Wednesday, March 19, 2014

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO Karma or Coincidence? Countdown (Amy Ferris)

For Pete's sake, if you've read this intro already, just scroll down to Amy's breathtaking post! 

As many of you know, THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO, my second novel for young adults officially comes out March 25th from Algonquin Young Readers.

THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO tells the story of almost-16-yr-old Francesca “Beans” “Frankie” Schnell who, four years ago witnessed her baby brother, Simon, drown. Guilty and broken, Francesca has hunkered down in the shadows of her life, resolved to play second fiddle to her dead brother’s memory and to her best friend Lisette, a blonde bubbly beauty Francesca lives vicariously through. That is, until she meets a young boy named Frankie Sky who bears an uncanny resemblance to her brother. Frankie brings humor and hope to Francesca’s life, but are all the similarities between Frankie and Simon merely wishful coincidences, or could he be Simon’s reincarnation?

Curious coincidences abound in THE SUMMER OF LETTING GO not only the overlaps between Simon and Frankie Skybut also Bradley’s gift to Francesca, Bradley’s bird sighting, and the ties to the statue of  Saint Florian (sorry, you'll have to read to know what these are ;)). Midway through the story Francesca starts to think these events can’t really all just be coincidences, but maybe are “something bigger and magical at work.”

Have you ever experienced strange events that seemed like more than coincidence and made you wonder if fate was at work or that soul and or reincarnation exist?

Throughout the month, I've decided to pose that question to friends, some writers, others bearing other artistic talents, for a brief account of their own experience with karma, kismet or a mystical connection. I leave you to answer the question, “Karma or coincidence? Random or something more magical at work?” 

I hope you find these stories as intriguing and lovely as I do.

- gae

Today I have the stunning, glorious, amazing Amy Ferris (can you tell that I dig her?).

Amy is the author of the poignant and hilarious Marrying George Clooney, Confessions from a Midlife Crisis, and co-editor of Dancing at the Shame Prom, which is making its way up my must-read list so not-fast-enough.

Amy's breathtaking story completely breaks my "make it brief" rules, but there's not a sentence I could cut, so I share it with you in all its Amyesque glory.

Gary didn’t much believe in the afterlife.
He didn’t.
He wasn’t a spiritual type.
He didn't believe much in coincidences.
He played the stock market, and often described events and people in ‘market’ terms.
He believed in living in the moment, being completely and utterly true to his word, and living life fully. He was cool and sexy and rode a motorcycle, and owned a hugely successful bar (actually two) in New York City and had a bunch of young and sexy girlfriends - as in ‘gold bullion digging’ young, sexy girls - who didn’t have a clue how lucky they were that they were with him, because, well, he had a wonderful big gigantic heart. They didn’t care much about that because what they saw was the long hair, and the sexy face, and the gorgeous eyes, and the Harley Davidson that was parked outside the Bar, and of course, they saw the Bar with the cash register that went ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching, ca-ching every single minute on every single night, particularly on Friday and Saturday nights when you couldn’t even get into the Bar because it was so crowded. I asked him once, while a few young sexily clad women were draped all over him, what it felt like to be Mick Jagger, he said, “Good, real fucking good. This pays dividends.”

Gary died in a motorcycle accident. 
But before he died in a motorcycle accident, he went to the Caribbean, where his boat capsized and he was all alone, literally, in the middle of the ocean, clinging to both his life for four days, and a new found God, and it appeared that God found him, and he, Gary, said he remembered so much while his skin was literally baking in the sun: every nuance of his life flashed in front of him. He begged for forgiveness, he screamed at injustice, he wept at his horrible relationship with his parents, he was pissed at himself that he let the one girl he loved get away, he was out-loud livid that two of his close friends screwed him out of money, he was grateful that he could build a bar, and refurbish all the rooms in his gorgeous townhouse with his bare hands, he was deeply appreciative that he was generous and kind and that he truly deeply loved life. And he also, while baking in the sun, remembered that a psychic told him that he would die before he was fifty, and that in fact his death would be categorized as two fold, because he would actually “die twice.”
“What fucking bullshit. No one can die twice.”
He swore that the psychic ‘broad’ was completely nuts, “a fucking fruitcake.”

So, while he was both clinging to life and the capsized boat, he made a deal with God, to let him live just a little longer so he could make sure that he said good bye properly to all the folks he loved.

He lived just another year or so.

Big and bright sun, public domain. By Allison Breskin. 

And in that year or so he prayed every day to God, he went to church, he became a born-again, he found peace and faith, he gained weight, and met a woman who was close to his age and had some poundage, and one could even categorize her as an Earth Mother, and what was most beautiful about her was in fact her spirit and her laugh and the lines around her eyes. I told him she was the sexiest woman he had ever been with. “Yeah,” he said, “This one’s a triple AAA rating.”

And in that year or so, he managed to tell everyone he loved that he loved them all dearly and with all his heart. And a few folks who screwed him royally, he told them to rethink their lives. And a couple of the girls who draped themselves over him, he managed to tell them to stop hanging on to men, stand tall, and don’t give it away to some schmuck who has a wad of money, and no intent on ever getting married.

He was killed in a motorcycle accident. Coming home from Long Island on one of those long crazy summer weekends.

He would tell you, if he were alive, that yes, that was in fact called two fold, and the first time he died – clinging to life on a capsized boat – that in fact it was he who saved himself, but he gave all the credit to God, because he made a deal, and Gary never reneged on a deal.


  1. Shiver bumps here (or as my sweet daughter calls them "sugar bumps"). Poignant story, Amy. Thank you for sharing Gary with us.

  2. Beautiful. The way we get so completely involved in such a short story defies simple talent, moving up a notch or two to genius. Brava

  3. wowowow. you all pushed my heart right up to my throat. thank you thank you thank you! xoxoxox

  4. amy ferris. YOU. of course. your writing style is SO strong--like you.

  5. wow. An amazing story. Thank you for sharing.