Mowing the Lawn

Henry Chinaski and Ham on Rye

Roman Newell
The Interstitial
Published in
4 min readJun 20, 2024

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Photo by Andras Kovacs on Unsplash.

If I talk about myself too much I might start to matter. End up like Henry Chinaski before the war. In the arcade. Pondering about boyhood heroics on a man-sized battlefield. Thinking about the girls who laughed at his boiled face. The laughing men who made him strong. His father ripping his stories in the middle of the street.

“I went after my manuscripts first. That was the lowest of the blows, doing that to me. They were the one thing he had no right to touch.”

She reached her whole arm inside and snatched precious pearl-sized dignity. Squeezed it between fingers until it crashed and splintered. Because she liked feeling strong. Liked me limp and lifeless.

People go where they can hurt you most. But that’s ghosts talking. Putting knives in hands. I remember being Henry Chinaski. Cut lower than the lawn out front. Being beaten is one thing. Makes you a mule. Compact. Being fragmented makes you shards of glass. Small. Unnoticed. Cutting everyone who touches you.

It’s hell sometimes telling the truth. Sometimes you just can’t go through anymore hell. So you keep hell inside where you don’t go through it. You envelop it. Funny thing about hell though. It always burns its way out.

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Roman Newell
The Interstitial

Busy working on my novel, 20XX. I also talk about the writing journey on Substack. romannewell.substack.com.