Sunday, February 18, 2007


August 29

Afternoon yielded to sunset—the whole sky aflame as I covered the miles for home. Though still hot, there was the faintest trace of a breeze in the air from the North—something was changing in the weather, the season. Nights would soon grow cold in Indian Summer splendor. Idly, I wondered about Sam Kelley and how he’d fare out in his tent in the yard once the cold set in. It was as if I’d conjured him up, just by thinking of him. When the headlights swept over me, I didn’t even turn around. I knew it was Sam even before he stopped the truck, rolled down the window and said,
“Miss Angellini, can I drive you home?”
I didn’t answer, my hand was already on the door handle—my hand decided yes before my mind had fully considered it. I sat beside him in the suddenly small cab of Dom’s red truck, nodding when he cracked the window open further and ground out his cigarette.
“Sorry, mate,” he laughed, “I didn’t expect company.” He shut the ashtray guiltily, “Nasty habit this…”
“I’ve seen worse,” I answered quietly, watching the tunnel of trees as we crept towards the house.
No lights were on and the darkness was falling fast, he said, “I guess Dom is visiting his friend tonight. What about Kenna?”
“She’s at the stables late. School starts and this is her last full day.” I sighed, “Plus, she’s kind of hating me right now, so you know.”
“She’s what? Sixteen?”
I nodded.
“I’d say hating Mom is just about right at sixteen wouldn’t you?”
The grass needed mowing down in the field—I suddenly wondered when the last time I’d remembered to do that was. It was knee high and going rust-colored with the fading sun and the August drought. The windowsills on the house were flaking in great curls of robin’s egg blue paint, the vegetable garden—I knew without looking, needed weeding and staking. The clothes from a day earlier still hung, forlorn and forgotten, on the line along the side of the shed. I was overcome with weariness—with an odd feeling of sorrow.
“I don’t know—I was a mother at sixteen,” Then, surprising us both, I blurted, “What are your plans right now?”
“Right now?” he raised his eyebrows. “I was going to get cleaned up and then read a while before bed—we’ve got some heavy work tomorrow. Why?”
I tried to shake the image of Sam in the outdoor shower—the rivers of soapy water puddling in the grass—his vulnerable candlelit body.
“How about you come to dinner?” I asked, “I already got the stuff to make a quick pasta—now Dom won’t be here to eat it with me and neither will Ken.” A giant sigh lodged in my throat, until he answered.
“Of course. Just let me hit the shower first—then I’ll come up to the house.”
Without reply, I jumped from the truck and darted onto the porch, feeling dangerous and threatened by my thrumming pulse in my ears—by my beehive bones. Still feeling the insistent buzzing these hours later, watching for my daughter to come home. A mother with secrets all her own.
This fiction fragment is an unedited first blush piece of a larger whole I've been writing for several delirious, lovestruck months. The process of writing it--so far, has been a lot like a crush. Thinking of my characters when I'm not with them actively creating, loving how one moves and how another thinks, wanting to walk on their land as a lush summer yields to fall--while winter ices my windowpanes and closes me off from the garden and the hiking trails. This writing is my dessert when I've completed the day's editing of book one, Migration Summer. It has a working title (The Glass Saint Journals) and pages grow and grow like the vines along the edges of the characters' south field.
Editing is the hard part for me--the "work". Conversations with other writers show that I'm probably in the minority on this one, most of whom adore the act of fiddling with a sentence and shifting words around. They are true artisans, and it shows in their elegantly carved pieces. My misshapen words aren't touched until much later on--when I've had time and considerable distance from a piece...maybe, I'm learning, not even until I've started something new. Writing is like like love. Refining it afterwards is like cleaning up after a wild party with a slight hangover, spent glasses littering every available surface...glitter stuck in my hair. I am finally learning to strike the right creative balance, infatuated with my process and devoted to each meandering line.


Blogger paris parfait said...

Your writing is so beautiful, Delia. I love this story (and the mosaic) - and want to read more about these intriguing characters! As for editing, that's the easy part for me. I actually enjoy that part of the process.

11:19 AM  
Blogger Laini Taylor said...

Oh Delia, your "misshapen words"? You make me laugh! Your writing is so beautiful -- maybe the reason you don't enjoy editing is because it is scarcely necessary. This fragment seems to have been born perfect! I can see why you love your characters -- with this brief glimpse, I love them too. And I also love your metaphor about cleaning up after a party! It is kind of like that, I guess, but it makes me realize my own "parties" aren't that wild. I think my "parties" (my writing sessions) are more like dainty tea parties, and I clean as I go. It sounds very dull compared to your wild parties with you falling in love with your characters. Hm. I want THAT. I want writing hangovers, to sort of slump over with a sleepy grin and think, "What a great party!"

11:27 AM  
Blogger rubyslippers said...

Beautiful story...and I am with you on editing--by far not my favorite thing. But I agree with Laini--your work is so lovely--it hardly needs a change...

12:39 PM  
Blogger Remiman said...

A beautiful and intriguing piece. I feel the finished product will be well received.
Myself, I like to edit. It's who I am...always trying to improve something I've created. Some times to a fault!
Up to now my prose endeavors have consisted of no more than a page to a page and a half.(a page being one side of the paper) This weeks prompt inspired me to move beyond and try longer pieces..

1:51 PM  
Blogger Tammy said...

Your writing seems effortless and poetic. I would love to read it when it's done. Good luck!

2:00 PM  
Blogger Liza's Eyeview said...'re a talented writer. I'm glad I stopped by here to read your Sunday Scribblings. Enjoyed reading it - it's beautifully written.

2:14 PM  
Blogger Kamsin said...

I want to know what happens next! Lovely piece!

2:34 PM  
Blogger Becoming Amethyst said...

Well, what a tantalising morsel ~ I had no idea I had such a treat waiting for me today.. either I've a taste for the mis-shapen or that was nothing of the sort ;-)

And I can't help but agree with Laini that perhaps you hate editing so much because 'it is scarcely necessary'.

I LOVE your party metaphor, it's got me thinking about my own writing metaphors, and I've decided that writing isn't much like a party for me it's more like sex ~ sometimes I have to co-erce myself into writing because I'm tired and not really in the mood, but it's always worth the effort once I get going, and appreciate all the messy parts, the bits where I don't really know what I'm doing but I know I've got to keep going, as part of the process, and if I'm really lucky I'll lose myself out of time. As for the editing I actually quite enjoy it (don't hate me) because it's about achieving that peak (ahem) of near perfection (blushing).

I fear I went too far!

Perhaps all you really need to know is that I LOVE your extract and hope to read LOTS more :-)

3:48 PM  
Blogger Vanessa said...

It is so easy to get swept up into your writing, Delia... and now I want more.
I agree with Laini, what you produce in its raw (though not misshapen!) form sounds and tastes and smells like a finished product.
I love your party aftermath analogy and Claire's sex one too :)

4:55 PM  
Anonymous kristen said...

I feel so honored, to have had a glimpse at your work. I adore that your writing experiences feel like a delicious.

The mosaic made me think of the mosaic table I made long ago. sigh.

8:28 PM  
Blogger January said...

This is a great piece of writing, Delia (no surprise there). Hope you post the occasional snipets on the blog.

And I'm with you, I hate the revision process. Would rather clean the grout in my shower than revise my manuscript.

10:20 PM  
Blogger East of Oregon said...

what's next?

11:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I LOVE your writing and this piece...I always do! And IA with Laini (shocker) that you don't really seem to need much editing (I hate it too, by the writing tends to be of the fast and furious variety...maybe that comes with the motherhood territory?).

I can't wait to read the rest of your print! :)

1:47 AM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Your writing is so engrossing. I love to read you. I can't wait to read more.

Painfully yours..

10:04 AM  
Blogger Amber said...

Oh, I would read this book! I want to know what happens to these people. I love the line about a mom having secrets...It makes me smile. We are still women, even when we are moms...

And your writing is just so yummy! That is probably why you don't like to edit, because it already so wonderful.


12:37 PM  
Blogger la vie en rose said...

mmmm...i'm crushin' on these beautiful words...

3:21 PM  
Blogger Susannah said...

...sigh... i love this excerpt.. i want to read more.... and of course you already know my thoughts on the writing party :-) love letters are winging their way to you, my angel xo

6:23 PM  
Blogger miss magic said...

I can't wait until the whole piece is finished. Never stop writing, Delia!

6:47 PM  
Blogger The Whole Self said...

keep pluggin' away....the payoff is going to be SO worth it. your words are delicious.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Patry Francis said...

Two words: Yes! and More, please! (Okay, that's three.) So glad I didn't miss this. You are an amazing writer, Delia.

9:52 AM  
Blogger daisies said...

your writing is beautifully delicious, i see no misshapen words, only an enviable flow :)

i have a love/hate relationship with editing ... i really have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy that particular aspect of creation ...

4:16 PM  

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