Saturday, October 8, 2011

What I'm Writing {4}: Anger, Overreactions, and Metaphors


So, I've been a little MIA (as in gone, not as in the rapper) lately because 1) my life suddenly got busy and 2) Farrah, an Internet friend of mine and fellow book blogger signed a contract with a literary agent and I am jealous (and also super, super proud of and pumped for her) and I want an agent and now I am competitively motivated to have what she has. So I've been writing a ton so that I can have this sucker finished and then start querying like a crazy mad lady.

So on the writing front: what I have discovered lately is that I love irreverent, bizarre metaphors and imagery—stuff that is jarring and a little subversive and perhaps kind of violent and not at all what you expected to read, but that still somehow makes sense. So, I've been trying my hand at writing them. And let me tell you, they are NOT my forte. I'm far more comfortable writing dialogue and descriptions rather than metaphorical, figurative stuff. But! I need to make myself uncomfortable so that I can grow, right? RIGHT.

So, now comes the scary part: letting the Internet read the (maybe horrible) stuff I've come up with. But, I need to know if it's horrible or horribly clich├ęd or horribly-awesome, in the Doctor Horrible kind of way. (Also, if you've never seen Doctor Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, GO! GO NOW! To the Netflix and FIND IT. It's streaming. You're welcome.)

Ok, let me set up the scene for you:

Dan and Willa (If you have NO IDEA who those people are, click here.) are Skyping so they can plan their fall travel weekends. While Skyping, Sophie (Dan's girlfriend Willa doesn't know about) calls Dan and he answers the phone and Willa, who is in full-on, head-over-heels crush mode for Dan, overhears their conversation. This is how she reacts.

I didn’t want to ask the next question. But I had to know for certain.

“So, you and Sophie are . . . ?” I said to Dan. He immediately became very still and the smile faded from his face. It even faded from his habitually smile-filled eyes.

I could feel my heart slow. Where my blood was racing through my veins earlier, I would swear it was creeping along now, as if it had hit a sudden traffic jam. Suddenly, I was cold. I wanted to get up and grab a cardigan or a blanket, but since I had begun to feel numb all over, I wasn’t sure if my body parts were working properly. Why didn’t he just answer the damn question already?

“Dan?” I said, impatiently, my voice a little more shrill than I intended it to be. I already knew what the answer was. But I had to hear him say it.

“Sophie is, um . . . ” He let the sentence fade into nothingness. “ . . . Willa . . . ” He said my name longingly, his eyes looking straight into mine through the webcam, begging me to drop the question. It actually looked as if he didn’t want it to be true himself. As if it was somehow paining him to tell me the truth. And even via webcam and behind his glasses, his stupid eyes were so emotive and shockingly colorful at the moment that I wanted to just forget the question and joke around with him and curl up with our future that had been so vivid just minutes ago, and pretend I’d never heard of stupid, gorgeous, ambitious Sophie.

But none of that was real. I stared back at him with hard eyes and a stony resolve. “Answer the question, Dan.”

After an icy, silent, tension-filled couple seconds he finally said, “Sophie is my girlfriend.”

 I could feel my heart tearing open and bleeding. When I looked down, I was shocked to find that blood wasn’t seeping through my tank top. I felt stupid for not realizing he didn’t feel the same way about me and thinking that a couple hugs and a goddamn kiss on the fucking forehead was more than friendly.

After I’d told Ana about the forehead kiss, I was mooning and smiling and giddy.  She had said flatly, “I don’t see what the big deal is about a kiss on the forehead. That’s what, like, grandparents do to their grandkids.” At the time I’d been too happy to care. But now I see that she’s right. God, she’s always right.

“Willa, say something.” Dan’s eyes were now pleading and I saw that my image on the screen was terrifying. My eyes were dark and my mouth was thin and taut and the arteries on either side of my neck were sticking out because I was clenching my jaw so tightly.

I had no idea what he wanted me to say, so I went with “I have to go.”

“But, what about planning our flights?” he asked. I laughed humorlessly, a cold, harsh sound that probably would have terrified small children and the super religious. I suddenly couldn’t stand to look at him anymore. I had to make him go away.

I closed my laptop without even saying good-bye. I sat in silence for a couple minutes, unsure of what to do. I wanted to scream and cry and break things. But that wouldn’t change the situation. And I’d have to clean up a physical mess in addition to the emotional one I already was.

So I did the only other thing I could think of at the moment.

I called Samuel.
 © Bethany Larson, 2011

So there you have it! Was it too much? Too ridiculous? Too weird? Not enough? Really bad? Let me know your HONEST opinions in comments, s'il vous plait


  1. Have I told you how much I want this book to be written already? lol I am so hooked already!!

    I didn't find it cliche, and feel it's a very realistic reaction to someone you like telling you they have a girlfriend. I know I would've reacted the same way!

  2. Not sure I saw any bizarre metaphors. I really liked this bit. Especially the end about cleaning up the physical and emotional mess. Really liked the sound of that.

    As these little shares ;)

  3. Aw, I just now saw this! I'm very behind on my blogger lurking ;) Thank you! I'm stoked to read your work when it happens to you :) This right here is awesomesauce!

  4. Holy batballs, that was fantastic!

    What does a girl have to do to be able to get to read the entire story? I'm a new follower so I'm trying to catch up on all things Dan and Willa so please keep the updates coming. Just from this small part, I'm already a fan and would love to read more.

    Good luck trying to get published too, after all of the little tid bits I've read about Dan and Willa, I'd definitely buy your books! =)