My dreamiest of dreams is to write a book. Well, to get it published, too, but I imagine there's probably nothing more satisfying is writing "The End" with a flourish after 80,000 words before it have been edited and tweaked to perfection.
And this past year, my new year's resolution was to perfect a story idea for my yet unwritten book.
I've thought of some ideas, some titles, some characters, but I'm not yet smitten with any of them. But I have written some prologues and first chapters, and for fun, I'd thought I'd include them here. (as inspired by a fellow writer from Ungrind) I would love to hear if any of them are viable. Which would you want to read?
The mountains were louder at night. These sounds were never detectable in the daylight. It was as if someone had turned up the volume of nature so that they, like me, could avoid the thoughts that came with these hours. They bounced in the valleys and teased my ears. A few moments would pass every night before I became acclimated to the whereabouts of the echoes and varied volumes of a laugh, the moo of a cow, and a tiny murmur of something indiscriminant.
I laid on my bed listened. The curtain that functioned as a door to my bedroom rippled gently in the wind and gave me flashing glimpses of the dimly lit porch outside. The door was propped open to allow the humid, mountain air to circulate in the tiny house. My privacy was minimal behind my curtain, and noise entered in freely without discretion to the only place I could call my own. As a result, I had learned to tune most of the sounds out when I needed to. But tonight, I listened to them all. I could hear voices laughing in one direction and imagined a Jamaican family on their porch staying up late teasing each other about an event that happened years ago. The laughing would stop for a few moments and suddenly explode, as if a comedian was on stage and triumphantly met the audience’s expectations with each punch-line. Their porch was most likely his stage, as was every tightly knit family’s. A place to rest after a meal with friends, greet unexpected visitors, gossip about the day’s events, and celebrate the years gone by. Loneliness struck me with this image, so I turned to focus on another sound, the rustling of mango trees east of me. The ocean was east as well, and I imagined that it had brought the wind up this far to remind me of its depths. Its beaches were probably relieved by now by the tourists that regularly took advantage of its mirrored beauty for their own. I had been in their position only months ago, only I was staring blithely out at the horizon instead of strolling on the sand or swimming in the surf. No, I was staring numbingly at the place where the blue was the deepest shade. There was so much more beyond that hue—a deeper one, and then another even more deeper, until it became almost black. A thin black line was hardly detectable where the ocean met the horizon, and my eyes narrowed to find it each time when I stared out from my perch in the sand. That was where my attention was then—and even now.
The confusion I was feeling as I found myself stuck in Ruby’s house and now a second time—was just the surface of my own ocean. It had started out only months ago as something resembling a shallow reef—nothing was unexpected, and everything could be enjoyed and marveled at. But something had churned it up, and now the water was dark. I couldn’t see the bottom anymore. My faith grasped in the night for the promise that surely God had something down deep for me…even in the darkest places, where the color is black and there seems to be no life at all.
My thoughts became more abstract as I felt myself grow sleepy and imagined shiny, indistinct creatures bobbing about in these deep, dark places that were miles from the surface. My eyes closed as I also squinted in my dreams…wondering, hoping that they would fully be revealed.
On the night I was born, not many people were paying attention. Most of the world was glued to their televisions and two bobbing white spacemen stuck a flag on the face of the moon. It was one small step for mankind, and one giant push for my mother.
“I knew the doctor’s mind was somewhere else. His eyes were glazed over as he caught you. Probably thinking about everything he was missing.” My mom laughed loudly in front of her audience, and I, as if on cue, masterfully rolled my eyes as a then twelve year old.
“Paige, you can tune me out, but I don’t care.” She smoothed my bangs across my face, and my heart hit a guilty nerve of love for her. She dazzled among the cascade of cheap party streamers around our tiny kitchen. My birthday guests chewed the cake and watched her with subdued looks of awe, as everyone had for as long as I could remember.
My mother continued on in her storytelling. “You were just like you are now—perfect.” She then stopped short of saying more, as if she was remembering preteen horrors of having a parent even breathe near you. But I never felt that way. She leaned toward perfection, or at least, it felt that way. She knew the right things to say, and even if they weren’t, they always felt right. My friends started back into their giggly conversations after a pause, and I heard my mother murmur something softly as she kissed the top of my head, “...His little servant...”
I pretended not to hear, but it wasn’t hard to guess this was what she had said. She told me my name’s meaning often, as if she wanted to project me to fulfill it. Unfortunately, I had turned out to be just as clumsy spiritually as I was physically. It was her that gave things to the needy without thought. It was her that welcomed in young families into the church. I just didn’t think of doing those things. I went to church and copied her faithfulness, joining causes, singing the songs, and more. I may have been called “God's little servant,” but it was her who was doing things worth God’s favor. I was just the sidekick.
Until her death the following year.
I do have some other ones that are written, but since they've been saved under titles such as, "blah." I thought I'd leave them on my hard drive for now. Reading these two over even feels a little like I'm standing naked on the street. Does every author feel like this?
Here's to hoping this new year is full of new, creative ideas!
*We have arrived safely in Texas for Christmas and are set to move in our new Fort Worth home soon! The break between the transitions has been a huge blessing as is all the family hugs and company.*