Seven hours had passed since an officer-involved shooting dragged Roy Hollins from his bed a little after midnight. He had driven up the mid-section of Seattle to the seedy West Industrial District along Highway 99, where “Circus of the Stars” was well underway when he’d arrived. Acting as ringmaster had been Capt. Bill Whitmore, shining the spotlight on the appropriate stages while amazing feats of speculation drew gasps from the crowd. Two clowns — one from homicide and the other from Internal Affairs — separately questioned the two patrolmen involved in the incident.
In all the hoopla, the main event was practically forgotten.
Lynda Bettington was still lying under a damp canvas blanket when Hollins began his initial walkthrough of the crime scene. As lead crime scene technician, he’d been with the department for sixteen years, the last ten of which he’d spent picking through crime scenes. He still attended every seminar he could and lectured at a few of his own. Police shootings always required his presence. He was thorough, unblinking and unbiased in his investigations.
Except for Chief Hammond and Internal Affairs, he answered to very few.
I’d like to preface this post by reminding you I was the guy who, a few posts back, was talking about how he’d realized the merits of not filling every moment of his day with projects and tasks — and the value in giving yourself permission to just “be” in the moment from time to time. So, naturally, it was during one of those reflective moments of just “being” that I calmly (and even a bit serenely) concluded: I need to finish my book.
And because I am still a recovering task-oriented work-a-holic, I decided to motivate myself by establishing self-imposed deadlines, played out publicly week after week, until it’s finished. So, starting March 4, I’ll be posting a new chapter in the final draft of my new book, No Safe Harbor, every Saturday at 9 a.m.
This is a passion project I’ve been working on since 1997. So, when you look at it that way, I HAVE been living “in the moment” and just “being” with this project for *gulp* 26 years! Now it’s time I roll up my sleeves, get back to the keyboard, turn off my Google alerts, delete Candy Crush Saga from my phone, stop being distracted by that weird discoloration on the ceiling, refrain from ordering DoorDash four times a day just because I can, not be compelled to spray Windex on any potential fungus after watching The Last of Us, and get this book done!
I’ve been talking about publishing my second book, “Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing:Pearls of writing wisdom from 16 shucking years as a columnist” since September. So guess what? That’s right!
It’s still not done.
However, please accept this week’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing as my doctor’s note. The truth is, I’ve been side-tracked by a lot of life-changing events the last few months, including moving into a new home, the latest season of The Bachelorette and the discovery of DubSmash. I’ve also been spending time visiting an old friend — a murder mystery I wrote 15 years ago.
They say for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Following that train of thought, the flip side of humor is drama. In this case, I’ve been delving into the flip side of my weekly humor column to work on “No Safe Harbor,” which has been collecting dust and patiently waiting for its final revision since I put it aside in 1999 to pursue my career as a columnist. I’ve decided the wait is finally over for this manuscript, which I’m preparing the final draft for in hopes of a mid-August debut. Continue reading This week, I’m looking for YOUR Nickel’s Worth on my book excerpt