Island Writers Network

Hilton Head Island Writers and Their Books

IWN Anthology Excerpt: ‘A Routine Traffic Stop’

Written By: Admin - Nov• 13•15

Elizabeth Robin - WriterThis is an excerpt from IWN’s fourth and latest anthology, Hilton Head Island: Time and Tide. The title is “A Routine Traffic Stop” and the author (left) is Elizabeth Robin.

After the excerpt, be sure to read a note from the author:

…That’s when he calls a lawyer, stops talking to everyone, unplugs his phone, stays home.

At night the dreams come. They begin simply, he running in a setting too generic to recognize. Surreal, these dreams. Although he’s in constant motion, the set does not budge. He finds himself going nowhere, he in neon coloring, the setting in muted grays and blacks and whites. Just as the sweating begins, rapid breathing, pulse fluttering, an exceedingly large disembodied face looms before him: his third grade teacher, Miss Maybell, saying, “I keep telling you, Franklin, you will never amount to anything if you keep up this superior attitude.” The head expands in size until it resembles a hot-air balloon, hissing repeatedly, “You’ll never amount to anything!” Often he’d smirk, “Yeah, right,” in third grade. He’d just laugh, snicker to a companion, “What a loser.” She banished him to the corner or from recess in retaliation. He knew it was because she was weak. But the dreams left him shaken. What have I amounted to, exactly? A mildly successful contractor who hasn’t been on a job since that day.

His wife stood at the foot of the bed, staring as though analyzing the particular features of a bug crawling across the sheets. “Well?” she starts.

“Well, what?”

“Well, are you planning to go to work today? I mean, it’s been a month. Isn’t it time you at least tried?”

“After that dream? No sleep? Don’t you think you’re being a little unreasonable?” he answers, aggressively switching objects.

“What I think doesn’t seem to matter. What I think is that you need help that I can’t give you. What I think, is that if you don’t call one of those phone numbers I found for you, get some help, I’m out of here. That’s what I think,” she responds. With that, she exits the boudoir. He hears the rustle of a coat, rattle of keys, slam of the front door. Then quiet.

Since then, he’s been a hermit combing the crime page and court dockets. This does not make him hopeful. He reads famous cases with even less confidence…

Note From the Author

When I write I want to create events that allow the reader to reinspect a viewpoint. Too often we look at people, events, issues in black and white, right and wrong. Life’s so much more complicated than that! In “A Routine Traffic Stop” I tell the story of a decision a man pulled over for a speeding ticket makes, and the tragedy this causes.

In this excerpt, he begins a downward spiral. Wracked by guilt and unable to leave his house, Franklin James becomes obsessed with the police blotter, gun crimes in particular. His marriage is failing. His job disappears. His life is on hold.

This story explores the nature of police work, crime sprees, gun ownership, agoraphobia, not to judge or take a position, but to expose how our fears sometimes create our worst nightmares. Often we read about events like this one, worry and wonder and mourn the loss of life, the impact on family members. When those stories are told, it’s all about the hero cop, the brave citizen, the orphaned children, the widow.

Here, I look at the survivor. How can he go on, when something like this happens? How might it change who he is? Do survivors find a way to transcend that split-second decision that changes everything? In Franklin James I get a chance to start that discussion.


Top image of Elizabeth Robin by Cara MacNeil

IWN at Lowcountry Holiday Book Fair

Written By: Admin - Oct• 23•15

Pat ConroyAre you looking for some good books to buy for gifts this holiday season? Even better, how about some great reads for yourself for the Winter months? Or would you like to meet a living literary legend like Pat Conroy and see works by talented local writers?

If you answered affirmatively to any of those three questions, don’t miss the Lowcountry Reads for the Holidays Book Fair on Saturday, November 14, 2015, 11:00 AM to 3:00 PM (EST) at Christ Lutheran Church, 829 William Hilton Pkwy.

Come to the event and meet nationally and locally known authors of fiction, children’s books, cookbooks, history, and our own Island Writers Network authors with their latest anthology, Hilton Head Island, Time and Tide.

For more details or directions, call the Heritage Library: (843) 646-6560.

See you there!

Our 4th Anthology is Coming November 2015!

Written By: Admin - Jun• 05•15

Time and Tide_Nov 2015_Promo Cover