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Monday, April 18, 2011
For better or worse, I am enclosing a small scene from the novel that I am once again editing.
I can't believe that I am and it's rough, really rough. I don't know why I chose this small part to share, other than it's what I'm editing now and I figured I would just throw it out there. I need help motivating me to finish this.
He stuck out his tongue slightly when he was concentrating, just the pink tip and only sometimes, he would have hated her had she mentioned it. The hair around his neck was growing longer and the longer it got, the curlier it got, but she hesitated brushing it with her fingers and only did it when he was really relaxed. He wasn’t usually relaxed, even when they finished making out. He was tense, but it came from somewhere deep inside. He was so tightly wound that she was afraid sometimes he would come apart, but he held things close. He didn’t confide in her even when she questioned him directly. He deflected attention and there were times when they sat in silence, he smoking and her reading or leaning back into his arms. He didn’t ask her too many things about herself unless she volunteered information. He didn’t seem to need, want to know all that much about her and she was hesitant to give him too much as if somehow he could use it against her, but not in a bad way. He didn’t talk about his family, when she asked about his brother or grandma he muttered incoherently and his parents were off limits, she learned that the first week.
“Where are your parents-do you mind if I ask that?”
He laid back on the grass. “Yah, I do.”
He didn’t say anything else, so she had muttered an apology. He had held a strand of her hair and twirled it around his fingers.
“Don’t feel sad. I just can’t go there yet, pretty girl.”
She loved it when he called her that or baby girl or gorgeous or any pet name, except that he didn’t use silly names, he was much too dark and serious for that.
“What do you want to do? Why are you here?”
They were leaning against the lockers after school, the hallways deserted waiting for Tyler who was going to be late.
She looked at him. “I don’t know. I’m supposed to know right-seniors next year, life mapped out.”
“Your parents map it out for you?”
She felt defensive. “Yah, but…”
“But what? I asked what YOU want to do?”
“I don’t know. I like acting.”
He rolled his eyes. “Are you serious?”
“What? What’s wrong with that?”
“Because I don’t see you act. You don’t hang out with the drama kids, it’s not your life. That seems like an easy answer, sweetheart.”
“Easy? How is that easy?”
He snorted. “We are in Southern California and you ask me how that’s easy? Could you be more predictable? Challenge me.”
She thought a lot about that exchange. Challenge him. What did he want from her? Once when she was in junior high she had taken a government class and wanted to be in the House of Representatives. She didn’t know why. She wasn’t interested in politics, but it felt cool to think about making laws. She had thought about teaching, but wasn’t all too excited about being in a classroom all day. She had no interest being in a corporation like her father’s and her mom on her endless committees, she didn’t want to do that. She wasn’t even sure if she wanted to get married. She loved traveling; maybe she could join the Peace Corps or something. Move back to New York and be a journalist. She liked History.
She thought of Mr. Meyers. Did she like History so much this year because of History or because of him? She thought of the few days of her Drama class. She liked it. She liked pretending to be someone else. It was easier than trying to be herself.
Challenge him. She had done a scene from Julius Caesar last year at her old school and gotten an A+ in her AP Shakespeare class. She had done the death scene where Brutus betrays Caesar. She had worked hard on that scene trying to emote what it would feel like to be betrayed so thoroughly by someone you most loved. She had played his part of getting stabbed with confusion and innocence as if still not believing that her best friend could have stabbed her and wished for her death. She died with a look of confusion still on her face, one arm slightly reaching out wanting to hold the murderer’s because she still loved him as she always had. The class had given her a standing ovation and her teacher raved about her adaptation. To be honest, it hadn’t really been a stretch. She pictured Caesar still loving Brutus even in death, the hand that raised the knife, was still the hand that had clasped his arms and broken bread with him for so many years. His death must have seemed like merely a bad dream, a horrible joke.
John was wrong. There was nothing easy about acting. She did want to be an actress. He hadn’t seen her act because she was new to his school and this was the end of the year. The spring play was over. She would show him next year when she signed up for the play. Her new Drama teacher had told her she had some talent after she had done a short improv from Rent the second day she was there. She didn’t take it too seriously, but that was it. That was what she wanted to do.
She told him that the next day at lunch. “I stand by my statement.”
He was drawing. “What?”
“I’m going to be an actress.”
“Because I like pretending to be someone else.”
“Really. Why? Because it’s easier sometimes reading a script that’s already been written? I thought that was part of your problem.”
She winced. He was right. “No, its not the script, it’s the interpretation, you can be safe, its like hiding a little bit, but its also like taking a huge risk without consequence.”
“Atta girl. I like the thought of you taking a risk. It seems to me like you’ve been eating vanilla ice cream all your life. You don’t seem like the type of gal who’s ever taken a risk in your whole life.”
She laughed. “How’d ya guess?”
He raised his eyes. “You emote…an empty page.”
“Wait, what? Thanks a lot.”
“I’m not putting you down. Just fill the page.” He held her gaze. “I’m putting a little mocha into all that vanilla.”
She tried not to shiver. “You are, huh?”
He reached over and grabbed her lower lip gently, but with his teeth.