn’t been time to be terrified. Only to deal with what’s being laid at my feet as calmly and coolly as possible. There’s no room for terror and then later, when you look back and reflect, you realize how stupid it is to get terrified now, when things are over and done with.

That’s Trevor. I guess it’s also me.

At any rate, Alice has picked up on this approach Trevor and I share. In some ways, because we met via our blogs and because she’s read all I’ve made public that features Trevor, she knows him as well as anyone and I shouldn’t be surprised by her insights.

Yet, I am.

Maybe this is a writer thing. We face so many rejections, so many reviews where the reader misses points that we (and our beta readers and the others who help bring our books to live) thought were obvious. In a sense, we are continually set up for not only rejection, but complete miscommunication. We expect that slap-down, the negativity.

Thus, someone who gets it so utterly is cause for celebration. And that’s what I’m doing here. Celebrating, and hoping you’ll join me. Alice gets Trevor. I know a lot of you regulars do.

Those of you who’ve been supporting this year’s Musical Hanukkah Celebration get a huge vote of thanks from me. It’s been a crummy two months, as I said in an earlier post. I haven’t been able to shout about this from the rooftops the way I’d intended.

However, many of you have done it for me. You’ve helped with Tweets over on Twitter. You’ve shown me new ways to expand my audience. You’ve pointed out places I can devote some time that’ll pay off for me nicely. You’ve made posts on your own blogs, on Facebook… you’ve donated directly to the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, and you’ve given gifts of my three books — to yourselves and to friends.

You’re not only helping me, you’re helping other kids, who may grow up to be like Trevor. Only, hopefully, they’ll be better musicians.

(PS — you still here? Stay tuned for some final fiction from the Musical Hanukkah Celebration. And a new game in the new year that’ll help us all meet some fun new people. I hope you’ll plan to play along!)



  1. Alice Audrey

    December 22, 2010 11:49 pm

    You do realize I’m not done with my little feature thing, right?

  2. Alice Audrey

    December 22, 2010 11:50 pm

    Hey! My comment is here! I didn’t get filtered. Yay!

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