Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Are we there, yet?

I have to admit that I am beyond ready for this month to be over. January is cold and dark and dismal and it seems like I never see the sun.

It doesn't help that I am sick and cranky, and that I have far too much to do with far too little time to do it. Now I realize that's not unique to me, but I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself.

Anyway, now that I've bored you with that, I thought the least I could do is share a snippet of something that's part of one of the two novels I'm currently flitting between.
Behind him, out over the ocean, clouds massed and rolled in a purple-pink sky; carried the promise of a late afternoon storm.

The Mustang glided along a slow winding curve, slid to a stop.

Air thick and heavy with humidity pressed close as he leveraged himself out of the car, felt the heat rising from the thin ribbon of concrete curling through the lush green landscape.

He cracked his back, rolled his shoulders. His eyes drifted over long, neat rows of stone standing silent under a burning sky; watched the sun reflect off the mirror-flat surface of the pond as it arced across the horizon.

He leaned in, reached over, snagged the flowers sitting on the passenger’s seat. The careful, almost silent snick of the door closing didn’t disturb the silence.

Slow, quiet footsteps sank into the soft ground as he moved down two rows and over one, into the shade of the Eastern Cottonwood’s canopy.

“Hey, mom.” He dropped into a crouch; pushed his words, soft and low, through a dry, tight throat. “It’s been a while. Too long.”

He slipped to his knees, felt the earth warm and solid beneath him; hallowed ground.

“I’m sorry about that. I tried to get here earlier…the last time I was here.” A small, soft smile bled across his lips. “It didn’t work out so well.”

He didn’t want to think about that now, that last trip home; burying him, burying her under the bone crushing weight of one disappointment after another.

“I had somebody I wanted you to meet. Her name’s Aeryn." He breathed deep, blinked hard against sudden moisture in his eyes. “You’d like her mom. She’s the one.”

He ran a gentle hand along the smooth stone. “You almost met her once. I wish that had happened." The smile slipped. “There was so much I didn’t get to do last time I was here, when I had the chance.”

He tilted his head, catches movement out of the corner of his eye; Canada geese gliding along the calm, smooth surface of the pond.

Clear-blue eyes the color of the Florida sky tracked the baby as it tipped its body, dipped its head under the water.

One of the adults ran along the surface, gained lift for takeoff. Slow, deep wingbeats carried it aloft as the rest of the family took flight.

He shifted slightly; lifted his chin, watched their graceful arc over the trees through the tops of his eyes.

He slid his gaze back to the headstone. “Everything’s a mess.”

Reverent fingers traced the carved letters of his mother’s name. “There’s somebody else I really wanted you to meet, too. Aeryn and I…we have a son.” His voice went low and deep. “God, Mom, he’s beautiful. Takes my breath away. Kinda like his mom.”

His eyes drifted closed. “That’s what I want, Mom. What you and Dad had.”

He swallowed hard against the thickness in his throat. “I didn’t understand that for a long time, but now I want that, Mom." His voice went low and rough. “Want it with Aeryn and Ryne.”

He pulled back and stared. "Was this what it was like for you? Waiting for Dad to come back? To come home?" He dragged a jagged breath deep into a tight chest. “Did you wonder about him never coming back?”


  1. I'm sorry you're not feeling well. I'm sending you virtual chicken soup and chocolate pudding.

    I love the way you write. It's so encapsulating. Does that make sense? You capture such grace with your words. It's so fluid, like a ballet. This piece was so heart- breaking yet beautiful. Like being surrounded by music and color and, well, the ocean. My favorite place in the whole world.

    I don't care what you say, you're a damn fine writer and should be proud of what you write. If I had half your talent, well...I won't say anymore.

  2. Hi SarahJayne~ I could picture every moment of this scene in my mind's eye. The emotional tones you captured, of sadness, regret, hope, seeped effortlessly into my consciousness as I read. Nicely done!

    I hope you feel better soon, and best of luck as you work through this project :)

  3. Is it just me, or do we seem to write our best when we're either sick or in pain?

    I mean~ here's SJ's latest snippet~~ which half of us would give our right arms just to produce on our BEST days~~~~~~ and here's the title of what she perceives as one of my personal bests, which I produced coming down from massive pain killers: Sight Unseen.

    Must we swing from debilitating lows to oxygen deprived highs just to produce the quality that we expect all of the time?

    Blah! If we do.

    ttfn, susan

  4. PW said you have to be proud of your work, and she's right, as Susan is equally right when she speaks about emotional and/or physical lows which seem to bring up the best in us: it must be the Universe's way of restoring some balance, I guess…
    And last but not least, you already know what I think about this snippet (such an unfair word for this wonderful, emotional piece!), and the kind of reactions it provoked.

    I hope all this helps you in getting out of this negative trend, or at least take a few more steps in that direction: January, no matter the latitude or the weather, *is* the bleakest and longest month of the year. You're not the only one waiting to see its end…

    Get well soon – your faithful supporters will keep cheering you on! :)

  5. PW-thanks. I love chicken soup and chocolate pudding, virtual and otherwise. :) And thank you so much for the kind words. They make perfect sense to me. I love the idea that you feel so wrapped up and cocooned by the words.

    Nicole-thank you.

    Susan-apparently, yes, we do just that. :) Seriously, I don't know. The whole inspiration and execution and craft thing is apparently beyond my ken just now.

    Nym-you're right about balance of course. You're right about most things. :) And thank you for that.