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Hollywood novelist writes 'Running With George,' about year in life of gay man, 50, who starts life over

Hairstylist Charles "Chip" Lunsford of Hollywood has written a short novel, Running With George, about a man named Chick who starts life over at the age of 49.

"His partner died two years before and he went through a two-year black hole, in which he was drinking heavily and engaging in unsafe sex," Lunsford said. "What happened with him is that when he woke up one particular morning and he looked at himself in the mirror, naked, he said, I need to get this sorry ass in shape."

Lunsford, 54, said he has "always kept myself in shape, but at the age of 50 something blossomed inside me. I became the man I always wanted to be."

Here's a short introduction written by Lunsford:

running with george"I come from a long line of storytellers. I am the first one to put pen to paper (or in this case, fingertip to keyboard). My grandmother, father, brothers, nieces, and nephews would regale everyone, wide-eyed with excitement, with stories of our family history. Like the wizard, in the Broadway show Wicked, said to Elphaba, “There are all kinds of stories that aren’t true…where I come from, we call it history.”

I was with my partner for over twenty-six years, sixteen of those years we had lived in Miami Beach. My mother reminded me that when I was a child, watching The Jackie Gleason Show, the helicopter would swoop down and fly over Miami Beach; the television camera showing the shore in all its glory and I would exclaim, “I’m going to live there one day!” Well here I am… sort of. That relationship has ended. I am with another man and we live in Hollywood… Hollywood, Florida that is.

Being the youngest of four children I was left alone frequently and have been making up stories in my head ever since. As an adult, I began writing down snippets of action or conversations, thinking that they would make a good story. I have three dogs that I walk early in the morning and I tell bits and pieces of my stories to them. They know more about my characters and storylines than anybody other than me. They’re the best at keeping secrets.

I have written a short novel titled Running with George. Here is a short summary of the story. A week after Chester (known as Chick) turns forty-nine he views his reflection in the mirror in his dining room and vows, “to get his sorry ass in shape.” As he is bending over to tie his running shoes, he hears someone coming up behind him and looks up to see the finest ass and legs in a pair of black spandex shorts he has ever seen. What starts out as a possible love interest becomes more than a friendship that helps Chick rejoin the human race. Running with George proves that anything is possible through love, dedication, and a good, hard sweat.

In the span of one year, we spend a lifetime with Chick and his partner Ed who passed away from heart failure two years earlier. Chick emerges from a self-imposed black hole to find himself out of shape, lonely and almost fifty. Like the lyrics from Alannis Morresette’s, Ironic, “you meet the man of your dreams and then you meet his beautiful wife.” His friendship with George comes with a little surprise; he’s married to Bella and they have two children. Things quickly change.

What makes this story unique is that it is very human. Each chapter is one month. Each month we watch Chick grow and change, The morals of this story are, you are never too old to begin again, or you can create your own family and turning fifty is NOT the kiss of death. The title Running with George has a double meaning, the first is obvious, that the men run the beach together. The other meaning is to run or hang out with one another. Very hip for a couple of old farts, wouldn’t you say? You don’t have to be gay to empathize with Chick. He tells his story of love and loss so honestly that you can’t help but become friends with him very quickly. It seems like you are sitting in his kitchen drinking coffee (or in this case Jack and soda).

More at Lunsford's Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RunningWithGeorge

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