Haven’t done one of these in a while, so here you go. An excerpt from late in the book: one of Grace’s past lives, fourteen-year-old Sophie, is treated for Dementia Praecox–or what we now call Schizophrenia–in 1902 France. But is she really ill?
“Go away. Please go away.” I stare at the ceiling, an unwitting audience to the spirits that flock to me now. I wipe a stray tear of frustration that races down my cheek toward my hairline as I lay in bed. My hands are mercifully free, as I’m supervised by the good Doctor for the moment.
“Sophie,” says Dr. Poireier, “do you speak to someone else now?”
It is difficult at these times to listen when I’m being spoken to. The voices of the living are often drowned out by those of the dead. The living speak to hear themselves, I have come to believe. The dead are just desperate to be heard.
I give up, and call for Noel.
“This Noel, tell me…” the Doctor’s words blend into the spirits’ din, and I wait for the needle to come.
Because J.M. Blackman said so.
Today’s snippet comes from Chapter three of my WIP. This is our first glimpse at one of Grace’s past lives, a wistful English girl named Elizabeth Bailey living in 1962 London. Her chapter takes place over the course of several days in December, when Londoners suffered through a sulphurous cloud of pollution over the city.
I stand in the kitchen securing my mask. It is crude and plain, but its beauty is in its usefulness. I wonder how it will fare against the smog, how I will fare against the smog, but decide that an asthma attack is the least of my worries tonight.
The wind is like a thousand knives when I open the garden door, my nightgown providing little in the way of warmth. The ground, as I had predicted, is a block of ice beneath my feet, and the crunch of the snow seems so loud. The cold slices across my face. I can just barely see the outline of the shed beyond the tree, on the far end of the garden. I will make it this time.
I run. By the time I reach the latched shed door, I am breathing hard. My mask slipped to my neck at some point during the trip. I end up ripping the straps from the body of it and dropping it in the snow in my rush to get out of the wind and smog and into the shed.
Inside, I know just where it is.
So when I began this most recent foray into blogging, I was a writer lost, wandering in the vast emptiness of the Valley of…well, nothing. I had no ideas, nothing to work on. It was sad, really. A writer without a WIP is not a pleasant person to hang out with. While I’m thinking back on that bleak period, thanks to all who listened to me whine about not having anything to write.
As you may have guessed (or not, bitch I don’t know your life!), the fog lifted a couple of months ago and the powers that be decided I’d been tortured enough with that whole lack of ideas thing, and my current WIP began to spew forth with wild abandon. Ok that sounds gross, but I promise, the story is actually pretty decent. And because of this, I’m excited to announce that “Write Something Wednesday” will hence forth be known as “WIP Wednesday,” when I will regale you all with little teasing tastes of the Young Adult novel I’m slaving over. Hope you enjoy!
Notes: I will likely keep these Wednesday postings to a max of twice per month, since my goal isn’t to have the novel become a serial blog type thingamajig. The excerpts will not even be in any real order (this first one is coming from Chapter 10, in fact), and don’t expect context, lol. It’s also important to note that the excerpts in these posts will be largely unedited, first draft quality snippets. If you’re expecting a fully polished and finished product, you’re barking up the wrong writer’s leg ;)
A sob bounds out of me, and I realize that I’m back in my own bed as I open my eyes.