A bartender struggling for years as an unpublished writer helps a combat veteran face his fears over publishing a short story about his time in Iraq.
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Thomas Slattery is a war horse. Hammering away at his keyboard for nearly forty years, trying to make his mark as a novelist. To date, no publication, no real success. Working as a bartender in Chicago all those years, married and divorced, now living with his mom in his childhood home in Jefferson Park. But always writing. Along the way, he has mentored numerous successful
writers through a writer’s group he started. Jeff, an Iraq war veteran and newer writer, has attracted Thomas’ mentoring eye.
Jeff is living on the margins, scraping by with temp jobs and living in an SRO, isolating himself as he, too, chases his dreams of professional writing. He is wrestling with Ghostboy, a story that an influential publisher wants to publish as part of a star making anthology. But a deadline looms and he can’t bear to finish the story. He wrote Ghostboy in a fever pitch, after the suicide of his army buddy Sparks. Jeff won’t process Sparks’ death, or his own pain or anything else. He seems destined to be forever trapped inside his own pain.
Jeff pins his hope of finishing the story on his mentor Thomas. But a great personal loss on Thanksgiving night shakes Thomas to his core. Thomas abandons Jeff and Ghostboy. He gives up writing and mentoring and lashes out at every thread of his life as ‘the world’s least successful writer.’ The two men clash, Jeff having lost his writing voice to numbness and pain, Thomas enraged by his failure in the face of the wild success of those he mentored.
Every artist must discover their true why. Why they forsake so much to express what aches to get out. These two writers embark on a new journey, to discover their real and true why, and the actual meaning of success. The answers for the lonely writer, they find, just may lie in the outstretched hand of a friend.
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