Welcome to the Chubby Chatterbox Newsletter, where I’ll be posting favorites from the Chubby Chatterbox archives. In addition, my complete thriller Return of the Mary Celeste will soon be serialized here for those who have asked for something beyond a regular post.

My novel is based on a true event, arguably the greatest maritime mystery of all time. In 1872 the crew and passengers of Boston brigantine Mary Celeste abandoned their seaworthy ship and its valuable cargo, vanishing in the middle of the Atlantic. Speculation over their fate has never abated. History records that after the Mary Celeste tragedy no one from that fateful voyage was ever seen again. History is about to be rewritten…

Return of the Mary Celeste

Prologue

Tragedy struck the brigantine Mary Celeste on the morning of November 25, 1872. The hourly log was later recovered from the deserted vessel; At 8 a.m. the last notation was made. By 9 a.m. no one remained aboard to chalk the next entry.

Something had terrified Captain Benjamin Briggs and his crew, prompting the seasoned skipper to make a decision certain to affect not only himself, his ship and crew, but his family as well—his wife and two year old daughter were aboard Mary Celeste. Much ink has been spilled in fanciful and scientific attempts to explain the calamity that engulfed this perfectly seaworthy ship, yet all that is known for certain is this: in a matter of minutes Captain Briggs became convinced that the only way to save their lives was by ordering everyone into a hastily launched lifeboat. By giving the order to abandon ship, he also launched the greatest of all maritime mysteries.

On December 5, 1872, a month after leaving New York Harbor, Mary Celeste was found drifting on a calm and empty sea. The ship was in fine condition, perfectly intact with valuable cargo safely stored in her hold, but the crew and passengers had vanished. None were ever seen again.

Until now….

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Fall

November 18, 2013

 

 

 

This impressionistic oil painting could have been titled Fall, but it’s actually a portrait of my son CJ when he was six or seven years old. As I recall, he wasn’t all that interested in football, and he was even less interested in standing still while I painted him. It’s hard to believe that over twenty-five years have passed since I created this portrait. I remember being irritated when people told me to enjoy our son’s youth because kids grow up so fast; of course this proved to be true. At least I have a dozen paintings of CJ that preserve his childhood.

 

Although I’ve painted many pictures over the years, this is the only one to be entered in a juried art contest. I’m pleased to say it won first prize. One of the judges told me it won because of the way it held up from a distance—interesting because I’d worked so hard to create something that looked good up close.

    

The park where I painted CJ was a favorite spot when CJ was growing up. Unfortunately, the splendid tree in the background became diseased and was chopped down shortly after I signed my name to this canvas. I’m glad I have a record of my boy standing in front of it.

 

 

 

HAPPY FALL



Comments

30 Comments
That's a good painting. It's a lot more thoughtful way to preserve someone's image than a digital photo from an iPhone.
By: PT Dilloway on November 18, 2013
My son would never have stood still. It's hard enough to take his picture.
By: David Walston on November 18, 2013
I think it is the capture of the soul in the boys face that holds up! Such a warm and loving work of art.
By: Tabor on November 18, 2013
Beautiful work. Does he have any of your artistic abilities?
By: Scott Cody Park on November 18, 2013
FANTASTIC!
By: Michael Offutt on November 18, 2013
how very cool. :)
By: TexWisGirl on November 18, 2013
Beautiful painting of a beautiful child. I love the attention you gave to his face-he looks like a happy boy and I bet he's a happy man.
By: Kathe W. on November 18, 2013
I envy you your ability to paint, because it does seem that you are awfully good. Not being "all that interested" in football was surely a good thing.
By: Snowbrush on November 18, 2013
what a special piece of art and how wonderful that others see the value in it as well.
By: lime on November 18, 2013
What a great painting! How long would it have taken you to do? (and thus how long did your son have to stand that way?)
By: jenny_o on November 18, 2013
I'd love to see some of your later paintings of him!!
By: fishducky on November 18, 2013
What a wonderful painting and wonderful memories!
By: Mitchell is Moving on November 18, 2013
That's beautiful. I have The Hurricane preserved in art in a different wayâher paintings and drawings from years of art classes. Love, Janie
By: Janie Junebug on November 18, 2013
There is a lot of love in that painting. Do you have it hanging in your home or is a piece in rotation?
By: Daniel LaFrance on November 18, 2013
What a priceless treasure- one that many generations will cherish.
By: Shelly on November 18, 2013
Happy fall! You've given me a big smile with your wonderful artwork.
By: mimi on November 18, 2013
When I first saw that head shot, I thought of a young Prince William. Something about the expression.
By: Val on November 18, 2013
I really like this portrait of your son. You've caught the hint of a smile and the freshness of a child.
By: red on November 18, 2013
I agree - this is a wonderful painting. Is it hanging in your house or CJ's? I, too, would like to see more paintings of him!
By: Pixel Peeper on November 18, 2013
What a lovely painting. I envy those of you who truly are artists and get results like this that will last forever. What a happy memory painting.
By: Oma Linda on November 18, 2013
You do have a flair with a brush. Beautiful and great story behind it.
By: Tracie on November 18, 2013
I always enjoy seeing your paintings. Love this one too.
By: LL COOL JOE on November 18, 2013
Wow mate, that's a wonderful painting, something you must be very proud of. His face shows real character and I can see why it won. What lovely memories you must have of that day when you now look back at the picture.
By: Rum Punch Drunk on November 19, 2013
I think it would be so much fun to have a parent paint my portrait. Your son must be glad now he took the time to stand still so you could paint this amazing work of art. Your talent and knowledge are part of this work, but mostly your heart.
By: CiCi on November 19, 2013
How lucky your family is to have your talent for painting capture moments in time. Quite a bit more spectacular than a photograph.
By: Cheryl P. on November 19, 2013
What an amazingly beautiful portrait. I just love it. Your son and mine are close in age I would think. My son will be 32 Saturday. Baseball and basketball were Mike's passion. Never football. Go figure!
By: Bouncin Barb on November 19, 2013
Great job, Stephen.
By: Catalyst/Bruce on November 19, 2013
What a wonderful portrait capturing beautifully the essence of childhood. Like music I guess it transports you back to that day when you look at it.
By: John on November 20, 2013
Very cool to preserve both CJ's youth and the tree. And your fond memories.
By: Hilary on November 20, 2013
This is a fine painting, and as years go on, it will have more and more importance to your son, Stephen! Amazing!
By: Michael Manning on November 21, 2013

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