Today I am so pleased to welcome Noah Willoughby to Joyfully Jay. Noah has come to talk to us about his latest release, Dilemma. He has also brought along a copy to give away. Please join me in giving Noah a big welcome!
My name is Noah Willoughby and I’d like to talk about my latest book, “Dilemma”. It’s a story about Chuck, a middle-aged man who struggles to come to terms with his sexual identity, something he buried deep within himself for many years. At this point in his life, he struggles to keep this side of himself hidden from others in his life while maintaining a meaningful and, eventually romantic, relationship with a younger man, Bjorn.
This is a story that I’ve been struggling with to write. I’ve been collecting mental notes of it for many, many years and it took until recently to finally get them all on paper. At the time, I had also been working a mentally demanding job that was taking away the focus from my writing. If I was truly going to pursue my dream career as an author, all of my focus had to be on writing. So I took a chance and quit my job and turned all of my attention to the book. It’s been a struggle and this book has been a labor of love but I wouldn’t change things because it eventually lead to the publishing of this book and my chance to put it out there for others to read.
I would like to thank Joyfully Jay for allowing me to guest post on this blog and I also appreciate those who took the time to read this. Hopefully, you will enjoy reading “Dilemma” as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
Chuck arrived at Clementi Park, a spacious piece of land dotted with trees and picnic benches with a panoramic view of the ocean beyond the cliff’s edge. He rode to the biggest tree in the park and let
his bike fall to the ground. In the cold darkness, he dug into the soft dirt at the base of the tree with his bare hands, creating a shallow, little pit. He curled up into the hole and tried to fall asleep.
The frequent nightmares seemed to have stopped. Defeating his foe must have liberated his mind and gave Chuck a pleasantly dreamless sleep, almost like being in a state of oblivion. His mind was
clear and wasn’t flooded with the soul-crushing fear and self-hatred that he experienced every minute of every day. Being in this state of oblivion might as well have been heaven. There were no judgmental eyes or condemnation thrown his way. He could simply be alone without a worry in the world, and that was a very happy feeling to have.
He woke to the sound of birds chirping. Without a watch, he had no concept of what time it was or how long he was huddled there. He groaned at the pain of his tightened neck and limbs and brushed
the dirt from his clothes. His throat felt raw and scratchy, most likely from catching a cold by sleeping outside overnight, but he really didn’t care. He walked over to the thick wooden fence that enclosed the park and leaned against it, staring out into the horizon where the sun’s light was just beginning to appear. He wasn’t going to think about what would happen at school or with his parents. At that moment, he wanted to forget about everything that was going wrong in his life. He wanted to enjoy the fresh air, the smell of the ocean and the blue sky. All of these simple things he had taken for granted and never truly appreciated the beauty of them before.
Chuck looked downward towards the waves crashing against the side of the cliff and, when the waves briefly receded, the violently jagged rocks would be visible. He was almost hypnotized by the ebb and flow of the waves, watching them for the longest time. In a kind of trancelike state, Chuck wished to be right there among those rocks with the waves splashing over his body.
He climbed over the fence and stood on the narrow patch of land between the fence and the edge of nothingness that dropped a good 200 feet to the rocky surface below. Posed like a figurehead in
front of a ship, Chuck leaned as far over the cliff as his arms would allow with his hands clutched onto the thick railing. He continued to look out into the sunrise as he pulled his body to the fence and back out again. He repeated this in and out motion as if inhaling brought his body back and exhaling leaned it outward. With glassy eyes fixated on the rising sun, Chuck’s grip on the fence began to loosen to the point where his fingertips were the only thing keeping his body from
tumbling over. At this moment, any strong breeze or sudden surprise could cause this young man to release the hold on his own life and he was willing to accept that if it happened.
He seriously considered releasing his grip. By letting go, all of the physical and emotional pain would disappear. All of the anger, confusion, shame, and even guilt associated with pummeling Jack,
would vanish and he would no longer experience the constant sickness and nightmares. He cursed God or Nature or whatever almighty entity caused him to be this way. He knew nobody at school
would miss him, or would maybe even egg him on had they seen him perched over the edge of a cliff. He seriously doubted that even his parents would miss him. They would eventually find out about his
sexuality anyway, and most likely kick him out and disown him for it. Chuck didn’t love himself and figured that nobody else loved him either. For all these reasons, he continued to contemplate letting go. It would perhaps be a quick moment of hurt, and then nothing but painless sleep forever.
Sometimes, life doesn’t go as you expect it to.
Though surrounded by people on a daily basis, Chuck is a miserably lonely man, desperately seeking companionship and affection. Not only does his shy personality make him reluctant to approach others, but he also harbors a secret side of himself that he’s tried to suppress and forget for many years. This secret side fills him with a kind of self-loathing, and he unknowingly makes himself unapproachable to others around him.
However, this all changes when he befriends Bjorn, a charismatic and worldly young man who opens Chuck’s eyes and allows him to accept his true identity. This ultimately places Chuck in an awkward position of trying to maintain his relationship with Bjorn in a separate, hidden life while at the same time keeping up a false front in the rest of his daily life.
Dilemma is an unconventional love story that exposes the intense difficulty in coming to terms with one’s true self and the painstaking actions taken to keep a second life hidden from the world. While the truth can sometimes hurt, it doesn’t compare to the pain of living a lie.
My name is Noah and I’ve heard all the jokes about my name (e.g. “Where’s your ark?”). I was born in Tacoma, Washington during the 80’s, the greatest decade for music. I was always the independent type, living most of my life in a bubble of introversion. Looking through this bubble has allowed me to view the human world in all of its imperfect and bizarre glory. With a hypothetical smile on my face and the bubble slowly fading away, my imagination is getting into gear with stories of humanity that I’m compelled to get on paper. After years of slumming it in the uninspiring workplace, I‘m finally following my passion and doing it at home, in my underwear.
Noah is giving away a copy of Dilemma through Rafflecopter. Just follow the link below to enter!
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This sounds really engaging and thought-provoking!
It takes a lot of courage to change careers and start anew. Congrats on the release of your book =)
The “Dilemma” e-book giveaway has ended and the winner will be notified by e-mail. Thanks to everyone who participated. Even if you didn’t win, please still check out “Dilemma”. It would mean a lot to me.