I’m sorry I haven’t been updating often. I’ve neglected both blogging and writing. Evidence of the latter is shown below – the one chapter is all I’ve written during the two (?) months that have passed since school ended (and this is strange indeed, as I once wrote half a book in two months). I have had so much on my mind that my head was too crowded to spend my time writing fiction. Instead I was journaling. These days I’m finding life more interesting than writing. This is a break I need. Last year ALL I did was write — seriously, I would cut down on my socializing hours just to write. I would write from the early morning, skip meals, and write until the wee hours of the night. So the time I’m having away from writing is so important to me — not only as a writer, but also as a human being! I’m actually discovering so much about life, coming to appreciate life so much more. This makes me uber excited as a writer. Life experiences are filling up my writing-well….
Anyway, here’s the rewrite of chapter one. This is a big change for me. The original chapter is four years old, and during those four years, the content remained pretty much the same. But one night I had a dream (a dream perhaps induced by my new love for stories that don’t occur chronologically), woke up at 5:30 a.m., made myself some tea, typed away madly, then sent it to my sister to read. An hour later I emailed her again writing: DON’T READ THAT VERSION, IT’S SO CORNY. I rewrote, sent, then later emailed her again telling not to read it. I totally flooded her inbox. Anyway. I am in love with this version — though a bit iffy about how short it is, and a bit iffy about the idea of having a prologue. But still. I like this version better. I’d love to know your opinion. Do remember that this is the rough draft : )
P.S. I’m moving out of the romance department. As much as I love this genre, it doesn’t work for me anymore. I want to write general fiction now – general fiction, as in, there will be dashes of romance, but the book’s focus won’t be on that subject alone anymore. But hey… I might switch TRC back to romance if, while rewriting, I believe that the romance genre is truly where my writing still belongs.
And while you read, to manipulate your judgement a bit (har har), here’s something to listen to…
Nov. 4, 1811
I rode for hours. My hands were icy within the gloves. At first light I went out to check at all the coaching inns & see if you were there. But no trace of you could be found. Guilt drove me onward, the guilt of when I had seen you last, leaving you to be soaked in the rain. The cost of guarding ones pride is too great. I should not have feared your betraying eyes. I should have let you remain, the thorn in my side. Yet I took you out and cast you aside. & now my spirit is dying.
Here under this wretched roof, as I wait for a word of you, all I can do is look back on the past. I ask myself once & again: Why? Why am I repeating this journey, searching for you? I imagine ourselves playing out Boethius’ consolation of philosophy. I imagine spheres orbiting around a central point in which the divine mind exists. The inner spheres are confined to the simplicity of the center while the outer spheres whirl in wider orbits. I imagine us tangled in the net of Fate, straying further from the center, further into the cold blackness of space.
As our lives are being tossed in circles around the orbits, both of us lost to each other, I feel by a tenfold the dismay I experienced when I first met you. And what a burden I carried then. I remember the sound of rain tinkling against the pipes & the rumbling of carriage wheels passing down the cobbled road. I took cover from the rain beneath a stone archway & slipped a miniature portrait from my coat. The painting was of you, a young woman no older than sixteen—your face too narrow, your cheeks too prominent, & your chin too pointed. Your features, which I then called unappealing, were easily overshadowed by the restrained animation that brimmed over in your clear brown eyes & the arch of your lips.
If hands can express emotions, then how bitterly I closed my fingers over the portrait—through no fault of your own I resented you. Half of me longed to turn back, but I instead stepped past the veil of rain trickling from the arch and headed toward the brothel. By the time I arrived at my destination I heard the muffled sound of laughter & music. I knocked on the door, then thinking that I’d arrived at one of the best houses in Brighton. When the keeper of the establishment opened the door (I knew she was the Madam by the confidence with which she carried herself, her dress, and the age marking her face), she greeted me with a great smile.
“Good evening, sir,” said she. “How may I help you, sir?”
I think I replied: “I am looking for a young lady whom I took interest in.”
Smiling, the woman at once stepped aside. As I entered & was led up to the main parlour, the laughter & cajoling that filled the room lowered into hushed murmurs. They stared at me as I walked past, with the mistress sauntering ahead. Before I got far, a hand grabbed my arm.
“Oh, look at ‘em legs. Never saw such long ‘n lean ones in the whole of me life.”
I glanced at her yellow teeth encased by her smiling red lips, & peeled her fingers off, walking on. Dread gripped me. In such a place as this, I doubted that the animation that had shone from your countenance at the age of sixteen would illuminate you still at the age of two & twenty. I worried that reality had battered you to an unrecognizable state.
“And might I inquire,” said the mistress, “whom the subject of your interest is, sir?”
“An Amanda Hollingworth.”
“Amanda?” She laughed with confusion & I believe she said: “She may be a sweet lass, but she’s only a plain-faced chit. Would she like me to bring you my prettiest girl, sir?”
“No, I’ve come for Amanda, no one else.” To nullify any suspicion, I offered her a bag of coins. The madam snatched the coins from my hand. Her reaction—you would have laughed seeing it. How high her brows rose as she looked into the bag. With a smile, she declared, “You are the best gentleman that ever breathed!” & then she called out, “Amanda!” The longest pause ensued, a pause in which a million sensations passed in & out of me. “Ah! There she is.” She pointed ahead. “D’you see her, sir?”
I scanned the crowd. In the far corner of the brothel, I saw the face from the portrait: the common brown eyes, the oblique brows slashing darkly across your white skin, the curly pile of chestnut-brown hair. You wore a low-cut dress & white threaded stockings. The bleakness of the underworld had stolen the youth from you and had transformed your features to sharp angles. How I would have laughed had someone informed me that in a few months’ time I would have to withstand the wrath of society because of my regard for you—that of utter adoration.
The man I was then I am ashamed to recall, looking upon you without the slightest stir of pity, looking upon you as the object I had been driven by the cold sense of duty to retrieve.
The Madam called out your name several times again. Goaded by impatience, I too called out your name, “Miss Hollingworth!” Just as I do now. But this time it is with fear & longing & sorrow that I call out to you, “Beloved!”
Answer me, just as you had then.