Barry Grills:


Back then, that summer, we called ourselves The Skeleton Club. There were four of us, each of us points of a compass, different but the same. We were eleven years old and going into Grade Six, and there was something tenuous about our relationship, as if different and same argued gently inside us for sole proprietorship of our souls. It was the summer of our lives when we knew for the first time that we were beings on the move and there is a powerful force in the world called change . . . .

Remembering my manners, I stop reading and glance up from the manuscript, tucking it back into its envelope. Your young widow, Melanie, watches me, and I find myself wondering what she must think of you and me, of our cloudy ancient history. She has given me this manuscript of your story at your grave site, of all places, at the junction where the present comes to a screeching halt at the stop sign of the future.    
The Last Light Spoken - novel

A couple of days before Calvin Landry left the United States for Canada, he drove into the California desert with his girlfriend to make love to her one more time, and to explain why he was leaving home. Death Valley, he said, seemed the perfect place to announce, at sixty-seven years of age, that he was starting over. It was October, 1969. The sixties were closing down. Woodstock had come and gone. Calvin’s only grandson, Ian, was already in Canada where he had fled to avoid the draft. To Calvin, important times were ending and new passages lay ahead. He felt young and he felt old, shiny and new, yet tarnished and vaguely decayed.
Infamy - novel

Sometimes, Jan, I want to tell the world how much I’m in love with you. Then again, maybe it’s not the world I want to tell. No, maybe it’s you I believe should know. I want to write it down, I guess, as if this will help explain it. And after I’ve written it down, I want to give it to you as a story. My love for you as a story. What happened to us – what continues to happen – as a story.You and I give new meaning to the concept of star-crossed lovers. Talk about two tiny ships meeting in the middle of the deep, dark night, when we probably should have sailed right by one another, happily lost in the foggy depths of conventional life. Without touching. Without touching the way we did. Too late now for that, I guess.
I And You, And Me And Her - novel

The gray wolf moves southwest, downwards out of higher country. It is morning and the sun drifts over a horizon to the left rear of his shoulder, reaching him in tiny slivers refracted by distant Rocky Mountain peaks and stands of white and black spruce or jackpine. A few days ago, the wolf’s large feet traversed miles of open alpine tundra where he caught and ate deer mice and jumping mice, before lucking upon a marmot. This morning, though, his paws whisper over deep carpets of fallen coniferous needles now brown, rust or golden, as he works his way in a southerly direction.
The Pack - novel

Wednesday, May 1
First writing. Let’s see. The prodigal son has returned home to find everyone gone. Even the ghosts. It’s just an empty cottage, hardly more than the occasional echo or creak, a cabal of lethargic shadows, a chill in the rooms the heat from the wood stove hasn’t infiltrated yet. I expected to be alone, except for the ghosts of course. Maybe they’re not coming, although it’s awfully early to tell. I thought I’d be excited in a subdued way, looking forward with enthusiasm to the months lying ahead. Instead, I feel irritable and lost, confused my enthusiasm has disappeared now that this self-imposed exile, planned for so long, is finally underway. It’s disappointing. I assumed I’d be in a better mood, feel crisp and expansive with so many beginnings ahead of me.

An Ecstasy - novel

The best nights on the Liberty Freeway are when the moon is full, when the moon rises over the freeway frenzy and claws its way into the black soup of the waiting sky. Then everything is perfect. Then you begin to believe you’ve found your necessary home inside the community of space and time – inside the labyrinthian black of night – even inside the hopeless ethos of some universally hopeless purpose you’re too busy to challenge or recognize.
Roadkill - novel


The trouble with you, Peter, is you think destiny is our friend, that fate is on our side, that it will ultimately give us what we want. But I know better. Destiny is perfidious. It seduces us, for the most part, when we choose to be alone, when we step outside the boundaries of the world where we belong. As a psychiatrist I am paid very well to know this essential truth. But this knowledge of what can betray us is more than just my business. It’s what keeps me safe from harm. It’s what keeps me from taking the path that you, Peter, may have already selected through a careless emotional indifference.
Too Late The Hunter - novel

See Nebula 19 for a longer version of Beginnings:

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