So I had started working on a story, but I honestly haven’t given much thought to it in awhile. I don’t even know if this is going to be a short story or turn into something longer. I think I’m trying to work out some things with the plot and I don’t know which way to go yet. Basically the story is about this young woman who can read minds and she thinks that she’s the only one of her kind until one day she meets a Desai, a guy who shares her same abilities. They’re obviously connected in some way and they can’t stop until they find out why they’re so much alike. Periodically, I’ll post bits and pieces of my story and I welcome feedback. Here’s the first part:
I’ve always been a strange child, not knowing who I was or where I came from or why certain things happened to me. Growing up I was always different. The change happened on my 7th birthday. That first voice changed everything for me. It scared me, freaked me out more than anything I had ever experienced in all my seven years of life but funnily enough it was my father’s voice, but it wasn’t him saying the words…at least I didn’t think so. At that very moment when I thought I was losing my mind I concentrated on my father’s mouth, his words, and even his facial expressions. However, the words I heard in my head were not in sync with the rest of the world. They were different, earth shattering.
I want a divorce.
I saw my dad. He was smiling, laughing. He had his arm around my mom singing “Happy Birthday” to me as I was waiting to blow out my candles. It—it just didn’t make any sense. Maybe I was imagining things, but as I looked closer at my dad there was something else there buried behind his eyes that I never noticed. I wouldn’t realize until later what that emotion was. Regret.
Regret for what I didn’t know. Maybe he felt regret for even considering a divorce, maybe it was regret for building a life with another woman that me and my mom later found out about. At the moment that I recognized the regret I studied my mom. The way she moved, her face, and what I saw was the exact opposite. I saw genuine happiness there. Only the happiness that I could now understand as a 30-year-old. At that moment, at that party, I heard my mom’s voice.
I’m so happy to be here with my family.
The realization hit me. My mom didn’t know. She had no idea that her world was about to turn upside down, but I was only seven years old at the time. How could I stop the heartache that was evidently coming?
I would like to pose a question. Why is it that most of the time amazing, creative people such as Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, H.P. Lovecraft, and several others don’t get to see the fruits of their labor. It always makes me incredibly sad when I research these people and find out that they didn’t get recognized for their work until AFTER they died. Why?! And most of them also died penniless and it’s just so incredible to think that these people struggled until their death pursuing their passion and making nothing of it when I as person know the kind of mark that they’ve made in pop culture. As I’ve mentioned in recent posts I’ve not too long finished reading Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, which follows the highs and lows of Zelda’s relationship with famed author F. Scott Fitzgerald. A lot of the book was centered around Scott’s manic obsession with being the best writer in the world and solidifying his mark in American literature and then he never got to see what kind of impact he made. The Great Gatsby is his most notable work and it has been made into two movies and his novel is read by high school and college students every year. These true creative minds will never see how they made a way for future writers and that they truly became literary icons.
I sit here thinking about what I’ve just read. Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler explores the tumultuous life of Zelda Fitzgerald and her often times toxic relationship with world renowned literary genius, F. Scott Fitzgerald. As much as this novel is about Zelda, Fowler also gives us a poignant look at the kind of person Scott probably was, which I have to say is not very appealing. I know this is a fiction novel, but it is based on two historical figures and historical events so some of it has to have a measure of truth to it. This couple embodied what life was like in the Roaring 20s. Scott himself coined the term Jazz Age, and Zelda was one of the first flappers.* As you read on though you begin to see their relationship disintegrate and more often than not I felt my heart go out to Zelda. In a lot of ways Scott was manipulative, jealous of her success, controlling, and condescending. He was also a huge alcoholic, which didn’t help the situation. All Zelda wanted to do was be her own person, but by society’s standards it was nearly impossible. She was quite a writer herself and contributed many diary entries to a lot of Scott’s work and had things published on her own but she was always told that her work would sell better under Scott’s name, under her husband’s name. She was struggling to find her own identity, but I have to say that there were also times that I sympathized with Scott. He was an up and coming writer who was looking to make a mark in American Literature and it was a hard, bumpy road. To me, as I was reading this book it seemed like Scott and Zelda were both toxic to each other. I found them to both be obsessive and passionate people who liked to push their limits. Scott was obsessive when it came to his writing. He lived for it. There was something in the book where he says without his writing he doesn’t exist and I believe that’s a very strong statement. Zelda, on the other hand, also had an obsessive nature especially when it came to ballet. She worked herself into exhaustion, dancing hours a day to meet perfection. Dancing partly destroyed her, and I think it all became too much on top of everything else. I believe that Fowler did an astounding job at capturing the essence of these historical literary figures. Even though some of the book is falsified it took a great amount of effort and research to make this story come to life. Scott and Zelda were both larger than life and wanted nothing more than to be remembered.
“There are so many ways to be a writer, but I felt I understood writers in general, inasmuch as I think writers can be understood. We all have something to say and we require the written word–as opposed to musical instruments, or pain, ore canvas, or clay, or marble, or what have you–to say it. Not all writers want to be profound (though an awful lot of them do); some want to entertain, some want to inform, some are trying to provoke the most basic, universal feelings using a minimum of words.”~Zelda Fitzgerald, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald*
*flapper: (in the 1920s) a fashionable young woman intent on enjoying herself and flouting conventional standards of behavior
*This excerpt from the novel really spoke to my soul because I feel as a writer this hit the nail on the head. Oftentimes writers are looking to make a mark, a difference with their writing. Writing is the only thing that soothes us. That’s why I could empathize with Scott on that level as a writer myself. I see my writing as a way to heal others.
I was inspired tonight because I’m going through some personal issues so I decided to write out my feelings.
I see myself doing these things
Lost without a thought
Sabotaging my own body
And sanity too
What did Paul once say?
The body is at war with itself
Flesh against spirit
It’s a hard battle to win
Unless you sacrifice yourself
So I started reading a new novel a few days ago called Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald written by Therese Anne Fowler. A historical fiction novel that basically follows the life of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the author of The Great Gatsby, and his wife Zelda. I call Zelda a Renaissance woman because she was different than the other women of her time especially from the area of the United States she was from. She was born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama (a true Southern belle). She was different than the girls she grew up with because most Southern women of that time aspired to be wives and mothers and Zelda wanted so much more than that. She was essentially a free spirit, so when F. Scott Fitzgerald showed up in her town being a soldier he opened up a whole new world to her. He was a also a free spirit, a writer and a dreamer. He had big dreams of getting his first novel published, This Side of Paradise. Eventually after some revisions of his manuscript the novel gets published and he has Zelda move to New York for them to get married. It wasn’t a smooth road to say the least. There were some bumps along the way, but they finally get married and now they’re living the high life living in the beautiful Biltmore hotel, drinking champagne every night, and staying up until the crack of dawn. As most people know though the Fitzgeralds had a pretty tumultuous relationship that quickly became tragic. They had bitter fights fueled by lots of alcohol and I feel that their tumultuous relationship was caused by two people that were fiercely passionate. As I read through this novel it will be interesting to see how Fowler tackles those points of their relationship.
Edgar Allan Poe is considered to be the man that started it all. He’s considered the father of horror and the father of the detective story. Poe has influenced many writers today. For me most recently I’ve noticed that Stephen King has taken a few pages out of Poe’s handbook. I believe there was a scene in IT that I read that eerily reminded me of Poe. More specifically something reminded me of “The Pit and the Pendulum.” There have been many other scenes like that of Stephen King’s that reflected Poe’s own style of writing. Is it any wonder that Stephen King is considered the modern day father of horror? It’s just like Poe passed the torch because there was no one else like Poe in his time. He was amazingly disturbed and his writing was dark and horrifying and Poe’s writing reflected your deepest fears. Heck, his writing reflected his deepest fears. I believe Stephen King is on that same level. He has distinguished himself from today’s writers. He’s gained this well-deserved reputation as an amazing horror writer. Horror is what he’s known for and much like Poe his writing reflects your deepest fears. Take IT for example, which is a story about an evil entity that loves transforming into a clown. When King wrote that he knew a lot people were terrified of clowns. Him and Poe were just ahead of their times. They knew how to push boundaries and get a reaction out of their audience and they succeeded. I’m a fan of both!