Yes, yes, that sounded defeatist. I know. But it isn't, honestly and truly. It's just that finishing something really isn't my goal this July. Rather, my goal is to begin something. Some things, I should say.
There are currently three main ideas swirling around in my head, and I'm itching to get them down somehow, to start each story and let it begin to flow. And right now, I don't want to tie myself down with an accomplishment goal. I just want to write what I want to write. Yes, I'm going to work on The Rochesters. But I'm also going to work on The Butterwick Boardinghouse Detectives. And possibly The Color of the Sky [vewy, VEWY tentative title there]. And you are going to be hearing a whole lot more about each of those projects.
So, to celebrate these beginnings, I give you July Snippets, paired with pictures that have been inspiring me lately. (Most of the images are snagged from friends' Pinterest boards. I don't own anything, nor am I making money of this, yada yada yada.)
“Oh, quite, quite.” Mr. Payter buried his face in his coffee cup. A sip or two of the honeyed coffee covered his embarrassment and he was ready to converse again. Most people do not put honey in their coffee, but if you tried to tell that to Mr. J. Paxton Payter, he would merely fix you with a stern and quizzical eye and demand why that prevented him from doing so.
This highly interesting conversation (which, if you did not find interesting, you should go back and re-read in order to better develop your sense of humor) took place at a largish sort of dining table in a smallish sort of boardinghouse in a smallish sort of city. The name of the city is none of your business. If I did tell you its name, you would be on the next subway in no time flat, speeding your way towards the boardinghouse so you could get a hold of Miss McSmith for an interview and possibly even some photographs.
“Sylvia Lemmins, you’re wanted in the headmistress’s office.” The buck-toothed fourth grader who delivered this ominous message stared eagerly around the ninth-grade classroom, hoping that her statement would induce the kind of awed titters and whisperings that it would have in her own classroom. To her intense disappointment, the ninth-graders merely glanced up from their maps and regarded her with something akin to annoyance.
Mrs. Buchran’s office had always smelled rather oddly of butterscotch candies, the golden oval Brach’s kind that took forever to suck and made your mouth feel quite bland for a good while afterwards.
Celia regarded Mark with her best Miss Manners look. “Please at least pretend you're civilized and close your gaping mouth. It’s open so wide I can see your tonsils.”
Mark snorted. “No you can’t. I had them taken out two years ago.”
Celia’s voice dropped to an awed whisper. “And then he said… you know… A Word.”
Alice raised an eyebrow. She did not ask what the word was, but Celia went ahead as if she had.
“You know. The word… the word Rhett Butler doesn’t give.”
If it were physiologically possible for Timmy’s ears to prick up, they would have pricked up. “What doesn’t Rhett Butler give?”
“Hugs,” said Alice quickly. “He doesn’t give hugs.”
“Well, he doesn’t,” said Alice.
Timmy wrinkled his nose. “What kind of person doesn’t give hugs?”
More than anything, she wanted to relax and lean back against the prickly plush seat, maybe even tuck her feet under her or draw her knees up to her chin. But such a thing was, of course, unthinkable. The train was too crowded with people. Maybe some of these people even knew Uncle Gregory—anything was possible. No, she wouldn’t disgrace her newfound family by behaving unimpeachably on the train.
But best of all were the days when Margot would pause before she spoke to drink in the smell of the sun on the earth. “It’s a blue sky today,” she’d say, and wait for Fina’s inevitable question.
“What kind of blue?”
“Rich blue, royal blue, a blue for a princess, and golden sun warming the blue and deepening it.”
Fina would find her way to the window and they would stand together, letting the sun warm their eyelids until Alienor came and the day had to begin.
“Souci’s eyes are your favorite blue,” Margot whispered.
Fina leaned closer. “Tell me about them.”
She grasped for words, but nothing came. “I—I don’t think I can.”
“Deep blue? Or pale?”
“Deep, very deep, nearly as deep as the shawl she wears.”
“I cannot see the shawl she wears.”
Helpless, Margot shook her head. “It is blue with a green thread running throughout… and a tiny touch of silver.”
“And her eyes are like that?”
“Yes, in a way.”
Fina sighed. “And her hair?”
“So black as to be almost blue when the light touches it.”
“Is everything around us blue, then?”
Margot leaned back against the tree trunk and gazed up through the leaves. “Yes… almost.”
Fina drew in a sharp breath. “You cannot read for yourself the… the Holy Scriptures of our Lord.” The words came out as little more than breath, but even the flames’ crackle kept no one from hearing.
“And why should I not?” Henri’s face was turned toward Fina, though his eyes searched the fire. “They are the words of God, breathed by Him alone—and am not I a man, whose very life was also breathed by God alone?”