Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Readying myself

I'm preparing myself for the long arduous process of the first edit of Willow's Blood by re-reading and doing some light editing on Troubled_Waters (the first book in the series).

Rereading work you wrote two years ago is always a crap shoot. Sometimes you read it and go, "Yes. That's exactly right. I did that well." Other times you read it and think, "I should stop writing before I hurt someone."

Today was a mixed bag. However I did run across one section I feel secure with posting. It's probably one of my favorite scenes because it's probably the first time I saw the murderer clearly in my own head:

Sevin sat in the front between aunts, cousins and Warren. Just behind her sat Stephen, dressed in a dark blue suit, gaunt and silent, sitting as close as he dared to Sophie's family, one of them only in that he loved her.

One by one friends shared their stories as the power point played out behind them on a huge white screen. In the photos she was always surrounded by friends, in the center of en mass hugs, dressed in Halloween costumes, reindeer noses, waving, laughing. Someone said she could carry on a conversation by herself and was the root of all get-togethers. Classmates gravitated to her apartment for dinners and parties on an almost weekly basis because she was an excellent cook and a better hostess. A young woman stated that Sophie's greatest draw was how she loved without reservation and that everything she did sprang from that. And everyone laughed softly when they remembered how she sought out debate for the fun of it and was always right, even in the face of evidence that said otherwise.

As she listened, Sevin wondered if she knew her sister at all.

Herself, Sevin spoke only briefly, making all the prepared hollow comments, thanking everyone for coming, and telling them she was sure Sophie would deeply appreciate their attendance. She scanned the room, sweeping through the teary girls and the tight-jawed young men, wishing there was something she could give them which would give the whole thing some kind of logic. But she had nothing. This should not be a funeral celebrating a twenty-two year old's life, but of a woman who had lived full and long and died in her bed at the ripest of old ages. There were no words for that.

The room stirred and settled as she wrapped up her speech and started to ask them to stand in respect as the pallbearers carried out her sister’s remains.

This is like a wedding in reverse, she thought. Holy Jesus. This just shouldn't be.

Her gaze fell on Stephen in the second row and she saw he was thinking the same thing. He placed his hand over his eyes as a soft sob shook him. Her own grief washed over her and her vision blurred. She wiped her eyes, staring hard at the back of the church, beyond the mourners, looking for a blank spot to focus on. Instead she found a black shirt.

Someone hadn't gotten the word, she thought, focusing on the stranger wearing it.

He was older than the group he stood with, though he was clearly not with them. Dark hair, mustached, not handsome, but not homely; not notably anything, except dry-eyed and dressed in black. He met Sevin’s sweeping look with unblinking green eyes.

And he smiled.

Sevin faltered. Though every cell within her screamed for her to look away, she was awash in her sister's murder, seeing it in detail all over again. His eyes widened and his lips parted, closed and opened again, his arm rising from his side as though he was about to beckon to her; his hand, a tattoo of a star on the back, came up. She was staring at her sister's murderer and he was entering her mind as though it was public domain.

Sevin took a step, her own mouth opening in a round O, her own arm raising to point him out. She was going to meet the man who had killed Sophie. She was going to understand why.

A loud choking sob from near the front broke the spell. Sevin glanced away, took in Stephen's heaving shoulders, blinked, and then back. The stranger was gone and the crowd filled the space he'd left behind as though he hadn't been there in the first place.


Big Plain V said...

Great piece, Mary. Grief is tricky as hell to write (and not over-write).

Regarding your comment on my blog, go ahead and email me. I'm reconnected.

Mike said...

Hey, why'd you stop there? I was just getting into it!

Mary Paddock said...

Thanks Ray. A friend of mine who'd lost his own sister a few years before I wrote this said that I did a good job of capturing the weight of the grief. In this case I had to balance it against the appearance of the murderer in the book.

Mike-Umm. It's kind of attached to an entire book which won't fit on my blog too well (and agents don't want work that's already been posted in its entirety anyway)--but thank you for the compliment. I'm glad it got your attention.