Biographical Fiction posted August 1, 2010


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The first page of my novel

The first page of my novel

by apelle

Write the first page of your novel Contest Winner 

"When the child was a child
It walked with its arms swinging,
wanted the brook to be a river,
the river to be a torrent,
and this puddle to be the sea.
When the child was a child,
it didn’t know that it was a child,
everything was soulful,
and all souls were one....."
 
Premonition, fatality, pregnant humor, confusion, randomness, expectation, and a few words strung on a large sheet of paper always gave me headaches.

I remember my first dictionary in an unknown language.  I am looking back now at incomprehensible points, digging in a jar of NUTELLA and staring out the window like a dud, trying to recover some older images: a street in a town.  Everything is useless without a specific meaning.

The bottom of the NUTELA jar acts like a lens.  Magnifying, magnifying, magnifying.  Facts, events, stars in the sky, pits, garbage cans, empty cigarette packages, titles of books,  prime numbers or the irrational, some odd words, travel tickets, opera performances, political intrigues, cross words.  It all looks like the Titanic wreckage, and me, I dwell with the same altruism as if searching for a lost glove.

What would be the first sentence of my novel?  Thing is, I do not like to hear myself talk but the phrases start flowing like wax on a lit candle.

I think of Goya for example.  He was deaf and never heard himself talk.

But I say blind, not deaf, you must be not to realize that Maja was his masterpiece.  He did several versions of the painting: dressed Maja and nude Maja.  She was a princess but the woe in her heart made it for the bitter strokes which Goya finished each painting.  It bored and revolted him all the same.

This is how you want to start the novel?  And what will the title be?

I will call it my first hundred pages of my first novel.  Then the second novel will be another hundred pages and so on.

It's clear how this internal conversation is absurd.  I will start over.

With age comes the moral right to a review and analysis of life experiences, to voice an opinion and tell what really happened to us.  This simple act of contemplation brings retrospection in a clear and calculated approach.  While the past events gurgle in the background, all contradictory events are marked and brought up to light.  How far is now the time when I started to create a new person within myself?  Initially a joke and a self-escape from the entrapment I often found myself in, a download of self in words and painted images, perfect sounding to anybody listening.  When I was in school, many years ago, I participated in art contests.  I confused teachers and tutors and it is precisely that, challenging the outset of my options, what tailored my destiny.  That is why I got into fine arts.  Intuiting my innate qualities, valences and virtuosity gave me the "proper brush handling" - in my sketches.

It is too late to regret anything now and my parents learned to watch my coming of age in silence and with less angst as the years went on.

Is that a reason I later used for my state of sadness?  After all what is this sadness?  In itself is dangerous, because if you let it in your head, everything changes!  I became depressed at some point.  I missed targets through false and naïve enthusiasm.  When left alone, I wanted to be with others.  Being with others and failing to integrate myself into the atmosphere, I preferred to be alone.  There is no happiness to remember without sadness.  The past lives, is active, takes part in today, and influences the present.  At some point, not sure when, I became the woman it was anticipated I would become, yet everything I wanted seemed to be somewhere beyond a wall.

 Small fragments snatched of a life lived intensely make up the memory.  Shining fragments like shards of colored glass, some dark - evil – others like the windows of a church, with nameless angels, some brighter than others.

I remember one summer vacation at my grandparents' for the first time without mom and dad, who, to my total delight, let me, chose my activities, so that I do not get bored.

All summer I looked with envy at the ripe cherries from the tree that basically grew along with me since grandpa planted it the day I was born.  I could never satisfy my appetite, because most neighborhood children were always climbing the tree or banging down branches, getting most of the red, juicy delights before me.

Since I always had a fear of heights, I spent my days circling the tree, working up my courage to climb it, but in vain!  Fear could not be defeated.

I always had a fear of heights amongst many others and that summer was the first time I realized howmost people in desperation and to overcome all their pitfalls, found an esoteric formula to keep track of fears .That involved first overcoming the fear of words.  Otherwise, why so many terms existed for most phobias: agoraphobia (fear of open spaces), claustrophobia (fear of enclosed spaces), dentophobia(this yes, is a fear that every child felt when he made the first acquaintance with the dentist!)  Agyrophobia (fear of crossing the street), Aichmophobia(fear of sharp objects), gamophobia (fear of marriage, the event itself, as a participant and witness), gerontophobia (fear of old age.

 Felix, a neighborhood boy either felt sorry for me or begged for attention so badly that he sprightly ascended to the top and came down as easily as a cat, filling my lap with ruby, fleshy fruits.

When I looked at the cherry tree on top of the hill, it felt huge,  like a living creature with thick limbs and eyes, red eyes, hundreds of cherry  eyes all staring at me  as I stood there perplex, squinting in the bright noon sun with a lap full of cherries .

 I never found a remedy for my fear of heights.  I also understood that there was no medication for any of the fears, as there were no pills, for example, for happiness or unhappiness, depending how you looked at it.
I look in the mirror now.  There have been more than twenty years since I was a dreamy kid.  Wrinkles outline my face and like a blind man, I try to convince myself that the mirror image is mine.  My fingers with long bones, the eyes, mouth, hair, are all outlined in an unknown and frightening way while my mind refuses to recognize them.

Fantasy was always the exchange of assumed roles and real identities, but which displaces which?  When the imaginary world became real—tangible—I found it hard to enjoy a moment of pure silence.

So I worked hard to capture a fantasy world in written stories.  Memories, took the center stage and I always looked for the right light shining on them, from the right angle until I identified my core with each and every one of them.  

The characters in my life are like Goya's paintings of Maya.  It's the same vision painted nude or dressed.
Many quiet nights, the cherry tree seeped into my dreams and fed my imagination.  Dream memories take on various paths .Trying to rediscover the mystery seemed foreseen, so I became a writer (or pretended to be one) and tried to pencil in everything in words.

 Before  I  wrote anything, I selfishly counted my dreams and memories, leaving  every  listener, completely confused, staring  at me, puzzled, not knowing what to believe: no one  can decipher the whole truth from my stories, as imagination and intellect  clashed from time to time .
 
 

Writing Prompt
If you decided to start writing a novel, what would the first pages look like ?

Write the first page of your novel
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