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A River of Silence ny Susan Clayton-Goldner **Guest Post**
Date Published: January 24, 2018
Publisher: Tirgearr Publishing
When Detective Winston Radhauser is awakened by a call from dispatch at 12:45a.m., it can mean only one thing—something terrible awaits him. He races to the Pine Street address. In the kitchen, Caleb Bryce, nearly deaf from a childhood accident, is frantically giving CPR to 19-month-old Skyler Sterling. Less than an hour later, Skyler is dead.
The ME calls it a murder and the entire town of Ashland, Oregon is outraged. Someone must be held accountable. The police captain is under a lot of pressure and anxious to make an arrest. Despite Radhauser’s doubts about Bryce’s guilt, he is arrested and charged with first degree murder. Neither Radhauser nor Bryce’s young public defender believe he is guilty. Winston Radhauser will fight for justice, even if it means losing his job.
I suspect most if
not all writers experience self-doubt. Why am I spending so much time in front
of the computer? Do my efforts have value? What am I taking away from my family
and friends in this pursuit of the writing dream? Flannery O’Conner says that
everyone knows how to write a story, until they try to write one. Writing is
hard work. It takes discipline, time, motivation and a willingness to let go of
doubt. Any awareness of how other people will think about you or your work will
cut you off from the flow.
I’ve spent the
last week on the Florida Panhandle in Destin with my husband, niece and nephew.
I haven’t written at all (until this morning, the last day of our week here)
but I have thought about writing a great deal.Last night, after having seafood at Dewey Destin, a restaurant that is
little more than a shack that sits on a wharf jetting out into the Gulf of
Mexico, we walked to the edge of the pier. The sun was about to set and as we
stood watching it sink into the bright orange horizon, two dolphins appeared.
Facing each other, they leaped out of the water and flipped over—again and
again. Their performance was timed as perfectly as anything I’d ever seen at
Sea World. There was no reward of fish at the end of their display, no cheers
from the audience. Nothing to indicate anyone was watching. Those dolphins were
merely doing what came naturally to them—doing what they loved for no reason
except pure joy.
I think we
writers can take a lesson from those human-like creatures. If you love to
write, if you need to write, don’t worry about the rewards. The exterior ones
may or may not come. The internal rewards are there and we reap them with each
story, essay, journal entry, or poem we write. First and foremost, do it for
the joy. Write because it is in your nature to do so.
In only eleven minutes,
Detective Winston Radhauser’s world would flip on its axis and a permanent line
would be drawn—forever dividing his life into before and after. He drove toward
the Pima County Sheriff’s office in Catalina, a small town in the Sonoran
Desert just twelve miles north of Tucson. Through the CD speakers, Alabama sang
You’ve Got the Touch. He hummed along.
He was working a domestic violence case with Officer Alison
Finney, his partner for nearly seven years. They’d made the arrest—their collar
was sleeping off a binge in the back of the squad car. It was just after 10
p.m. As always, Finney wore spider earrings—tonight’s selection was a pair of
black widows he hadn’t seen before.
“You know, Finn, you’d have better luck with men if you wore
sunflowers in your earlobes.”
She laughed. “Any guy intimidated by a couple 14-carat web
spinners isn’t man enough for me.”
He never missed an opportunity to tease her. “Good thing you
like being single.”
The radio released some static.
Radhauser turned off the CD.
Dispatch announced an automobile accident on Interstate 10 near
the Orange Grove Road exit. Radhauser and Finney were too far east to respond.
Her mobile phone rang. She answered, listened for a few seconds.
“Copy that. I’ll get him there.” Finney hung up, then placed the phone back
into the charger mounted beneath the dashboard.
“Copy what?” he said. “Get who where?”
She eyed him. “Pull over. I need to drive now.”
His grip on the steering wheel tightened. “What the hell for?”
Finney turned on the flashing lights. “Trust me and do what I
The unusual snap in her voice raised a bubble of anxiety in his
chest. He pulled over and parked the patrol car on the shoulder of Sunrise
She slipped out of the passenger seat and stood by the door
waiting for him.
He jogged around the back of the cruiser.
Finney pushed him into the passenger seat. As if he were a
child, she ordered him to fasten his seatbelt, then closed the car door and
headed around the vehicle to get behind the wheel.
“Are you planning to tell me what’s going on?” he asked once
she’d settled into the driver’s seat.
About the Author
Susan Clayton-Goldner was born in New Castle, Delaware and grew up with four brothers along the banks of the Delaware River. She has been writing poems and short stories since she could hold a pencil and was so in love with writing that she was a creative writing major in college.
Prior to an early retirement which enabled her to write full time, Susan worked as the Director of Corporate Relations for University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona. It was there she met her husband, Andreas, one of the deans in the University of Arizona's Medical School. About five years after their marriage, they left Tucson to pursue their dreams in 1991--purchasing a 35-acres horse ranch in the Williams Valley in Oregon. They spent a decade there. Andy road, trained and bred Arabian horses and coached a high school equestrian team, while Susan got serious about her writing career.
Through the writing process, Susan has learned that she must be obsessed with the reinvention of self, of finding a way back to something lost, and the process of forgiveness and redemption. These are the recurrent themes in her work.