Friday, August 13, 2010

Taylor Swift Made Me Cry

Okay so I wasn't exactly crying. But there's been a lump in my throat all evening.

I'm going to guess that my hormones are bouncing around quite a bit as my body fights to return to fertility [can I get an amen to breastfeeding-induced amenorrhea?], but I don't care – emotions are real even if they're suped up.

John had downloaded the new Taylor Swift album for the girls to dance around to [what? He's getting sick of listening to The Chipettes?], and I got sucked into the lyrics against my will.

They're actually kind of good.

So I got curious about her – could she be more than just a teen sensation? – and checked out the Wikipedia entry for Ms. Swift. She's 20. All kinds of awards already behind her name. A rising star, I guess.

As a child, she won a national poetry contest. And spent a summer writing a 350 page novel. She wrote songs about her friends and learned to play the guitar. And now? Well, I'm sure you've heard of her. [Perhaps I'm the only one who hasn't bought her album yet?]

So then I started thinking about my own kids – what will they do? Be? And that's where I guess I started feeling weepy. So much potential, walking all over my house every day, leaving footprints.

From there, my mind wandered over to my novel. The unfinished one. I mean, the unstarted one. And I began feeling weepy about the fact that I'm not sure I'll be able to get myself together enough to actually write it.

I told John about how I was feeling all lumpy in the throat, and his advice, practical as always – Do something about it.

Okay, fine.

Here's the I'm-not-sure-where-this-will-go-or-even-if-I'll-keep-it first scene of my not-started novel. I have no idea where the plot is going anymore. But here it is. It's woefully short.

[Posting this here makes me feel a little raw. Exposed. But pinning it down into these solid black words is like netting some mythical creature and proving that it's real. I'm not looking for reassurance – I just want to believe I still have something to work with.]


The hot water had turned icy when Cadey finally stepped out of the shower. Moisture clung to every surface of the bathroom, fogging up the mirror and freezing on the window pane. She wrapped a towel under her armpits like a last-minute party dress and stepped onto the soft carpet.

Who puts carpet in the bathroom? Cadey thought to herself for the umpteenth time since moving in with her grandmother. She shook her head slightly as if to dislodge such a normal, sarcastic thought from her mind. She wasn't ready to feel normal. She couldn't.

She looked into the mirror but her form was anonymous, veiled in vapor. She opened the window slightly – it lifted in its tracks with brittle reluctance – and icy air punctured the steamy curtain.

As the heaviness of the air lifted, Cadey looked down at her toes. It still felt strange to be able to see them without craning her neck. She put her hand on her belly – soft, slack, empty – and tried to quell the sadness rising within her like a slow, dangerous tide. She squeezed her eyes shut and held her breath and pressed one hand against her chest so hard it hurt. But it worked – the overwhelming waters were starting to recede. She was so sick of crying.

With a slow, uninspired swipe, Cadey cleared the fog from a narrow swath of the mirror. She leaned forward until the reflection of her eyes filled the cleared space. They were the only part of herself that seemed unchanged by the past eight months. Everything else had betrayed her somehow, swelling or stretching until she hardly knew her own body. And though dark rings still circled her eyes, the irises were what they had always been – green, flecked with orange. Not an uncommon color but –

Cadey drew in a sharp breath and leaned even closer. Soft, brown eyes stared at her where green should have been reflected. She quickly cleared a larger patch of the mirror, half expecting her hand to sink into the surface of some enchanted pool. But the glass was solid under her palm and squeaked softly as she wiped with a quick zig-zag motion. She leaned back to take in the full image. A face that was not her own.

A wave of prickly adrenaline began at the base of Cadey's neck and traveled down her spine, materializing as something warm trickling down her inner thigh. She tore her eyes from the woman in the mirror just in time to see the first drops of blood soaking into the pale pink carpet. She instinctively crammed the towel between her legs and looked back into the mirror. The woman was gone. She saw only herself – blond hair dripping, green eyes wide.


Well, that's it. Now I really need an outline… 

I have a long way to go.