Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sneak peek at a work in progress...

So, writing-wise the summer has been both slow and all over the place. No good news on Swim Back to Me (my piece of women's fiction). No news, yet, on Frankie Sky (my YA option book).

Honestly, it's made it hard for me to concentrate, to focus and feel purposed. Writingwise, I've worked some on my piece of women's fiction in progress; i've worked some on a new piece of YA -- still untitled -- and I've worked some on revisions to Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me, which my agent loves but also has given me notes on.

The truth is, none of them seem to move me right now... I'm hoping with September and a change of pace, I'll find new energy and new inspiration. In the meantime, I'm slowly plugging along.

Still, with little to blog about, I decided to post a sneak peek at the current opening of Jack Kerouac... would love any thoughts and/or feedback. Does it hook you? Does it bore you? Do you want to know more?

Or do you want me to go back to the drawing board?

mood: angsty and restless. (And, yes, I know you didn't ask. ;))

Delias hyparete metarete – Common name – Painted Jezebel

Chapter One.

It is believed that the Jezebel’s brightly-colored underside
serves as a warning pattern to predatory animals.

     The butterflies arrived on a Saturday, but I waited till Sunday to open them since I needed Max’s help with the greenhouse. It was late April, and I had been dating Max Gordon a few weeks by then, but that particular day stuck with me because of how he built the greenhouse, and also because of what Aubrey had said.

     We were all in my room unpacking the boxes. I gave Max the box with the greenhouse parts, and Aubrey and I sat together on my bed tackling the ones with the butterfly larvae. Well, mostly, I tackled, while Aubrey flailed around bored on my bed.

     She used to like the butterflies almost as much as I did, but lately she seemed to be over them. Or maybe it was part of the whole thing with her and me and how we were growing apart. She wanted to blame Max for it, but I just think it was one of those things.

     “You could always go home,” I said without looking up at her. Instead, I worked at a piece of masking tape that sealed a small bubble-wrapped box with air holes in the top. In fairness to Aubrey, it was a gorgeous spring day outside. It’s not like I would have blamed her or anything.

     I glanced at Max. He sat at my desk, head down, earbuds in, working on the metal frame. Occasionally he’d sing some lyric out loud which was kind of funny because he liked old fashioned rock and roll by people like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix that I’d only ever heard of from my parents, so I had no idea of the words.

     “Under that apple suckling tree, oh yeah! That's underneath that tree, there's gonna be just you and me. Underneath that apple suckling tree, oh yeah!!”

     Aubrey looked over at him and rolled her eyes then gave me this look that said ‘what on earth do you possibly see in him?’ but I ignored her because I knew deep inside she was just jealous of how hot and heavy things had gotten between us. Plus, I didn’t care because I thought it was cute how Max liked the old music that pretty much no one listened to anymore. Even if the lyrics were seriously weird, especially the ones he was singing now.

     “Now, who's on the table, who's to tell me? Oh yeah! Who's on the table, who's to tell me? Oh yeah!”

     I laughed out loud avoiding Aubrey’s eyes, and kept working on the box instead. It was sealed tightly with clear packing tape and marked “FRAGILE” on one side and “JEZEBELS” on the other in black Sharpie. There was a second box still in the shipping carton marked “GLASSWINGS” but those were my Nana’s choice.

     Both the Jezebels and the Glasswings were gifts from my nana for my 16th birthday which wasn't really until the end of June. But since they were Tropicals they had to be flown in from Australia, so we ordered them early to allow for the shipping and to make sure the larvae would hatch in the spring.

     At least Nana still liked the butterflies even if Mom didn’t seem to care about them anymore. Which surprised me in a sad way, but less and less by then. Anyway, it was me who had chosen the Jezebels, while Nana had picked out the Glasswings.

     "Ooh, what about these here, Jean Louise?” she had squealed like a little kid as she ran her finger over the glossy catalogue photos of a specimen that looked like it was made of stained glass. And Nana was right, the Glasswings were beautiful, but for some reason I liked the Jezebels best. Especially, Delias hyparete metarete, common name Painted Jezebel, which looked like a boring gray moth on the top and hid its amazing colors underneath like a secret.
*  *  *


  1. Gae, It's absolutely lyrical and I am already entranced. Unlike the Delias hyparete metarete's special gift, your amazing talent is there for all to see!

  2. I like the voice a lot, and the subject. Not exactly sure about why a girl of her age would care about her mother's and grandmother's opinion -- love the boyfriend. With the quote, there's a nice, underlying threat going on.

  3. Annette, thanks, very kind...

    Jody, interesting comment. I have met girls who don't care at all, and girls who care very much. Depends on a lot, doesn't it? One thing is, as you read on, it's not so much that she cares about her mother's opinion as she's suffered a loss of her mother's affection... and misses it...and her grandmother is basically her only grown up ally. But of course, that said, I want it to ring true and will bear your questions/thoughts in mind...

  4. I love it, Gae. Again, your voice rings loud and true.

    As a mother of two teenage daughters, I definitely believe they care very much about their mother's and grandmother's opinions. And I also think lots of kids do, even if they pretend they don't.