Please say hello to Ken Harrison and
a States Of Love title
Sean and Nick’s life together was a fairy tale: childhood friends who became lovers, high school sweethearts who married after college, both handsome professionals. Sean always enjoyed a few drinks, but after the death of his father, his alcoholism spiraled out of control… and it cost him everything.
When Sean loses his job and becomes too surly and unreasonable to live with, Nick has little choice but to end the relationship. Sean can’t blame Nick for giving up—not after the arguments and the lies—but he longs for the happiness and love they shared before he spoiled everything. He resolves to get sober and win back his husband. But even if he wins his battle with alcoholism, will it be too late to save his marriage?
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Why I Chose to Write About Rhode Island for Dreamspinner’s States of Love
Writing a story that highlights everything I love about Rhode Island was going to be a breeze…or so I thought. It wasn’t until I started that I realized there was no way I could fit it all into one story. A lot of people born in this state don’t appreciate it until they leave it. And when they do come back, they try to soak up as much of the state as they can.
I have a sister who moved to Florida sixteen years ago, and while she likes Florida, every time she visits, it’s like an orgy of food. Wieners, stuffies, pizza strips, coffee milk, quahogs, etc… She tries to eat as much as she can in the first hour of every visit. I kid you not.
I tried weaving as many Rhode Island specific food items into Linear Park as possible, but found the task a bit daunting. And not only that, Rhode Island is more than just food. It’s also the places. I tried writing about some of my favorite haunts, but there were too many to mention, so I stuck to the main cities and towns that people visit, like Bristol, Newport, and Providence. I also added specific places like Colt State Park, India Point Park, Fox Point.
Newport, Bristol and Warren have maintained their New England heritage, and walking through them is often like taking a step back in time. When Nick and Sean are young, they bike through Warren and sit back and relax on the docks. They also go to Colt State Park, which is a beautifully maintained park overlooking the bay, where people often go to picnic and fly kites. It’s also the place where my husband and I had our first official date. As odd it may sound, I wish I had been able to include Swan Point Cemetery, which is listed in National Register of Historic places. It is the burial place for many prominent historical figures and the resting place of HP Lovecraft.
Any story with Rhode Island as the background wouldn’t be complete if it didn’t at least mention the capitol city of Providence. Since this is my story, and I have a love affair with Providence, a good portion takes place in this small city. The portions of the city that are mentioned most are Federal Hill and the East Side, but I wish I could have found a way to bring the hip West End into the picture. The West End is home to many artists and musicians. It has fantastic restaurants and an eclectic feel. I lived on the West End back the 1980s, when it wasn’t quite as cool as it is today.
The Providence river runs through downtown Providence (which older locals often refer to as downcity) and splits into the Woonasquatucket and Moshassuck rivers. Braziers line the center of the rivers and are filled with wood and lit on fire for a special event known as Waterfire. You can get the schedule online at https://waterfire.org/. Waterfire is mentioned in Linear Park, and is something to experience. You can also rent a gondola for a special occasion. My husband and I did it after we were married, and it was a treat.
Although Federal Hill is no longer the mafia haven it once was, thankfully, it retains some old-world charm. From pizza to pasta, this is where you can get some of the best Italian food the city has to offer. Most of the restaurants are a stone’s throw from DePasquale Plaza, where Sean and Nick sit at the base of a water fountain. Although they don’t spend a lot of time on Federal Hill, I would like to make it a setting for an upcoming story.
Most of Linear Park takes place on the East Side of Providence. The East Side is known primarily for Brown University and the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). The area of the East Side from Thayer to South Water Streets is home to many students and has a host of coffee shops, restaurants and trendy specialty stores. It also has two arthouse cinemas that cater to a college crowd (The Avon and the Cable Car), where you can catch the latest foreign and independent films.
Fox Point is a section of the East Side and is home to India Pont Park and Linear Park. To get to either park you have to either go under the elevated section of highway 195 or over it (via the India Point Park Pedestrian Bridge). Both parks have a water view, but Linear Park is elevated and is on a bridge that runs next to the highway. While the park is peaceful and calm, just a few feet away is a bustling highway. Although it’s an odd concept for a park, it works. The park is also a part of the East Bay Bike Path, which runs from Providence to Bristol (14.5 miles).
I chose Linear Park as the title for the story because it best represents Sean’s life; how he’s in a place of solitude, reflecting upon and rebuilding his life while the world around him is in motion. For Sean, and with many people going through recovery, it’s a time full of discovery and acceptance; when just about anything can happen, and people often find the true meaning of forgiveness.Linear Park is a very special story for me, and I hope readers find something in it for themselves. I also hope it gives the reader a real sense of what it’s like to live in the biggest little state in the union. Rhode Island is my home, and I can’t imagine living anyplace else.
About the author:
Back in the nineties, Ken Harrison wrote erotic short stories for several gay skin magazines and published three short story collections (Daddy’s Boys; Young, Hung and Ready for Action; and Ten Thick Inches). He stopped writing in 2001 to start a small press, Seventh Window Publications, and worked with several great authors and artists. He closed Seventh Window Publications in December 2015. After a year and a half away, he realized that publishing was a big part of his life and went back to writing.
When he isn’t writing, he enjoys cooking, web design, blowing bubbles in the park, dressing up in costumes, and entertaining. Halloween is his favorite holiday and his house is a popular stop for the neighborhood kids. He believes that the only thing better than telling a good story is watching people enjoy his food.
Ken lives in Rhode Island with his husband, who is an avid reader.
Find out more on his website.
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