Book Jacket

 

rank 5938
word count 116106
date submitted 10.10.2008
date updated 10.02.2009
genres: Literary Fiction, Historical Fictio...
classification: universal
complete

The Cedar Post

Jack R. Rose

Can a deaf-blind old man help you find and live the Pristine American Dream?

 

This compelling novel is not about young romance, prep wrestling, the deaf or the deaf-blind. It is not about terrorism, the holocaust, or understanding death. They are the framework for this heartwarming story about a never-a-serious-thought high school senior and his best friend, a deaf-blind, legless old man, who teaches him how to capture and hold The Pristine American Dream. Jon Roades, a High-school student growing up in the small town of Declo Idaho in the 1960’s, considers himself more average than a telephone pole, destined to stay in his home town, get a job in one of the potato factories, get married, buy a new TV and get a large belly before he's fifty. Then a deaf-blind, legless man named Ur moves into town. Jon discovers that his big dreams of holding the hand of a pretty cheerleader named Moose or winning a national wrestling championship are possible with the help of Ur's spectacular insight into living the American Dream. Through humor, parables, a healthy dose of action, and lessons taken from Ur’s trials in Nazi Germany during World War II, Jon learns about his inherent rights and the prospective joy they can bring to his life.

 
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tags

, 1960's, american dream, cedar post, deaf, deaf-blind, highschool, holocaust, idaho, inspirational, vietnam, wrestling

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23 comments

 

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suecroz wrote 2035 days ago

This is the best story I have read on this site in awhile and I will continue to read it. You paint such a lovely picture with your writing and your humor. I hope you get the attention you deserve. Good Luck. Sue

Corinna Turner wrote 2023 days ago

Hi, just had a look at the first three chapters and i'm only stopping now because i've really got to get on with other things! This is fantastic!

I took just a couple of notes as i read:

'sit the same perfect sit' – nice phrase
'after swinging the jack a dozen times i collapsed in exhaustion' – hahaha
'how much we loved them' – throw firecrackers at them – hysterical!

Chapter 2
'an otherwise baldhead' – 'an otherwise bald head' ?

I didn't notice any typos, it's extremely polished and very hard to stop reading. I shall be back to read the rest when i can. I'm afraid i don't have anything more useful to say, but this is definitely going on my shelf.

Raymond Nickford wrote 2022 days ago

In general I was particularly struck by your ability to give to your first person narrator a language register which seemed so very appropriate for the "never-a-serious-thought" high school senior you say that you are going to portray in your Synopsis. I presume this narrator is Jon as I don't quite recollect from Chapter 1 whether you actually give him a name at this stage.
He came across to me at first a little like Lenny in Of Mice and Men [there's noble company for you!] for a certain openness and candour which I liked but then that would be underestimating Jon who is certainly nowhere near simple - even though his brother Fred says "Little brother you are dumber than a crow bar". It's just that Jon seems what you might call a perennial square peg trying to enter a round hole of a world.
I feel really rather sorry for him, indeed he moves me when, in his impulsiveness and his hurricane speed at which he throws himself into various adventures he's left vulnerable to the consequences of his ill-conceived actions. He seems to be always aspiring and never attaining [slightly familiar feeling here on Authonomy ...] as he has to "gather all his courage like spuds into a 100 lb sack " before he can muster the self respect to date Patsy and is astonished [sign of his self doubt] when "Never in my life had a date come so quickly". We get the impression he's been let down many times despite all his romantic endeavours. And it's so clear the lad craves love that he hasn't properly known [not only romance]. Of course his wooing technique isn't too elegant when he "hauled her over over to the Frosty Freeze and fed her" . Sounds a little like giving a bale of hay to Old Dobbin the cart horse!
I return to my opening point about the consistency of language register being so appropriate to your idea of Jon - his vocabulary, slang, colloquialism [you've almost got both Steinbeck and Mark Twain there - I charge for that sort of compliment !].
I know that you spend so much time focusing on his adoration of a piece of metal on four wheels [no criticism whatsoever of American engineering there!!] because you want to say that such is the beginning and ending of his truncated world but this was spun out at such length that it's rather a long time to wait before you drop the wonderfully powerful punchline in your penultimate paragraph of Chapter 1: "My life was like my outfit, my outfit like my life". That so encapsulates what I know you are trying to achieve in this opening Chapter.
You write with feeling which is infectious and so desperately needed in our tinsel world.
Shelved! Raymond.

Cas P wrote 2030 days ago

Hi Jack. This is a truly brilliant story and deserves to be far higher up the rankings than it is. Hopefully my backing will help you move up a bit!
I have to say that I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Although I found the pitch intriguing, it's not usually the sort of thing I read. But your writing is exceptional. I *love* the way you describe your MC's life, thoughts and what happens to him, and although you don't have "comedy" as one of your tags, I found myself chuckling all the way through. You narrate with such realism and empathy and you brought everything to life so skillfully. Your imagery is masterful: "heart flip-flopping like a live trout" is only one of a wealth of wonderful phrases.
Unfortunately I only had time to read two chapters. Ch 1 was brilliant, full of nonsense but it's the nonsense of youth and totally enthralling. By the end of it I was eager to meet Ur, to see how he could possibly influence the life of this brilliantly hopeless young man. You kept me waiting but somehow ch 2 kept me hooked and the incident with Bessie had me laughing out loud.
Thank you for putting this up here, Jack, you have given me one of the best reads I've ever had. On my shelf you go and I really hope this gets the recognition it deserves.
Happy new year!
Cas.

riantorr wrote 847 days ago

I like your cover art,
RT

TheresaMC wrote 1965 days ago

I like the concept...I think. That is one crazy pitch. I couldn't make it through, I'd scale it back a bit -- simplify a little. I like the narrator and the naivete, maybe stupidity, of his acts (please, please, put in double spaces before your next revision/upload because it's hard to read single spaces online) and like quirky characters, so I'm looking forward to see where this goes.

Martin McGovern wrote 1972 days ago

Jack -

This is way out of my personal experience in space and time, and I love it. There are some really funny bits - like getting stuck to the date's head. And the narrative voice is perfect.

The only bit I'd change is to remove the paragraph about not washing or waxing after the firework incident, because Jon already says that after the denting incidents.

I like the idea that two of the people who used to collect their mail were Lewis and Clark.

I'll be reading more because this is so good - but it's going on my shelf as soon as I finish this post. And I've recommended The Cedar Post in a thread.

Cheers

Martin

Philippa wrote 1995 days ago

Jack. Have read to end Chap 7. A question. How important is the 'backstory' of Ur in Chap 6.? Perhaps the question is could it not be told (in its important elements) by references later. The mystery of Ur drops significantly, and with considerable loss. His incapacity and the silence surrounding it ,acts as such a foil to Jon's rather blunt, simple belief, that things can all be explained. He sits like a reproach without a word. Perhaps I will have a clearer idea after reading more but thought it helpful to voice my responses as they come. P

Philippa wrote 1997 days ago

Sorry. Couldn't stop. Chapter 4 magic, drew tears just as easily as the first three drew laughter. So glad you have the wisdom to point up humour with the other. Honestly this is very special.

Philippa wrote 1997 days ago

Jack. This is a kind of genius, I wonder how anybody remembers what the rest of us forget, but only to have you re-present the agonies obliterated. A bit confused about why the first time I opened this book I got Chap 2 (and didn't notice) and today I got the glories of the 'outfit'. (I have another 'outfit' to compete in Chap2/3 of Minding the Gap), but very different from that Lime Green Saboteur. This has got to get to the Ed Desk and I shall do all I can to help. P

janie wrote 1999 days ago

Hi Jack,
I loved your book and have put it on my shelf. Best of luck, Janie.

janie wrote 1999 days ago

Hi Jack,
This book has gone straight onto my shelf. It's brilliant. Best of luck, Janie.

Philippa wrote 1999 days ago

Jack...Came to you via trusty sources. Truly I cannot see a way on this site to get the deserving what they deserve. This was a delicious portrait of place time and the myopia caused by Moose, not to mention the tactics of Bessie. Really loved it. There are things on this site that attract no comments, they are all of a piece, you take them as they take themselves. Have a look at Tales from a Town with a Funny Name, the only thing comparable to this. Will bookshelf as soon as I can. P

mskea wrote 2000 days ago

Hi Jack,
Just have three comments for you here.
First - I spent half this chapter laughing out loud - The big hair etc is a bit before my time, but you conveyed it so effectively -
I love your descriptions and way you handle feelings / appearance, everything. eg - 'I figured that phone....' / 'flip-flopping faster than a bucket of live trout.'
And the way you the indicate the importance of Moose -'if she ever did.' - beautifully understated.
The transition from the hilarious to the serious is extremely well done.
The only negative point I want to make here is please, please, kill the exclamation marks.
Otherwise great writing - off to make space for you on my shelf.
Margaret
(Munro's Choice - HF might not be your thing, but I'd really appreciate your comments - especially just now, as I seem to have dropped off the radar a bit - a bit short on readers.)

TJ Rands wrote 2000 days ago

jack,
this is a proper piece of literature made all the better by the fact that you have completed it.
this is a novel i would buy and one day i intend to finish it.
when this goes round the grapevine, i think you'll soar up the charts.
my best wishes-shelved-TJ

Abu El Banat wrote 2000 days ago

Jack,

I'm here on the recommendation of two of the literary giants of this site - MM Bennetts and Paul House - and I can see why they sent me. This is quite superb. I have read 5 chapters and shelved.

MMB told me I would love the language, which I do, but what I wasn't prepared for was the humour. Jon is a scream! Episode after episode - the hapless milking of Bessie, the firecrackers, the cow manure, the throwing of dirt at courting couples (I am quite resentful tonight about the fact that I never got to throw dirt clods at courting couples in my youth - though as Mrs. Wood demonstrates, why should such things be the sole preserve of youth?), the pea-gravel killer bees. And Jon's delivery of all this is pitch-perfect - bragging in a way, yet completely straight-faced. And yet it is never allowed to become merely a farce: there is always the voice of a boy speaking from and to the heart, poignantly, passionately even, of the deep things of life. I love, too, his upbeat attitude to his lot in life - no whinging about how hard he has it, no chip on the shoulder about being less intelligent or successful than others - just a healthy frustration with it which will, one assumes, lead him out of it.

Now, you will have to forgive my English ignorance, Jack, but I was finding it quite hard to work out how old Jon is. Old enough to drive and to own his own car, yet young enough that his girl-fantasies are about holding hands, young enough not to envy the courting couples but to want to throw dirt at them. An American reader may be able to deduce age from the asides about school. It may not matter, of course, but there appears from the pitch to be an element of coming-of-age or rite-of-passage about this story (two terms I normally loathe, but not in Jon's case) so it would be interesting to know whether after 36 chapters he is going to get hitched or just snogged. This is coupled with the fact that his mother is an invalid (?) and his older brother in Vietnam and he will perhaps have had to grow up more quickly than others his own age.

However, as a small-town Englishman who's never been further west than Chicago, let me say that you've given me small-town 1960s Idaho tremendously vividly. Oh, speaking of which - you say somewhere, speaking of southern Idaho, that it always rains there or it's always windy there or something - "there" suggests that Jon is telling the story from somewhere else, which he may well be, but it did make me stop and wonder.

I am well aware that in only five chapers I've barely scratched the surface, that I have all of Ur's history and wisdom to come yet (and yes, I will be reading on as soon as time allows) as well as the whole issue of the holocaust. So I am quite clear that it's about rather more than just getting snogged.

A marvellous evening's read. I have no idea why this book is not better known on the site. Best wishes, Ben

paul house wrote 2001 days ago

110 days later, I have returned to shelve you. I do apologise for taking so long to come back, but I am sure you understand how easy it is to get distracted on this site. I said before that it seemed like a lot of recollections and I still think that. But it is not a criticism. Far from it. The writing is beautifully paced and full of striking imagery. - Paul House (Common Places).

S. Chris Shirley wrote 2005 days ago

Really great stuff! Shelved!

Lesley Barker wrote 2005 days ago

Hi Jack,
I meant to read just the first few chapters this evening but I read 5. This is very compelling. I can totally empathize with the main character - and it makes me think about when I was a little girl visiting my grandfather's dairy farm- You write tight, picturesque, emotional prose with a great sense of metaphor. I'll look forward to reading more. Poor Moose.

Deborah Aldrich Farhi wrote 2020 days ago

This is fun to read, intelligent, deep. It needs some tidying, but not lots.

Many paragraphs are too long, need breaking up a bit.

At first I thought words like 'drug' itself down, and different where it should have read, "differently" was on purpose for effect. And on that level I think it actually does work. But then I saw "differently" suddently used correctly so I doubted... whichever you use it should be done consistently.

I wanted 'Moose' name to be explained much earlier on!

I love this paragraph and was ready to back the book right then: I guess in some ways my life was like my outfit..." Fabulous stuff!

Careful of capitals where they don't belong: ie, "Post Office" and "Town Charter", and others.

This is going on my shelf!

Raymond Nickford wrote 2022 days ago

In general I was particularly struck by your ability to give to your first person narrator a language register which seemed so very appropriate for the "never-a-serious-thought" high school senior you say that you are going to portray in your Synopsis. I presume this narrator is Jon as I don't quite recollect from Chapter 1 whether you actually give him a name at this stage.
He came across to me at first a little like Lenny in Of Mice and Men [there's noble company for you!] for a certain openness and candour which I liked but then that would be underestimating Jon who is certainly nowhere near simple - even though his brother Fred says "Little brother you are dumber than a crow bar". It's just that Jon seems what you might call a perennial square peg trying to enter a round hole of a world.
I feel really rather sorry for him, indeed he moves me when, in his impulsiveness and his hurricane speed at which he throws himself into various adventures he's left vulnerable to the consequences of his ill-conceived actions. He seems to be always aspiring and never attaining [slightly familiar feeling here on Authonomy ...] as he has to "gather all his courage like spuds into a 100 lb sack " before he can muster the self respect to date Patsy and is astonished [sign of his self doubt] when "Never in my life had a date come so quickly". We get the impression he's been let down many times despite all his romantic endeavours. And it's so clear the lad craves love that he hasn't properly known [not only romance]. Of course his wooing technique isn't too elegant when he "hauled her over over to the Frosty Freeze and fed her" . Sounds a little like giving a bale of hay to Old Dobbin the cart horse!
I return to my opening point about the consistency of language register being so appropriate to your idea of Jon - his vocabulary, slang, colloquialism [you've almost got both Steinbeck and Mark Twain there - I charge for that sort of compliment !].
I know that you spend so much time focusing on his adoration of a piece of metal on four wheels [no criticism whatsoever of American engineering there!!] because you want to say that such is the beginning and ending of his truncated world but this was spun out at such length that it's rather a long time to wait before you drop the wonderfully powerful punchline in your penultimate paragraph of Chapter 1: "My life was like my outfit, my outfit like my life". That so encapsulates what I know you are trying to achieve in this opening Chapter.
You write with feeling which is infectious and so desperately needed in our tinsel world.
Shelved! Raymond.

Denis wrote 2023 days ago

Smooth, very smooth. Maybe publishers won't like the length for a first novel (is it?) It's accomplished enough to come from an established author. I'll check out your bio afterwards.
On my watchlist for now, until I have time to read further.
Nice start.
Denis.

Corinna Turner wrote 2023 days ago

Hi, just had a look at the first three chapters and i'm only stopping now because i've really got to get on with other things! This is fantastic!

I took just a couple of notes as i read:

'sit the same perfect sit' – nice phrase
'after swinging the jack a dozen times i collapsed in exhaustion' – hahaha
'how much we loved them' – throw firecrackers at them – hysterical!

Chapter 2
'an otherwise baldhead' – 'an otherwise bald head' ?

I didn't notice any typos, it's extremely polished and very hard to stop reading. I shall be back to read the rest when i can. I'm afraid i don't have anything more useful to say, but this is definitely going on my shelf.

Cas P wrote 2030 days ago

Hi Jack. This is a truly brilliant story and deserves to be far higher up the rankings than it is. Hopefully my backing will help you move up a bit!
I have to say that I didn't expect to enjoy this as much as I did. Although I found the pitch intriguing, it's not usually the sort of thing I read. But your writing is exceptional. I *love* the way you describe your MC's life, thoughts and what happens to him, and although you don't have "comedy" as one of your tags, I found myself chuckling all the way through. You narrate with such realism and empathy and you brought everything to life so skillfully. Your imagery is masterful: "heart flip-flopping like a live trout" is only one of a wealth of wonderful phrases.
Unfortunately I only had time to read two chapters. Ch 1 was brilliant, full of nonsense but it's the nonsense of youth and totally enthralling. By the end of it I was eager to meet Ur, to see how he could possibly influence the life of this brilliantly hopeless young man. You kept me waiting but somehow ch 2 kept me hooked and the incident with Bessie had me laughing out loud.
Thank you for putting this up here, Jack, you have given me one of the best reads I've ever had. On my shelf you go and I really hope this gets the recognition it deserves.
Happy new year!
Cas.

suecroz wrote 2035 days ago

This is the best story I have read on this site in awhile and I will continue to read it. You paint such a lovely picture with your writing and your humor. I hope you get the attention you deserve. Good Luck. Sue

paul house wrote 2111 days ago

This is very well written although it does sound a bit like a lot of recollections rather than a novel. I shall read on to see where it is going because you're writing is very entertaining and very good.

frenchbob wrote 2112 days ago

First two chapters - great stuff... very well written, in places funny enough to make Mount Rushmore laugh. But I'm not sure I'm engaged in a story - lost of good amusing writing, but maybe it should not be quite as long, more sharply edited? On watchlist until I've read some more.

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