The plot follows Adrian, a 23 year old from San Diego, as he follows the path of his older brother, a travel writer who mysteriously drowned while backpacking in Laos.
The main themes are the experience of travel, particularly in Thailand, over coming fear of death, and what it means to be a man.
Here’s an excerpt:
The sun was setting by the time I reached the guest house. I charged the toilet, gripped the sink for stability and unleashed hell. How could this much substance exist within my body? Every meal, every beer…ever? I turned on the fan and lay down on the bed as another apocalyptic cramp assaulted my guts. “Jesus Christ!” I moaned, rolling over from left to right and back, until the knot subsided. Ten minutes later, with cramps every two minutes, I unloaded another galaxy of shit into the toilet, and drenched with cold sweat, moped back and collapsed onto the cheap guesthouse bed.
It was hot enough to ripen fruit in my room, but I shivered with cold chills. Using the wall for support, I stood and passed barefoot down the hall to the lobby. “I’m sick. I’ll be resting for a few days,” I told the owner. He barely looked from his laptop and nodded.
I bought a banana and coconut water, then wincing, walked back, found a dry spot and collapsed on the bed to continue my agony. A lukewarm shower relieved the chills and I washed the sweat and grime off my body, all while shuddering, vomiting, and simultaneously blowing what little moisture I had left, out both orifices. “That’s a God damn first!” I cried down the drain.
I crawled naked back into bed, rolled in the blanket, wrapped myself like a taco, and shivered…shivered until my third eye grew dark. Visions, mind-chatter, colors, shapes and audible anomalies. I detached from my body…it just said, “enough.” I watched the ceiling fan spin, heard and felt, every whoop, whoop, whoop as it chopped the humid air. I listened to the deafening buzz of a lone mosquito, and the silence that meant it was feeding. “Feast, you fucker. You have me now.”
I started this story about four years ago, during my second trip to South East Asia. I was sitting in a $15 a night hotel room in Saigon when I finally typed out the first words. The opening scene was the main protagonist, Adrian, taking a harrowing scooter-taxi ride through the streets of Bangkok. Now I have a completed 85,000 word novel sitting on my hard drive.
The problem is, I don’t know what to do with it.
My main income is derived from my dating advice for men blog. I do have a small but loyal audience there, but I’m unsure if they will be at all interested in my coming of age, backpacking/mystery novel. Other than that I have very little social media presence.
I sent out the manuscript to a few dozen literary agents, and have failed to receive even one reply. Not even a rejection letter. I know this means I should send it to another 500 agents. But I feel like I’d be better off just publishing it myself on Amazon, writing a few blog posts promoting it, and moving on to something else.
I am very happy with the story. I don’t think it’s amateurish, and would love to believe I’m an undiscovered genius of prose. Perhaps after I’m dead, one of my books will go viral. Until then, I have to be satisfied writing for myself, the sorts of books I liked to read: philosophical, male-centric literature.
I’m not sure why men don’t read more fiction. There are so many amazing stories, written by genius. Men just seem to prefer non-fiction.
Anyhoo…back to work.