Thursday, August 12, 2010

Getting The Writing Out During The Last Few Days

I only have a few days until I go back to school (next Tuesday), so I'm trying to get as much writing done as I can. Hopefully I can keep on the schedule I created this summer of writing a lot, but we'll see. I figure if I can even get myself to write a page a day during the week, I'll be doing well.

This is a scene from my new book that I've worked on all summer. It's a section from something that I workshopped with my group in June at the Kenyon Review Writers' Workshop. I haven't shared any writing in a long time, so here you go!

Amelia’s dress still hung in her closet, the plastic bag around it and price tag hanging from the left strap. It hung on a satin anger that she had talked mom into buying just to hold the dress. It was pale yellow, like the glow under your chin when you hold a dandelion up to it. It was a color choice not a lot of people would make, but then again, Amelia wasn’t like a lot of people.

Amelia had planned to wear the dress to Homecoming, a dance no one had asked me to.

Her boyfriend Tommy made a big production of inviting her. He set up candles in our back field in the shape of a heart. He called Amelia to tell her to look outside. The two of us stood in our parent’s bedroom window and watched the candles, some flickering out to make a lopsided heart.

“Hey, look, “I had said. “Now your heart is broken.”

Tommy couldn’t just have invited her to the dance like the rest of the kids at school, pushing out an awkward invite in the halls, texting the question or deciding during lunch to go as just friends. Tommy had to light up his love, even if the flames started to blow out when the winds blew too fast.

I started to try on the dress a few weeks after Amelia disappeared.

I put it on when Dad was at work and Mom was in the shower, running the water to cover up her wails that I could still hear.

I would slip into it and jam my feet into Amelia’s shoes that were two sizes too small and stare at myself in the mirror. I allowed myself for a moment, just a moment, to smile because I was here. I was strong and alive.

I would then take the dress off and hang it back up in the closet among Amelia’s other shirts, sweaters and tennis shoes that sat waiting for her.

Tonight I got dressed in the downstairs bathroom.

I watched for the headlights to Tessa’s ancient old Buick and slid out the door. I ran barefoot to the car, out of my house before anyone could ask where I was going. Amelia’s dress skimmed the ground, stirring up a fog of dust around the bottom.

I was shorter than Amelia and the dress wasn’t the same on me. Nothing was quite the same.


Kristan said...

I love your use of this object that binds them, but also shows how different they are. I get a good sense of at least 4 characters (the narrator, Amelia, Tommy, and the mother) in such a short span. A lovely and enticing glimpse of your new story, thanks for sharing! :)

Kara Mustafa said...

Very powerful snip. Love how you described the shade of yellow :)

Meredith said...

I love the imagery of this passage, and it's completely hooked me--I want to know what's happened to Amelia and how it's affecting your MC! This is amazing writing--thanks for sharing!

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I love your sample. I am amazed at how you managed to give us so much information in such a concise way -- while still tantalizing us with information you've deliberately held back. Beautiful!

And OMG, I sympathize with you on the quickly vanishing summer. I return to school a week after you do, and I am dreading it. Not just the loss of writing and blogging time -- but finding out exactly what's been cut from our budget, and how many more hoops I have to jump through to satisfy No Child Left Behind -- and what freedoms in teaching style/content have been snipped away from me this year.

Lisa Nowak said...

I love the lines about the dandelion and her heart being broken as well as the fog of dust at her feet. Nice stuff.

I'm so sorry you have to go back to school so soon!