To say that this is the best thing that ever happened to me is an understatement.
To say that this is the only good thing that has happened for a decade is true.
I know, that seems strange — but the last decade of my life has been such hell that there is no way to describe it. This is like light breaking over a horizon for me.
Years and years and years ago I set out with a dream to be a writer. Then life got in the way. Men got in the way. Work got in the way. Death got in the way.
At Constable and Robinson.
Here is the proof!
My short story “Flowering.”
The banana flower was a central motif for the story and so that is why you see it here.
Seeing myself in print is like falling in love or having the best meal ever or?
Seeing myself in a book with other esteemed writers and editors whose names I have known for years?
I can’t explain it!
But I know this. Every writer was once in this place.
I don’t think I’ve known how to stay alive this last decade. I really don’t.
So this is like having all the most regal truffles in the world handed to me.
The story ran at Erotica Readers & Writers back in 2011 I think it was.
I’ll show you the start of it, but please buy the book, because it’s crammed full of fabulous stories by all the best people. I mean, when I go in the local bookstore — I’m going to see this book on the shelves. I have no idea who is going to read my story and what they are going to think. I have no idea who my story might help?
I’m in print!
All over the world.
Here is the opener for “Flowering” —
It was after her mother’s death that Pris began to doubt her marriage. How long had it been since she’d felt love from him. She’d settled in at 28, with him, working hard through the long corporate years trying to build up something, anything, but it was always under a set of rules delineated by him that she operated. She’d finally been able to say the word “divorce” out loud and she was scared because what divorce meant was that she would be alone. All alone. He hadn’t wanted kids.
Who was I once? she asked herself. Before all this.
She’d wanted to tell him about the two times her heart had been broken but he had never wanted to hear. Talking made Pris feel close. Talking was intimacy. But he was silent. He’d said “I don’t want to hear it,” and brushed her voice away with a wave of his hand. He’d brushed her darkroom away too, in those years.
“This is a kitchen, not a darkroom,” he’d said, as he built shelves for her pantry. He wanted roast chicken, not pictures. The parameters had closed in until they had choked off whatever it was in Pris that was an artist, over time.
Out walking, after he’d left her alone in their house, after she asked, after she pleaded “please go,” she picked up her camera and took to the streets looking at light.
The banana plant’s flower hung like a jewel above her, dusk purple and magenta softened by the fog that hung over the city. It seemed to hold the kind of bursting promise her body was made of, as if it were an unplucked jewel that ripened orb-like, hanging among the green of the leaves.
There you have it.
For the rest?
You’ll have to get the book!
I feel good suddenly. Like something good is going to happen all of a sudden after this.
I really do.
aka Valentine Bonnaire