I’m at 16,342 words as of last night. I’m exhaling as I say that. At any rate, I know last night who is telling the tale of Natasha Evergreen and he actually will have a biggish place in the book, but more toward the middle. Who am I writing this for? College girls. So I have a synopsis over in Nanowrimo — it’s this:
She’s only twenty two when she falls madly in love for the first time. Only he’s the wrong guy. He’s her Art teacher, and he’s ruthless when it comes to the pursuit of her. Can she survive him? Will there be another love, later? This novel takes you into the darkness of a love affair and out the other side. Follow Tasha, and see. She’s stronger than you think. Sometimes staying alive will be the hardest thing you ever have to do. Sometimes you just have to get through college.
This is something I read this morning from Raymond Carver, and it couldn’t have been more appropriate…
“I loved you so much once. I did. More than anything in the whole wide world. Imagine that. What a laugh that is now. Can you believe it? We were so intimate once upon a time I can’t believe it now. The memory of being that intimate with somebody. We were so intimate I could puke. I can’t imagine ever being that intimate with somebody else. I haven’t been.”
― Raymond Carver, Where I’m Calling From: New and Selected Stories
This is a story of being madly in love.
It’s also a horror story in a way? Because of what happens to my protagonist, and her love for the married Art teacher she spends three years with.
What happens is going to be a terrible, terrible thing. It will shatter her emotionally for many years to come, and so I am writing from that place so that this can be a cautionary tale for other young girls. As I was thinking of it initially, it was a little like Love Story mixed with Bell Jar, except told by me. Was Love Story the same thing? Maybe so. We know Bell Jar was.
I have said it’s a feminist tale, and that is true. I would like it to be part of a syllabus in Women’s studies. I know, that is shooting for the Moon but why not?
So anyway, today listening to Joni Mitchell and this one, it takes me back so far I can go into that room where we were so in love and bring it right to the surface all over again. Probably nothing I have ever written is this hard. I really mean it. Or this serious.
That’s all I can say today. I have about 2,000 words today to go. I can do it. The story is up in Wattpad. “Where I Laid Me Down To Sleep.”
Can you save somebody from making a big mistake in life? Does a writer owe that to an audience?
Maybe so, if you are a Capricorn like me.
This is the voice of my narrator Tim, now — from yesterday. He will be telling the tale in first person, about this girl Natasha.
I didn’t even know what to say when I got off the phone with Natasha that night. I mean, she always treated me like I was her older brother and nothing more. But I was in love with her from the moment I saw her in High School. To her I was nobody but Tim. Good old Tim, the poet from English class. Oh sure, she didn’t know half of the poems I’d written were about her, did she? I’d never shown them to her. I was way too shy in those days. So what if I was only twenty five. I didn’t love her like a sister, that was for sure. She wasn’t anything like my sisters, and besides she was younger than me. *Good old Tim,* that’s all I was ever going to be to her, wasn’t it?
I don’t think I ever heard a girl cry like that. All I wanted to do was put my arms around her and hold her as the story came tumbling out of her over the phone. I wanted to ask her how school was going. By the time we were through talking, I wanted to punch that guy.
“I think I love him, Tim.”
That’s the last thing she said before we hung up. After that call I called Jeff and we went to a party. Both of us got laid that night. Some chicks are just one-nighters you know? But girls like Nastasha weren’t. I was so hungover the next morning I couldn’t even see. So was Jeff.
“Let’s go surfing, Dude.”
He was groaning as he woke up. I could hear his headache over the phone, as if it were hammering just like mine. “Dude, let’s just go. Now.”
“Meet you at Hammonds,” he said. “In half an hour.”
Sometimes it would be a whole lot easier if life was like the tide. Every morning washed clean, without footprints.