Yep, this is how I’m feeling. Between life on-line and life off-line, I’m here, there, and everywhere, and I’ve got the mess to prove it.
I’ve said it before, so I’ll say it again. It’s part of the creative spirit.
“Creativity is making a mess…then cleaning it up.”
That’s my excuse, anyway. Right now, I’m in the process of revising, revamping, and reformatting several blogs. I’ve started running lots of new features at Seasons of Love and Time for Love. I’ve been taking part in a number of promotional activities for the books I’ve had released in recent months, and eagerly preparing for the upcoming release of Not the Marrying Kind, the first story in “The Sunset Series”, coming soon from Secret Cravings Publishing.
Earlier I was thinking about my fictional characters and their surroundings. I wondered what they might say about me if they saw the mess inside my mind — and inside MLWR (my little writing room).
But then I thought of Cody Bradford. He’s one of my favorite characters, and you’ll have a chance to meet him later this month when Not the Marrying Kind is released.
Cody is eccentric, creative, and yes, he’s messy. He’s even messier than I am. So, while I’m struggling to find a place to put everything, I’ll let you sit back and have a quick peek at Cody.
The sun had gone down long before Joshua reached the cabin. Tired, soaking wet from his foray through the spring-swollen creek, and barely able to stand on his weak leg, he wanted nothing more than a good night’s sleep in a real bed.
The golden glow of lamplight gleamed through the bare, uncurtained windows. Cody lived a simple life and that suited Joshua just fine. He’d grown accustomed to having little, and he wouldn’t have felt comfortable in a fine house with lavish furnishings. He’d chosen to come to Colorado and stay with Cody for exactly that reason.
Possessions weren’t important. What truly mattered in life was family.
Sad truth of it was, he didn’t have all that much family left. Some had passed on; others just didn’t want anything to do with him now, and so be it.
When Cody had offered him a place to stay, Joshua gladly accepted.
As he led his horse toward the small corral, he caught a glimpse of his cousin standing at the window. Joshua tipped his hat and Cody waved to him. A simple gesture, but a welcome one. He’d come home, at last.
Eager now, he quickly tended to his horse, then grabbed his walking stick and limped toward the cabin.
When he opened the door, the stench coming from inside the place nearly knocked him off his feet. At once, his mood soured. The walking stick fell from his grasp as he gazed in disbelief at the scene before him.
“Holy hell, man! How do you live like this?” Covering his mouth and nose, Joshua stepped carefully around the empty whiskey bottles that lay scattered over the mud-encrusted floor. Filthy clothes filled every corner, and plates of moldy, half-eaten food sat on a rough-hewn table in the center of the room. A thick layer of wood chips and sawdust covered everything.
Cody Bradford pulled his lanky frame up from a rickety stool. His dark, heavy-lidded eyes narrowed.
“Glad to see you, too, cousin.”
Joshua had never been one to waste words. Greetings could come later. “You need to clean this place up.”
“Haven’t got time.”
“You’ve got nothing but time.” He kicked at a pile of rubbish. “This is disgusting.”
“Doesn’t bother me.” Cody’s thin shoulders rolled in a half-hearted shrug.
Obviously his cousin hadn’t changed over the years. With the exception of his woodcarving, Cody Bradford had never made more than a half-hearted attempt at anything.
“Well, it should bother you. It damned sure ought to bother you.”
“Get away from there!” Cody picked up a block of wood and hurled it across the room. A rat scurried through the clutter, knocking knives and cutting tools from a metal stand.
Joshua jumped back, appalled at the thought of spending even one night in the wretched, vermin-infested cabin. “Think I’ll sleep out in your shed tonight, if that’s all right with you.” He grabbed his walking stick and turned toward the door. “It’s probably in better shape.”
“Not really. Haven’t had time to do much cleaning out there, either.”
Tomorrow he’d head into town, pick up a good supply of lye soap, alum, and vinegar. He’d get some potash too to drive away the rats. But for tonight, Joshua would have to make the best of it. He had a thick, woolen blanket in his gear, and his saddle would serve as a comfortable pillow for his head. As much as he’d looked forward to sleeping in a bed, right now, the cool, hard earth held a much greater appeal.
Leaning on his walking stick, he looked around once more, slowly surveying the extent of the disaster. His cousin would do nothing to improve the unhealthy, unsanitary living conditions, and Joshua didn’t figure he could handle the task on his own. How in the hell would they ever make the place livable?
“You know, Cody, what you need is a wife, somebody to pick up those dirty dishes, carry the rubbish out, sweep that confounded sawdust up from the floors.”
“A wife?” His cousin hooked his thumbs in his suspenders, leaned back, and let out a hoot. “Not likely to find one around here. This is Colorado, remember? There aren’t too many available women in the territory, you know. Besides, what woman in her right mind would marry me?” A crazy, chortling sound came from his throat.
Good old Cody. Hadn’t changed a lick. Still the same deranged—but talented—lunatic he’d always been.
Joshua scratched at his bearded jaw. “I’m sure there must be some sweet young thing somewhere in Colorado who needs a husband.” Even before the words were out, the image of a long-legged, trouser-clad redhead flickered through Joshua’s weary brain. A pretty face, indeed, but overall, not the sort of woman men sought after. Too tall, too flat, all awkward arms and legs with none of the luscious curves that enticed a man. She most likely didn’t have too many romantic prospects. He grinned. A gal like that would be perfect for a fine man like Cody. “Twenty dollars says I can find you a wife.” He pulled a gold piece from his pocket, tossed it in the air, and caught it again. “Deal?”