Review: Tourmaline by Antwan Crump

Tourmaline:(A Collection of Things)- is the debut body of work by author Antwan Crump. Framed by testimonies to the absurdities of society at large, the four stories therein place readers at the penultimate point in the lives of several people forgotten by time.

This description does not do this book justice. It’s rather vague. But let me give you something that will:

She feared retribution enough to keep her nose clean on Sundays. Though that didn’t mean much for her liver.

We are all the sum total of the stories we tell ourselves. We are what we consistently do. All those habits, rituals, and vices. We are more what we fear than what we love.

The stories in Tourmaline teach us one thing: to be alive is a rather cynical business. Double standards and whatnot. The inherent absurdity of this is detailed by the erratic behavior of the characters. Simply put, the act of being alive has no purpose other than the one we give it. And we can give it any meaning we want, even though, looked at by more rational beings, we’re way beyond redemption.

There are no fairy tales here, just people and what people do best.

What do people do best you ask?

Stories, of course. The stories they tell themselves and anyone who’s willing to listen as to why they’re like this or like that. The stories they tell themselves over and over again in order to fall asleep or find a bit of hope.

At this age, I wouldn’t consider myself a runaway. A coward, maybe. I’ve lost enough. I’m not sure what awaits me out there on the country-side. I shudder to think it could be anything worse than what I’m leaving behind.

You can find Tourmaline on Amazon here. Give it a try. At $2.99, it’s well worth.

***

Antwan Crump is a Novelist, Essayist, Humorist, Blogger, and Podcaster who can be found and contacted at atcrump.com.

 

Advertisements

The Blank Page

blankYou know what’s the one thing I find to be fascinating and terrifying at the same time?

A blank page. Just empty. No words, nothing.

It’s the scariest thing… because that page doesn’t care who you are or what you wrote, doesn’t care how many people are waiting to read your words… it just stays empty until you write something. Continue reading

Jazz: New edition. (Kind of) a sequel coming soon…

23rd of July, 2012. The day I released Jazz.

Inspired by the beautiful artwork you see at the top of this post, I wrote what would soon become my best selling novel. It was one of my last stories written in a true romantic fashion. My own way of saying that love does conquer all, even if the world seems to want nothing but to crush it. Hope and cynicism fighting over the ability to dictate one’s reality.

I wrote it because of a woman, I wrote it for a woman to read it, and I wrote it because, right then and there, there was nothing else for me to do.

And now, almost five years later, a new, improved edition is released. With a new cover for the e-book edition.

 

A heartbreaking portrayal of ambition, treachery, and deception, Jazz tells the story of Chris Sommers, a young aspiring writer from New York, who travels to Paris in the hopes of meeting Amber, a mysterious and beautiful woman he has always been irresistibly drawn to.

Chris is soon thrust into a world where everyone seems to be playing a dangerous and corrupt game. Anything is permissible, and even secrets that have been locked away inside the most hidden drawers of the soul will slowly resurface.

***

Here’s what folks had to say about it:

This beautifully haunted story is truly exceptional, and a must read for any reader who craves a tale centered around pure, human emotion described in such great detail that you feel it down to your very core.

***

Jazz was hard for me to put down. I liked the ending and the relationship between the main character and his dream girl. I love how this book feels like it has its own personality.

***

Cristian Mihai has a certain style and tone to his writing that is utterly irresistible.

***

We find ourselves falling in love with Cristian’s rich imagery as he leads us through the novel wanting, hoping for the happy ending, but, as in every jazz song there always seems to be a beautiful melancholy attached to every note, making the beautiful, but finite end of his novels somehow okay.

***

Jazz is available on all Amazon’s stores as an e-book and paperback. You can find it here.

Love is the story of Chris Packlem, a man who has always aspired to rule the world, always playing the game of life by the rule of “all or nothing.” A proper gambler, Chris is soon confronted with the consequences of his own decisions. Having been guilty of the sin of ambitious men, he has to find a way to regain his freedom, while battling with his own inner demons and a past that keeps coming back to haunt him.

***

They say courage is not only one of the most important of virtues, or the most important, but it’s every single virtue we possess at their breaking point. You can’t be kind if you’re not brave enough to be kind to those who least deserve it. You can’t be ambitious if you’re not brave enough to fight for what you want even when it seems that the entire universe is conspiring against you. You can’t love someone if you’re not brave enough to fight off the impulse to jump ship.

You can’t be anything in this world unless you’re brave.

Alice once told me that I was brave, even though I didn’t seem to be.

When she said those words all I could think about was that I was afraid of so many things: of dogs and spiders, of heights, of planes, of losing her. I was afraid I was never going to become who I’ve always dreamed of becoming. I was afraid the magic between us would disappear. I was afraid of making Jerry angry and getting fired.

I was afraid that one day she’d decide that I wasn’t good enough for her…

And yet I looked her in the eyes, smiled, and decided to be brave.

***

The main living room resembles an abandoned lair. The sunset is filtering its agony through the high windows, painting trembling arrows of orange light on the marble floor. Out of every corner of the room, shy, ash-colored shadows slowly push forward.

In the center of the room, holding a brush in his right hand, William’s standing still, some distance away from an easel. He’s barely breathing. Waves of color bleed from the freshly painted canvas. He scratches his cheek and sighs. Behind him, his shadow quivers like a ghost.

He takes a few steps back from the easel. He closes his eyes and places his fingers over his eyelids, as if trying to imprison inside his brain the gracious forms his mastery had created. He hesitates before opening them, as if he fears the dream is going to disappear under the weight of the room. But as he slowly opens his eyes he can see that the dream is still there, on the canvas, reflecting the fading gold of the dying sun. “I think this is my best work yet,” he says with a low voice.

I walk over to him. “You always say that.”

William furrows his eyebrows. His eyes burning with excitement, he nods and says, “Because it’s always true.”

“Maybe you’re right,” I say as I look at the painting, colors still fresh. A beautiful woman, dressed as a bride, is sitting in front of a piano, her chin resting on her arm. She’s staring contemptuously out the window at a velvety, starless night. It takes me a couple of seconds to realize that it’s actually my piano, my living room. This living room. “Who is she?”

“Amber,” William says.

“Doesn’t look like her.”

William stares at the portrait, sighs pathetically. “I can’t remember how she looks like anymore.”

“You said you’d stop,” I say. “You said that the moment you wouldn’t be able to remember how she looks like-”

“She was my last impossible love,” William interrupts me.

“What’s that got to do with anything?”

“It’s everything,” William takes another look at the painting. “It kept me alive all these years.” He walks around the room. “Isn’t that what we all want?” he asks, his finger hovering toward the canvas. “To hope that somehow our actions will be able to change the past.”

“You’re not making any sense.”

William turns around to face me. “Okay, then. We hope that it’s never too late to get what we want most.”

“And Amber’s what you want most in the world.”

William shakes his head. “I can’t remember how she looks like. You’ve said it yourself. This is not Amber anymore,” he says pointing at the painting on the easel. “If I can’t remember how she looks like, how she talks, how she smells, then how is she supposed to be what I want most in the world?”

I shrug.

“I don’t know what I want…”

“We rarely do.”

William laughs. “You’re funny. You know what you want. You always knew. And you always wanted it.”

I glance back at him.

“No, not money,” William says. “That’s not what you always wished for.”

“You know what I’ve always wanted?”

“Of course. I could see it in your eyes when we first met. I can see it now.”

“Really?” I laugh. “And what is that?”

William walks over to the portrait on the easel, runs his index finger across the frame. “Love. That’s all you want. And that’s the only thing you never got… it’s burning you, this desire to be loved, to be genuinely loved by someone. Not for what you have, but for who you are. And you think that by acquiring everything else in the world you’ll somehow manage to fill this void, this strange emptiness you feel creeping inside your soul in your loneliest of nights.”

“It seems you know more about me than -”

“You never even tried.”

“Try what?”

“To say it out loud. To admit that this is what you want most.” He takes out his pack of smokes. “That’s why you bought this painting. That’s why you bought all the portraits of Amber I ever made.” He lights a cigarette. “They’re all reminders… that some people actually had what you never deemed yourself worthy to have.”

“I have to admit. It’s a nice theory.”

“It’s not a theory. It’s the truth. You just can’t accept it, because love, true love, can’t be bought.”

“Ironic, isn’t it?”

“You’re rich enough to have everything, except the one thing you want most.”

“Maybe we’re all rich enough for that,” I say.

“Spoken like a realist.”

“Only the weak can afford to be idealists.”

“Then we’re both weak.”

***

This title will be auto-delivered to your Kindle on May 15, 2017.

Available for pre-order on all Amazon.com e-stores. You can find it here.

The Struggle

struggleIn an essay about Kafka, David Foster Wallace wrote the following words, “the horrific struggle to establish a human self results in a self whose humanity is inseparable from that horrific struggle. […] our endless and impossible journey toward home is in fact our home.”

Now, he was talking about Kafka’s works, but I think that phrase pretty much sums up what life is all about. Continue reading

Why failing is (kind of) a good thing

failingThey say you can’t beat a man who doesn’t give up.

The first piece of writing I ever wrote was rubbish. And I kept on adding more rubbish. Then I wrote something else. And then someone said I was a retard. And I wanted to prove them wrong.

I’ve failed time and time again. In all aspects of life.

The first novel I self-published sold 4 copies in 4 months. It got a single 2 star review on Goodreads, and then I unpublished the damn thing.

And yet I didn’t give up.

Continue reading

More than words

Sometimes I want to write something beautiful, something meant to inspire. And this burning hunger grows inside me, consumes me to the point that I can’t write anymore. And it all feels pointless. It seems as if I will never be able to write more than just words, more than a nice story.

After all, writers are also readers. And all the stories that left a mark on us appear to be much more than just words. More than simple stories, they’re the fuel that ignites what’s most human in us, the engine that has driven mankind towards greatness. Continue reading

Honesty

Everything I write acts as a sort of personal metaphor; I try to add a bit of myself in each and everyone of my stories. It’s probably the easiest way to add realism to a fictional world. And furthermore, I’m the one person I know best in the world, so to speak.

But it wasn’t always like that. Continue reading