November 20, 2009

NaNo Sneak Peek

One of the best challenges for the Take a Chance Reading Challenge was #8:

"Lit Riff (inspired by the book Lit Riffs by Matthew Miele.) Choose a song and then write a brief story that is inspired by or further explains the lyrics of the song."

I knew instantly which song I was going to use but the more I thought about it the more elaborate my idea got. It became the inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel. So here is a sneak peek of my thus far nameless novel followed by Norah Jones singing Wish I Could.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

“And your dog? What's his name?”

Catherine considered lying about that but after having told so many of them she just couldn’t. Besides, this was all part of her self imposed punishment. “James. His name is James.”

She saw the look of anguish that swept across Cissy’s face as it did every time they had this conversation. Cissy’s eyes turned red with tears that she refused to let fall. “My husband was named James, bless his heart. He was the most gentle and kind man I ever met, next to Ben in there.” She indicated with her hand that Ben was inside, manning the cafe. Catherine looked in and saw Ben wiping down the counter top. He knew she was there and he knew why. He had told her many times that she should stop putting herself through this. She had paid for her part in what happened but she felt compelled to keep it up. Her guilt must not be allayed. What she had done to Cissy was unforgivable even if Cissy didn’t know anything about it.

“He died in the war you know? The first war. The Great War. We were so happy but he felt he had to go help the troops to fight for freedom. He would say, ‘Those boys out there are dying Cissy. They need our help and I am able. I’m a good shot. I can’t let boys of 19 and 18 and some younger fight when I could stand next to them and defend them.’ He was always thinking of others like that.” Her expression changed to grief. “I miss him everyday.”

“I understand,” was all the comfort Catherine could offer.

“Did you lose someone close to you too?”

“Yes I did.” She didn’t elaborate and Cissy didn’t push the matter. She never did. She was always sensitive about such things.

“Yes," Cissy continued after a few moments, "they took my husband. He fought along side those young boys and he defended them. It cost him his life but he would have given more if he could have. His act of heroism saved Ben’s life. And Ben has in turn devoted his life to taking care of me. He’s a good man, Ben is. Solid and able bodied. And he understands my grief.”

Catherine looked in the window again to see Ben watching them. Catherine waved but he only nodded his head once in acknowledgement. Catherine knew that Ben had suffered too; and suffered more now than ever since Cissy had come down with dementia. Cissy rarely remembered Catherine and sometimes she mistook Ben for James who had been Ben’s closest companion. It wasn’t Cissy’s fault. It was no one’s fault that Cissy’s brain just went back to the time when she was the happiest and then the most anguished. It was Catherine’s fault though that James had joined the Army in the first place. Catherine had been in love with James and he returned her affection but it was wrong. He felt guilty. He was trying to gain some distance from Catherine as well as wanting to help with the war. He had hoped that distance would bring an end to their relationship but that was never the way it worked. The distance only made her long for him more.

Cissy had never known about the affair. James' death had almost crushed the very life out of her as it was. Catherine had suffered her own pain in silence. Cissy's need for support and Catherine's guilt had demanded it. She couldn’t fall apart and she could never ever tell Cissy what had happened.

Now she had spent the rest of her life trying to atone for her sin and never feeling the relief of forgiveness.

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Anonymous said...

Wow, Pet, this is good stuff. You left me curious to know the rest of the story, and I feel the emotion of the characters. Moved to tears actually. Can't wait to read more. I love the song too.

Love, Mommy Dearest

Anonymous said...

Good writing, Becky! Looking forward to reading more!

Anonymous said...

LOL ... that last comment was from me! Linda

Jordyn said...

It feels like an odd part of the novel to excerpt because we have no idea of Catherine & Cissy's relationship (how they know each other, aside from loving the same man). It seems a little out of place (to me) for Cissy to start telling about all about her late husband without more of an opening.

Petunia said...

Love you Mama and Linda. I appreciate the encouragement and support.

Jordyn-Aw, an unbiased critique. I chose this excerpt because, well, it went the best with the song and I cut it small enough to fit in the blog but still tell enough of the story. I do need to work on connecting the two MCs in the prologue. I have rewritten this opening scene several times without being satisfied with it. It still needs lots of work. Thank you for giving me soemthing to focus my attention on.

Zibilee said...

Oh, I really like this! I would love to get a chance to read more of it, and I think that you have a really good grip on some heady emotions there. I am looking forward to seeing what comes next and to finding out all the ins and outs of this story. Great job!!

Lea said...

I really think this is great! It does seem like the reader is missing out on some details, like Jordyn said, but I think you wrote this very well.

Lol, now I really want to read the rest of the story!