Thursday, August 09, 2007

Friday Snippets 5

Some orientation before we proceed to the story snippet. This is the beginning of a new story from the same story world and with the same POV character as Of Cats and Claws and Curiosities, the one that finished last week. This is the story world which I am working with for the 70 Days of Sweat challenge but these two stories are not from the new material as it will be awhile before any of that is polished enough to share. This story is going to take eleven weeks to dole out and even then some of the snippets will be longish for a blog post. In its entirety it is about 16K

There are more than half a dozen projected novels in this story world. Each one focused on a theme implied by the name of its POV character. This story like Of Cats belongs to Faye aka Jubilee Faith Gardner nee Fairchild. Of Cats is slated to have position one in Faith's novel, The Substance of Things Hoped For. Making Rag Doll Babies is slated for position three. The events in Of Cats occurred in late summer around the time of Back-to-School sales. The unfinished story slated for position two, Strange Attractors, which I have been focused on almost exclusively for the last two weeks of the Sweat challenge, takes place in September around Labor Day of the same year.

Making Rag Doll Babies
takes place on a single day in mid October of that year. Or at least one strand of it does. A second strand takes place a bit under ten years earlier. These strands are delivered in alternate sections that end in cliff hangers. The opening section, and thus all odd numbered sections, take place in what I consider the 'now' of Faith's novel. Next week's section and all even numbered ones thereafter take place on a single day about a decade earlier.

Strange Attractors
has fallen into the same pattern, with its 'past' strand taking place over a several month period about 12-15 years before. Another of the Faith stories is pulling in that direction as well. Thus I am seriously considering applying the same organization to Of Cats and even have a story in mind for it that sorta needs telling before Making Rag Doll Babies. A story that involves Cassie and her best friend Fancy and that long ago class room of Faye's alluded to in Of Cats. The story of a high-school production of Macbeth. OK. Well, only those of you who were with me last week will get that the significance of that.

Making Rag Doll Babies and Million Dollar Maybes


Faye sits at the piano with her eyes closed, music flowing from her fingers to flood the room with the notes of her impromptu fugue. The multi-paned, double doors of the Music Room were thrown open to the enclosed garden where autumn leaves danced with the fitful breezes, heralding the arrival of a season-change. A brindled kitten, alert to every sound and motion, chased and tumbled among them. A video camera on a tripod was directed at this scene its red recording light glowing in the twilight gloom. At the concert grand in the corner Faye played, needing no sheet music for this music was of her own making, composed to accompany the swirling and swaying of the breeze-flung leaves.

A breathless voice broke in upon her and her hands fell to the keyboard as if suddenly remembering gravity. She winced as the dissonant chord reverberated up her arm with the sensation of a toothache.

"I knew if I followed the music I would find you."

Faye swiveled to face the voice, putting hands to breeze-tossed curls. "You gave me a start, child." she said.

"I’m sorry for that, Miss Faye. I did ring the doorbell out front but I suppose it blended right in with your music. I need to trouble you for a big favor." The figure in the doorway was a confluence of shadow silhouetted against the luminous post-sundown sky.

"Hmmm." Faye went to the camera and switched it off. She had to stand on tip-toe to do so. Her shape in the nebulous light suggested that of a chubby child. But when she spoke, her voice betrayed the years of training it had incurred in its mellifluous yet deliberate intonation. "Is this request made in your official capacity?" She bent to turn on a lamp that sat on a low table flanked by wing-backed chairs. She sat in one and patted the seat of the other. "Come. Sit Ask." She smoothed her gray linen skirt over her knees, fluffed the ruffles of her pink blouse, and then bent to pick up the kitten now nuzzling her ankles and brought it up before her eyes where it promptly reached out with extended claws and pulled her spectacles off her face. "Ai! You’re a feisty one you are." Faye planted a kiss on the kitten’s nose and set it in her lap, where she distracted it from the pearly buttons on her blouse by massaging its belly as she looked expectantly at her visitor.

"Unofficial." Cassandra Cosgrove sat hesitantly on the edge of the seat as if poised for sudden flight. "As you can see I’m not in uniform." She gestured at her jogging suit. "But I go on duty in an hour. If not for that and the fact I’m biking to work tonight, I would handle this myself." She held her shoulders squared as though she were at attention, braced by the straps of a backpack. Her long black hair was plaited close to her head in preparation for the State Trooper’s cap that would soon sit there. The effect was far from severe though, for it was impossible to hide its lustrous abundance in a braid. Faye marveled at the play of light upon it, wondering as always how a thing so dark could be so luminous. Silence stretched taut between them. In the reticence of Cassie and the tenacity of Faith Gardner’s patience were echoes of a decade-gone classroom. She would not plead or prompt Cassie to go on.

Cassie closed her eyes against Faye’s calm scrutiny, drew in a deep breath and plunged in. "You know Briana Morgan. Mae Bea Morgan’s granddaughter." It was not a question.

"Briana." Faye breathes the name, fanning a flame of memories like images flickering on cavern walls, echoes of voices reverberating. A voice. Briana’s….


Next week we meet Briana. In two weeks, the scene above continues and we meet..... Nope. Not telling. That would spoil the surprise. But I can tell you that Wilma and Julia will be back.

5 tell me a story:

Susan Bischoff 8/10/2007 5:50 AM  

Beautiful scenery, Joy. I really enjoyed it.

Joely Sue Burkhart 8/10/2007 6:19 AM  

Very nice. I like the way you're weaving these snippets and characters together! I'm really looking forward to how you do the past and current threads.

Ann 8/10/2007 9:41 AM  

I liked the way you set the scene, very nice. I'm also looking forward to seeing how you weave the two threads together.

Anonymous,  8/10/2007 7:48 PM  

You know, its the details in your story that gives it that special touch. It reveals to me that you feel about this story as you might feel about an old and much-loved friend.

Bri 8/10/2007 11:04 PM  

I agree with the above. The weave of the story - and how we see these characters in different settings and different circumstances is what makes this so very interesting. Lovely snippet - great images - especially of the leaves and the music. Can't wait till next week!

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