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Tower of Longing
A Story for Adults and Young Adults and all those on the Road of Life. about Rites of Passage for a Beloved Son and his Widowed Father to Guidance from Within!

Available Soon in Downloadable Video Format

Tower of Longing


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By the side of the highway, a widowed father sits behind a microphone in the cinderblock studio of a small, rural radio station. He alone spins the records and is the sole voice. In between speaking and spinning, he thinks of all he has lost in his life- his wife, his career, perhaps his hope.

What series of fates have brought him to this desolate rural setting, where at night the empty black sky of the county is filled with stars, and the red light atop the radio tower, high in the air, blinks rhythmically. Somehow, lately, it seems this tower with its constant blinking light is a symbol of something, signifies something. Is it the tiny remainder of his hope and dreams? Does it correspond to the very beating of his heart?

The tower looms night after night, the main events in life for the people of the country being only the regular changing of the seasons and the expansive sky and fields reflecting these changes. Yet inside the cinderblock studio the father and his son live a life of vicarious art and mental travel, experienced through music and books.

The days stretch out ahead, as the father and son live this rather solitary, yet curiously rich life together at the rural radio station. Then, seemingly out of the blue, though they knew it was coming, the time for the beloved son's departure for college and entry into the world arrives. To the father, this is the same world which has given so much, and then taken away as surely as it has proffered. The boy is ready to embark upon his new beginning. The father, understandably, is ambivalent.

In the light of his son's departure, this father realizes that the tower looming above does indeed seem to have taken on a new meaning...


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Excerpt from Book:


For all of us, at times, it seems as though the topography of our lives, inner or outer, is a graveyard of dreams. Things do not always work out as we might wish. And yet, when we look about us, at our world or those we love, we see that there are new beginnings happening all around us.

This should be a tonic or antidote to our "graveyard of dreams" perception. And yet, alas, how often it is not, for many of us. The trouble is, we are not always so eager to embrace these new beginnings, for ourselves or others. We may not see them as a blessing. Rather, we may feel like Job in the Bible and be tempted to feel quite desolate.

When, in our lives, there are those who are just beginning a new phase, starting anew in some way, we know we should be happy, but this is not always so. Perhaps that person is someone we love. Perhaps this is someone we wonder if we can let go of. Perhaps this someone seems to be the light of our lives.

What will we do at times like this? We must, of course, release those we love to meet their new phase, to complete their destiny. Will we be able to release them and see what is hopeful around us?

Our longing for them to stay is tied to our grief. And, our grief in general is tied to our longing over all sorts of hurts from our past, all sorts of regrets and feelings of desolation. This may be so, even somewhat unavoidable, as we are human and we suffer. But can our longing and grief propel us toward hope, and become renewed desire to jump back into life?

We often long for what is past. We grieve for what we have lost. We want to hang on to what we do have. We have made the best that we could out of what we have been given, and we do not want to let go.

But sometimes, we must.

Can we let go when we know we must? And in this letting go, can we return to what is left with renewed purpose? Or, can we make a new life for ourselves and embrace it? Will we have the courage to do either of these, or is the tower of our longing too formidable?

These are questions we will all have to answer at least once, and likely many times over in our lives, for this is the nature of human existence. None of us can completely escape suffering, and we are constantly faced with the choice to choose longing, regret and sadness, or hope, purpose and new life.

Which will we choose?

-The author

Chapter One

Once upon a time, a small, bookish boy lived with his father, who owned a radio station. You could see the tower of the station with its red light blinking on top from the highway which roared past it in the countryside.

Just below the tower was a small cinderblock building which served as the control room for the radio station. This was not unlike many such setups for stations one might find along many country highways in any state throughout the land.

Next to the control room was a small trailer. It was a modest, but tidy little home; and it was there that the bookish boy lived with his father.

There had, of course, once been a mother. Every boy has a mother, even if only but for a moment. The mother had been kind and good, and had died many years ago.

The bookish boy's father, had once had dreams of being a writer, so it was no surprise that this boy was bookish, for boys are often like their fathers. And, though his father now often seemed sad, and had given up on many of his dreams, the boy loved and even admired him.

Ever since the death of the mother, the boy's father couldn't seem to write. There just didn't seem to be the inspiration that once had been present for him, when there was in his life a young, sweet little son, and a loving wife and mother to inspire him. In short, the end of his delightful, perfect little family seemed to be the end of his Muse.

"How time gives, and then takes away!" the father often thought, feeling a bit like Job from the Bible.

So, when he inherited the radio station, some years after the death of his spouse, the father decided that he would try to run it. If he could not write, perhaps he could spin tunes, and say a few words. Perhaps the Muse might be willing to help him at least a little, in this new task, he hoped.

"It's a small station," he thought, as he considered the possibility for success in this venture, "with a small listenership- but big enough to keep the station going, and to keep bread on the table for me and my son."

And so, the father, with his literary bent, and, he hoped, his imagination somewhat still intact, stayed at the helm of the control room throughout the evening, musing, reading stories and poems, and playing the songs of his youth from the fifties into the wee hours of the morning. This was salutary, since he was often up all night anyway, being an indisputable night owl.

It turned out that he was really rather a success at the new task he had embraced. The station, and particularly this unusual little evening/late night show was rather popular with the people of the countryside, who listened faithfully to their little radio station on the a.m. dial.

The boy would sleep on the little cot in the control room, doing his homework, and reading books from his father's extensive library, which the two of them, for convenience, had moved from the trailer right into the control room. The small room was stacked from floor to ceiling with records and books, and so both the boy and the father had all the artistic and literary inspiration they needed, right at their fingertips.

After the boy had finished his homework, eaten Spaghetti-O's (or some such thing), read a great deal in whatever book he was devouring (books by the likes of Ray Bradbury, Kurt Vonnegut, J.D. Salinger or other such favorite authors), he would listen to his father spin vinyl, spin stories, and muse into the night. The boy would listen contentedly from his cot to the music and words of his father which rolled out into the airwaves from the little control room. When he grew sleepy, he would fall asleep feeling peaceful and happy, for he truly enjoyed this evening routine.

Often, if he woke in the wee hours of the morning, the boy would with just one sleepy eye open, spy his father still broadcasting at the desk. His father would be hunched over, speaking thoughtfully into the microphone, which he pulled quite low and very near to him when he was working in this posture. Or, just as often, his father's feet would be propped upon the desk, with the microphone again adjusted to this alternate posture.

His father would work in various postures, but no matter his position, the father was always illuminated by a small overhead light, which cast its round little beam of golden light upon his figure, and could, like the microphone, be adjusted by means of a long, rather utilitarian, spring-loaded arm. It was this image, of his father, lit by the small, round, golden, late-night light in the darkened studio, musing and spinning tunes, which the boy would carry with him all of his life.

Even when he himself was a man, even a very old man, this boy would see it clearly in his mind, his father in this light, night after night. He would see it and hear the sounds of the musings and the music- for they had been so firmly impressed upon his mind and soul, by repetition, sentiment, love, and admiration, that he could not forget them. They appeared in his mind and heart as if on cue, as if they simply continued to occur, as if time had not continued on, or did not exist in a linear fashion.

Yes, the boy, would listen late into the night to this man, who, it turned out, was inspired by his Muse. It seemed She had not really deserted the father after all, but deigned to inspire in the format of spontaneous, late-night musings into a lonely country radio station microphone, rather than when pen was put to paper. What a finicky and fickle little Muse she was, yet faithful in her own way!

She was as faithful, as was the certainty that this nightly ritual would be the stuff that the father's and the boy's life was made of. Her appearance was to be depended upon, as was the sun's rising and setting, and the dark expansiveness of the countryside's night sky, empty and gleaming with twinkling stars, and cold alabaster moonlight.

© 2002, Michael D. Purvis


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