After more than six weeks of semi-voluntary writing hiatus, I’m finally ready to get back to it. I’ve got several projects I could work on, but the one that seems to be poking its head up out of the ground most often is Dorian. I’m pleased, actually, because I love this project and I’d feared I’d come to such a screeching halt (multiple times) that I’d never actually finish it, which made me sad.
So sometime this week I’ll be opening the most current file (I can practically hear Lovely Agent cheering) and assembling my notes and trying to decide if what I have is really as good as I recall and if it inspires me to go forward.
In the meantime, this is what was once the original opening to the story, scribbled in a notebook in the wee hours of September 12, 2011. The fact that it still makes me shiver is a good sign, I think, because even though it’s no longer part of the story (it was a darling that needed to be killed), it did set the tone for everything that’s followed.
“Don’t look back, somethin’ might be gainin’ on you.” ~Satchel Paige
New Orleans, Louisiana
August 28, 2005
His entire life he’d heeded those words. His daddy’s mantra, borrowed from the great Satchel. “That’s as good advice as any given by a man, no matter what color his skin is.” So no, he’d never looked back. Always looked forward. Always forged ahead. But the joke was on him now. Because that thing that was gaining was coming from ahead, rushing headlong towards them with speed and fury and an unforgiving wrath that roared and howled at the injustice, but refused to let up, to divert its course. Oddly, he wasn’t frightened. God knows, he should’ve been. Even old timers had the sense to be good and scared of the fearsome beast that snarled and spit and breathed righteous fire. But not him.
No, if anything, he was hopeful. Hope. A simple word holding so much weight. There was hope it would all be swept away—the dirt and filth. The lack of decency and morals and basic humanity. Hope that the demons and monsters would be swallowed whole and erased—leaving nothing in their wake but perhaps the merest spun sugar dust sparkling in air washed clean and new. Evidence that once, they’d been good.
Despite appearances to the contrary, they’d all been good.
Once upon a time.
It had all once been so very, very good.