Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Novel Excerpt

I promised myself I would have a rough first draft to hand off before I got on the plane. And I'll do it if it kills me:

Here we go...some paragraphs that I like right now from the first chapter:

1) The UN director’s speech was merely expensive white noise. Possibly, it was more to the parents. But not to the gin-soaked graduates; their cheap gowns clinging to their overpriced underclothes. They were roasting in the sun, they were blinking sweat from their lids, they were flipping back and forth through the program and complaining about the band’s arrangement, their trouble securing last-minute reservations at the town’s only two decent restaurants and bragging about last-minute trysts. A. felt Kyle’s head roll onto her shoulder for the thirteenth time, and shook him off with a violent jerk.

2) Growing up didn’t mean you saw the infallibility of your elders, A. had seen that long ago (that would be the second time her mother assaulted the gardener for destroying her prized Calla lillies, clawing at him with Campari-stained fingers in what broken Spanish she had deigned to learn, “No es beuno! No es bueno!”). It meant you came to terms with the fundamental and inescapable truth that you would forever be forced to love people you simply did not like. And if you had met them at a party, these family members, as real people, having to view and judge them as other real people in the world did, you might listen perfunctorily while downing wine, and steal glances for third-party rescue, and when it came, be very thankful.

3) Sloppy, thunderous applause eminated from wet hands. Someone groaned as the guy next to him pushed him awake. A. looked beyond the podium at the green carpet underneath a lane of towering spires. Aftermath. Trees swayed, kids swayed. They began to stand, shaking under the weight of themselves on legs that had fallen asleep. A. did not look to the rows upon rows of the football stadium. She did not want to see her mother in that ridiculous white hat with the enormous magenta flower, made specially for this day, making her way, deliberately to her, camera in hand, calling her baby, calling her anything. She did not want to see her cry, choked up with false pride, dabbing at her salt-licked cheeks with a scalloped-edged handkerchief. Kyle snored and Jodi squealed, but A. did not emit a sound. She was hyperaware of how grotesque this ceremony was, how obnoxious she had been about it every step of the way, how gratuitous they had all become in the image of their parents and caregivers, just because they could. And how everyone she knew was almost rewarded for it, commemorated, with the best of everything, parents handing over the world, even if they had next to nothing, they gave it all anyway. How funny that this—and their egregious spending habits, not entirely exclusive to this problem—this, was how the last of the Baby Boomers had changed the world. Funny. Not laugh aloud funny. More of a huh, half-smirk, funny how that guy died, funny, I don’t remember him. Funny, as in how no one seemed to notice it but her.


Anonymous said...

love it!

Anonymous said...

I love it also! Have a grand time on your trip!

Will you announce on this blog when your book will be published?

Anonymous said...

frankly, the first paragraph left me sort of breathless.

It's wonderful but.

You are such a tease. we want more.


Cathryn said...

This is REALLY GOOD!!!