When you were in grade school did you have a best friend? Were you close enough to be twins? Did you fight for toys, attention, and then later for love? Did you flirt with danger, court high adventure, set out together on the path less traveled? Do you remember the games you played, the secrets you shared, the long days of summer that stretched up the rocky cliff of adolescence and into the freefall of adulthood? Is this how you drifted apart? Natalie R. Vice’s debut novel ’76 Bridges charts the double-helix friendship of Jorga and Regina, two girls born on two different corners of the globe, find each other in the Ozark Mountains, survive together the turbulent decade of the 1970’s, only to be separated by their divergent ambitions. This is a novel for anyone who has ever wondered, what happened to that friend I used to love, and then wondered, what happened to that person I used to be? The answer lies waiting on the bridge that brings them back together, the bridge that connects their past with their future-- that short disappearing bridge named –Now.
Remember the first Christmas present you got from a boyfriend? Or, in the case that you're a guy reading this book, from a girlfriend? That first Christmas present is kind of like that first kiss...it's something you never forget. The boyfriend may change, and other presents may come and go, but you always remember.... In Regina's case, it would be a present that would stay with her throughout her adult life.
Just when you think you have everything under control, life is your oyster - fate has different plans. What happens when you're young, bright, and moving forward at the speed of light and it's turned upside down by tragedy? This is about to be one of those situations for Jorja....
As I began to write this chapter of their lives, I thought about all the decisions we begin to make as we become adults...at 17 and 18, we rarely are prepared to realize the enormous impact of those decisions....neither where Jorja and Regina.
Do you remember one of these moments? A moment when a young mind collides with an unforgettable event? It is just such a summer for Jorja and Regina. I've had summers like this; when I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and fate extended an olive branch. I wanted to remind readers of their own "aha" moments; their moments in their youth, when everything seemed to be perfect with the world, and your best friend was your accomplice, your "band of brothers" confidante and adventure was around every bend!
As I wrote about their reunion, I thought about what it might be like for two old friends to meet after so many years - how would they overcome their individual differences? How would they share all the different life experiences? What subtle changes would they notice about each other? Regina begins in the excerpt to notice that not everything about Jorja has changed over the years - and that other things most surely have!
As I put together the last year they were together as Seniors, I was reminded of my own last year of High School, and can't really believe that all these years have passed... I thought it would be nice to begin this chapter with reflections on the things that were so important then: music, Saturday Night Live, and the feeling that the world was a blank canvas - waiting for my picture to be painted, my story to be told!
I don't think there's one person who hasn't experienced a moment so life-altering, that it's remembered throughout their life. This excerpt is one of those moments for Regina. It is a time of tremendous change for her, not only has a teenager, but as a friend. The future has presented her with obstacles and change that she never anticipated. For the last 4 years, she's faced many of these changes with her best friend. Now, she's bidding goodbye to the closest thing she's ever known as a sibling, Jorja Felsenthal.
How do you bridge the distance of almost four decades of separation? What does it take to find a treasure you lost so long ago? When is it possible to recapture your youth? There’s nothing like adventure and adrenaline to speed the answers to the most philosophical of life's questions while you try really hard to explain the most obvious question: Why are you even trying?
Throughout this book, I've tried to walk a tight rope - trying to point out the differences between two once great friends, without completely shredding any hope for finding that great friendship again. This passage is just one example of how little differences can become moments of huge discord, or they can become an opportunity to revisit the ties that bind....exactly how does this one end?
When I decided to include this section of the chapter I was thinking of my relationship with my mom. How often are we simply too busy to accommodate a parent's wish? The irony here, is that once the opportunity is gone, we so long for a "do over". Moms and dads and memory lane are our chance at making new memories. Something for us to hold onto as life continues to roll on by, and then suddenly all we have are those memories.
If you're reading this, have a life filled with responsibilities, and are no longer 25, chances are you've asked yourself this same question: When does it slow down? When do the demands cease to outweigh the down time? I know I certainly have... I'm just glad I don't have to trade places with Jorja!
As I wrote this passage, I felt that there were a lot of readers that could identify with this type of relationship. I mean, haven't we all experienced a one-sided relationship at one time or another? One where you feel like you're always the giver, and never the taker? What do you do with a situation like that? Maybe Regina will find her answer...
As I wrote this chapter of the book, it seemed fitting that Max and Maxine should be quite the conspiracy theorists. I mean, after all, they're already the rebellious left-over hippies of the 60's. Why not be conspiracy theorists too? What a clash of beliefs between characters! This should turn out to be quite the interesting situation!
No story would be complete without the inclusion of that one "crazy" couple...you know the ones...you've either got parents, or aunts and uncles that fit this description. They're the notorious rebels, the extreme "fashionistas", the only ones in the room that look as though they should be on a movie set somewhere..not a family reunion. Meet Max and Maxine. Hippies leftover from the earliest days of the movement; their views on freedom, regulation and government intervention should amuse even the most cynical observer. They do manage to give Jorja Felsenthal a moment of pause....
Have you experienced this moment? A moment where you seriously considered "why" you are even trying to be a friend? I have, and after some soul searching, discovered the answer was more complicated than simply, "we've known each other forever". There are as many answers to this question as there are friendships. What's yours?
Ever spent time with a friend, had a blast, and then suddenly realized you were comparing your life to their's? Jorja and Regina are no different. As they reflect and look at the other's life, it all seems so much more fulfilling. You know, the old adage, "the grass is always greener on the other side". But is it really?
Ever notice how we all manage, at times to say just the thing we shouldn't? And we never see what's coming next, until it's about to slap us in the face? Jorja and Regina have just such a moment, as they hike their first trail together, after so many years apart. Maybe they have more to overcome than distance and years apart?
As the author, I want to tell a story that is engaging, somewhat mysterious at times, yet is something that the readers can identify with and say "Oh, yes, I've been there, experienced that". This is one of those moments. One of those moments when we realize that in order to have a friend, we must be a friend, and sometimes that means accepting our friend as they are: faults and all. Jorja and Regina have tentatively moved forward in trying to reclaim their old friendship; but can personality and personal convictions be overcome, in the name of friendship?
This begins a new chapter, in a new book, "Crossing Yesterday"; Book 2 of The Scrapbook Series. As Jorja and Regina begin their heartfelt journey to renewed friendship, nothing goes as planned. Nothing about the Ozark's is as Jorja remembers; Not much about Jorja is as Regina remembers... How do they find their lost and treasured friendship? Will passionate convictions continue to lead them down different paths? The adventure is only beginning...
Working Title: Unraveling
This Book Is In Development
How can life become so crowded and complicated? The journey of life can be compared to that of an oak sapling. When you start, you’ve simply got a short stem and a few roots. Several years later, you look and it’s become a sturdy trunk with several branches; still a manageable situation. You can gaze upon it at or near eye level and still feel as if you have some control in managing the growth. Some thirty or forty years pass, and when you stop to look at the oak sapling, it’s a towering tree with limbs, leaves and roots everywhere. You suddenly realize you have absolutely no control over the giant towering tree. It blows at will in the wind, and in a storm could wreak havoc in any direction. How did that happen? So goes the path of life. Suddenly, you’re a mature towering oak with too many branches to count, and one wrong move…can wreak havoc on friends and family….sometimes it can all begin to unravel…maybe we should’ve stopped to contemplate the consequences when we planted the tree. But then, that would require some sort of psychic ability….
Here's a chance to look back with me over the last decade and get to know me as an author, and creator of "The Scrapbook Series". I hope you all enjoy!
As I wrote this passage of Unraveling, I thought about my own experience in parenting, and remembered once again, that I am one among many. Just when you think you have all the answers...you've anticipated every possible "what if", your child/children will lay something at your feet that you never saw coming. Like the accident that blindsides you. WHAM! Suddenly you're caught up in a set of circumstances that you feel so unprepared to deal with. And it's just this kind of situation that Jax is now presenting to his Mom....
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