Rite of Passage

April 8, 2012

With forty-eight hours to go to The Red Circle’s launch, I thought I’d share the opening of chapter 1:

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Every culture has its rites of passage.

Native American adolescents journeyed into the wilderness for days on end in vision quests aimed at gaining life direction from an animal spirit, or totem, through a fast-induced dream. For Australian aborigines it was the walkabout, young males trekking the outback for as long as six months to trace the ceremonial paths, or dreaming tracks, taken by their ancestors. Mormon boys ages nineteen to twenty-five are sent around the world for two years to do full-time mission work.

For me, it was shorter and simpler. My rite of passage came when I was thrown off a boat in the middle of the Pacific Ocean by my dad, a few weeks past my sixteenth birthday.

I had to find my own path home from that oceanic wilderness, and it turned out to be a path that ultimately led to the most elite sniper corps in the world.

I don’t know if you’d call that a dreaming track, exactly, but you could say it was a path taken by my ancestors, at least in one sense: my father was thrown out of the house at age sixteen by his father, too. And I suppose the only way to make sense out of my story is to start with him…

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Tomorrow, I’ll share a passage, from the close of this chapter, that desribes Brandon’s odd encounter with a swordfish in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

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