I have recently finished my newest book entitled, Nathaniel’s Got the Blues. Nathaniel’s an aging rat who first appeared as an adventurous and curious young rat in A Yorkie’s Tale, my first book. Much older, he now wakes every morning to chronicle again his ailments and complaints of which there are many. He is especially disturbed by the notion that the lessons he learned as a younger rat no longer seem relevant. He’s feeling low, without purpose, all used up, bored, and he is starting to annoy his wife. Nathaniel’s got the blues!
A brief excerpt from Chapter I
Nathaniel looked at Birgit, surprised, because she seemed so close to losing her patience, something he had rarely witnessed. Still, he was well aware that something was amiss, because Birgit’s voice had risen several octaves and she was beginning to warble.
“Well, then, I guess there is no point in pursuing this,” he huffed. Then, without another word, he left their nest, pouting as he climbed down the overgrown shrubs that brushed against the house.
While he climbed down the shrub, the word blue somehow stuck in his mind, and no matter how hard he tried to pry it loose, it stubbornly refused to be dislodged. And yes, maybe Birgit was right and he should walk and work on banishing the blues. But how?
He sat for a few minutes beside the shrub, considering his plan, but there it was again. He was feeling blue all right. He told Birgit it best described the condition of his soul—his soul, he complained, was “bruised blue.” He had nailed it, he thought. Blue was a condition of the soul, while melancholy was a condition of the mind. Nathaniel decided he had the blues.
He hummed a tune that he often found soothing when upset by one thing or another. But the tune he now found himself humming wasn’t at all like the ones he had previously drawn comfort from. This one was raspy and edgy and sorrowful, and tasted of tears. He sang quietly to himself words that came as if from somewhere other than himself, but from which he derived solace and comfort.
I’m all used up.
Every day a brand-new pain.
My wife just threw me out,
‘cause I was driving her insane.
I got that old rat blues.
Yes, that old rat blues.
But old is what I am, so being younger’s
what I lose.
I have no more to offer,
And I’m feeling all alone.
The only thing that others want
is to pick at these old bones.
I got to banish these blues.
These do-nothin’ blues.
Growing old and being grumpy is the lifestyle
that I choose.