Uncertain what to expect when I picked up AMBERGRIS: An Electric Eclectic Book by Rush Leaming, I was quickly drawn into the story. Beautifully written, I and was carried along with Daniel Alexander Cavanaugh Turbeville as he leaves behind a sheltered life and steps into a world of wonder. At twenty-two years old it is apparent Danny is about to embark on the journey that transitions many young people as they set off for college in a state far from the comfort and familiarity of home. He’s meeting his fiancée as they are both going to New York University to get MBA’s. Opting to take a fifteen-hour bus ride to the New York City instead of a short flight, he meets an older woman, Cassandra Smalls, who has had many life experiences. As they travel she relates some of the places she has visited and things she has done.
When Danny tells her that despite living near the beach in Charleston, South Carolina, he has only been to the beach once. In fact, he has never been on a boat or fishing in a lake. Cassandra has not only spent her “whole life on the water”, she worked on cruise ships and has a degree in marine biology. She’s amused when Danny is surprised by the revelation. She laughingly refers to herself as “a little old black lady” and “nice, quiet church lady”. After Cassandra has shared her story, she asks Danny about his life.
His life has been the opposite of hers. He and his fiancée were born in the same hospital and their parents became friends and business partners. There are a lot of family traditions and Danny is following them. Cassandra observes that his life is exactly like that of his parents.
During the trip, something happens that changes Danny’s life. But it is his meeting with Cassandra and her revelations that are the catalysts for change. This is brilliantly written novelette that shows how a chance encounter can affect a person dramatically. By examining these very diverse lives, the author presents a challenge; live a closed life chosen by others or experience as many new moments as you can, choosing your own path. In the end, Danny makes a choice. The reader can only guess where his journey will take him. But there is no doubt it was a stranger on a bus who set him on his path. His decision to take the bus was an indication he was ready to spread his wings and like a baby bird, leave the nest.
I found this book to be uplifting. Cassandra’s stories of her life as well as Danny’s readiness to step outside his comfort zone send a message to the reader. It’s never too late reach higher, to test the parameters of your world and stretch them. I highly recommend this inspiring book.
“As part of The Electric Eclectic literary initiative out of the U.K. comes a new short story from American author Rush Leaming:
An uncertain 22-year-old stepping out of his comfort zone.
An elderly woman with a vibrant past on a long ride home.
They cross paths on a bus trip along the U.S. Southeastern coastline, a journey that takes both of them on a shocking and unexpected ride.”
RUSH LEAMING has done many things including spending 15+ years in film/video production working on such projects as “The Lord of the Rings” films. He was also an Adjunct Professor at the University of South Carolina. His first novel, DON’T GO, RAMANYA, a political thriller set in Thailand, was published in the Fall of 2016 and reached number one on Amazon. He is currently working on his next novel, to be published in April of 2018, entitled THE WHOLE OF THE MOON, set in the Congo at the end of the Cold War. His short stories have appeared in Notations, 67 Press, Columbia Metropolitan, The Electric Eclectic, Lightwave and 5k Fiction. He has lived in New York, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Zaire, Thailand, Spain, Greece, England and Kenya. He currently lives in South Carolina.