Wednesday, February 23, 2011

I'm so itchy!


I told myself I wouldn't post any excerpts from my novel-in-progress ever again. But I really really wanted to send a query out to an agent today because I found the perfect one (I think) on Guide to Literary Agents (not Oritz). I got all excited and crazy and weird, as if I had to send a pitch + pages now now NOW. But that would be so stupid, so dumb, so suicidal, because I have months of edits to go (and a paid-for independent editor's assessment to survive) before I can even think about putting my book out there again. So I resisted the urge to pitch this agent and, as a compromise with myself, decided to post a sample here instead. It's the first few pages of A Happy Armageddon. Because I'm itchy, that's why. And I'd blow up if I didn't.

***

July 16, 2010

He did not smell like fish so I married him. Back in my town that was more than most brides could say. He was short but they were all short. Something about my people's men staying low to the ground in those days. Maybe their bodies knew the war was coming so they just didn't bother. So he was not perfect but he was good and he had no bad smell around him as I mentioned.

My dress was simple by the standards of American women and a bit yellow around the edges. My mother wore it before me and her mother before her. But that was as far back as it went because no one of a good mind would wear something older than that. There was a little spot of blood on the hem that no one would talk about, so there may be a jealous lover somewhere back in the history of the lace. You never know with dresses, they can be dangerous things. There is a lot of danger surrounding a wedding too, in the before, during and especially the after. The priest told me it was a wife’s duty to give her husband what he needs when he needs it. When he left the room my mother pulled me into the corner and told me to lift my hips up and really jut them into the air because that will do wonders and to never ever speak of this again. Tourists come to that church now and pay big money for weddings. They like the wide floorboards and the coloured glass and the view oh the view and the crackling walls that sweat in the summer. They called it quaint in an American magazine that I found on the beach and I’d like to look that up.

My husband was waiting for me at that altar before he was my husband but I’m not sure of the word for that. He hated me then I think. He didn't look at me, not once, when I walked down the aisle. His back was short up and down but tall from side to side. It was covered in black cloth that was probably new because men were allowed to start fresh. I wanted him to look at me since I was a girl and what girl doesn’t want their man to look at them with longing and joy at least once? I coughed twice. But he did not turn. I jutted my magic hips forward. But he did not turn. I felt the humid air cool right then so I knew what was coming. (A girl who lives by the sea knows to listen to the weather.) And when I reached him at the altar I could see blood on his lips from where he had been chewing. It trickled into the cup when he took his sip of the wine. Too sweet he said as he passed it to me.

The ceremony was over so fast. A blur, like that band. I still have the disc that tourist with the Mickey Mouse tattoo left behind. I wonder if she misses it or if she even wanted it in the first place. How do you forget something that you’re desperate to? Really really forget it? I’ve always wanted to know.

***

5 comments:

  1. Ok, this thing has changed completely. I really like it. Kudos!

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  2. Oh no. I hope that doesn't mean that you read the first draft! If you did, I'm sorry, Matt. I still owe your lovely wife a kidney for her read. I have one more but... maybe just cash instead?

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  3. Sorry, I was thinking of the script.... I thought they were linked. Maybe they are? Not sure - they seem to be totally different.

    Meh, I like what I read.

    And yes, cash is fine.

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  4. You are so brave to post excerpts of your writing and keep it up. I always seem to post my versions and then retract them. Your writing is very distinctive (and I agree, it has changed quite a bit since I read your first page at humber -- that version had a totally different mood). Either way, I'd like to read more. Also, what's this about script? Did this start as another format?

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  5. Evadne: Thanks for calling me brave, but I'm really not. Sharing is the only way my book will ever get good enough to publish. Not just because of the feedback I get from sharing, but because of the motivation sharing gives me to keep working on it, to keep honing it, so that it's good enough to publish.

    Everyone has their own process, but please, don't take your excerpts down off your blog! Be proud of them! Whether they change or not, they're an important part of the journey to making your book great!

    I did turn the story into a TV pilot. There's a whole series of blog posts about that. Search my blog with the word "pilot" and loads of of results will come up. This book has had many lives!

    Can't wait to read your book, Evadne!

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