Finding the first reader


ometimes, the hardest thing for a writer to do is share their words. I fall into that category. I am forever fussing over the words, the layout, and trying to have the ideas and images clearly represent me. It doesn’t always work and sometimes it’s almost too painful. Today was one of those days. I’ve been working on a novel for at least a year and I thought it was in pretty good shape and ready for a comment or two. I have a deadline staring me in the face and I need to finish. At least that’s what I keep saying.


The trick was to find someone who’d be honest with me and tell me if it was really just a load of crap, and I was worried that it just might be. Anyway, I printed the first chapter (again) and asked Teri if she’d do me a huge favor and look at it. I gave her the ground rules and then set off for a short run.

I didn’t get too far. I saw the kitchen was still a mess from lunch (that’s another story, for another day) and I decided to pick everything up before I ventured into the cold. That was a mistake, Before I was finished, I noticed she had picked up the papers and started read. There was no leaving now. I kept cleaning.

Within a few minutes she’d finished and just looked at me.

“You’d better go running and get back here and give me another chapter. I want to know what happens.”

I hope you like the first paragraph. Look for the book – it should be widely available later this year.


Chapter 1 – From Here to There

December 1967

My family wasn’t flashy. We didn’t have piles of cash hidden in the bank, or own the paper mill down by the river. We lived on the same 100 acres of land where my grandfather was born, and the fields I walked as a teenager were the same stretch of earth where my dad hunted turkeys every fall. The gentle, rolling hills and valleys of Western Massachusetts were my home and I thought I’d never leave. I was wrong – now I know I might never get back.


David Arenstam

About David Arenstam

Originally from away, but here to stay - Maine is my home and I love writing stories about the people and places from my end of the state. I am a teacher and writer and my first novel, "Homecoming: A Soldier's Story of Loyalty, Courage, and Redemption" is available now at