Sunday, 13 March 2011

Broken Heart Blogfest

Yep, it's time for yet another Blogfest! This time it's the Broken Heart Blogfest (click on the image above for more info!), which is being hosted by Dawn Embers over at It's In The Book.

I am sharing an excerpt from the former prologue to SUNDOWN, a prologue that was discarded due to its being entirely composed of backstory. So yeah, it isn't part of the novel anymore, but it still holds a special place in my heart. This is the last part of the prologue, and weighs in at 674 words:

Ten days after the death, I turned twenty-one.

I stayed in my room, but my mother came in at intervals, speaking to my back (the only part of me she could see from the doorway). She told me my friends had arrived, and I should come out so they could celebrate with me.

Celebrate. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to; it was that I’d forgotten how. And really, what was there to celebrate?

I hadn’t had a shower in a week, or eaten anything. I did recall having been forced to drink water, but I always spat the food out again. It was my body that rebelled, not me.

When my mother told me my friends were there to celebrate, I didn’t answer. I had no answer to give. Instead I just stared at the wall, shrouded in the Fog.

Later, my mother told me another friend had stopped by and brought a very special present: a goldfish. I should start thinking about a name for him, she said. He had character, and only the most special name would do. Did I want to come and say hello? He was waiting for me in the living room.

I didn’t stir.

Eventually my mother brought the fish into my room, placing him on my study desk. She told me to turn over so I could see him. I stayed where I was. Only after she left did I decide to follow her suggestion.

I was amazed by the monumental effort it took to simply roll myself over. It made me wonder how long it had been since the last time. Surely I must be developing bedsores.

That thought seemed to start a chain reaction in my head, leading to another thought and then another, thoughts falling like dominoes. Thinking of bedsores made me realise my hair smelled. Then I realised that all of me smelled. I started counting backwards to the last day I’d showered. I lost count and got to thinking how it seemed there were no days anymore, just one long endless Fog in which nothing meant anything. I realised my world was grey, without definition. Sometimes I couldn’t tell one moment from the next. But I knew some things, at least: my hair needed a wash; my scalp itched; and there was a fish.

In the fishbowl across the way, a shining little creature floated. All other thought ceased as I laid eyes on him. He swam in languid, stupid circles, and I remembered that goldfish were meant to be stupid…but in that moment, I was sure that this one had all the answers. He was wiser than all the humans I’d ever met. He knew what life was about: swimming, staring, swimming some more. Gills in, gills out. Wait for the little flakes of food to hit the surface and float slowly downwards. Gills in, gills out. And swim. Just swim.

As I stared at the fish, a name floated out of the Fog: his name. Ferret. A very wise fish.

I watched him circle his bowl, little gills moving in and out, and began to marvel at the simplicity of it all. To live was to swim, to eat, to float through space and time. And always to breathe. Just to breathe.

I composed a song while in the Fog, lyrics floating to me much as Ferret’s name had. In the beginning it only ever played inside my head. It was months before I wrote anything down on paper. By that time the song had solidified inside, shining in the darkness like goldfish scales.

“Can’t get up today

My staring eyes

Will I fall apart?

Just breathe…”

There would be shimmering chords, soaring vocals. There would be heartache in every strain. But as I played and sang my heartache would pour out of me. The song would be my release, and in turn it would release me.

Out with the words, the feelings, and the tears.

But only when I was ready would another soul hear it.

And a little aside - the lyrics are from an actual song of mine.

Now I'm off to read the other entries so far!


  1. Cool contest! It's so daring to share your work on line...I've been too chicken to post samples so far, but I'm hoping to work up the courage soon :)

  2. Christine, I just changed my mind about which excerpt I was going to share. So I've changed it already :P

    I am starting to only share stuff that I don't intend to try and get published.

  3. Wow, Ms. Christine, you amaze me (probably everyone around)

    The lines "The song would be my release, and in turn it would release me." and "swimming, staring, swimming some more. Gills in, gills out" are attention grabbing for sure!!

    with warm regards

  4. I enjoyed that little excerpt! It grabbed me anyway.

    Crusader finally making her rounds, dropping in to say hi.

  5. I really love this. It's moving, touching, gripping. Well done.

  6. This is beautiful. Captivating and moving, excellent!

  7. That was great! I so enjoyed it. I have popped over to Dawn Embers blog and became a follower. Great blogfest. Great Entry!

  8. I love this, thanks for sharing. And I sometimes hate that back story is so story-stopping, because I love back story. Sigh!

  9. All I read was "I hadn't showered in a week..."

    Wow... stinky character. That's just nasty.

  10. Love the lyrical prose, especially at the end. Never thought a goldfish could spark so much inspiration!

  11. This was great. I'm sorry you took it out of your WIP, but thanks for sharing it. Very poignant.

  12. Hi,

    Very touching scene takes, and I love the inner sense of MC's grief. Who died? ;)


  13. very gripping! Who died?
    Love how fish is what propels your character to remember to breathe, just breathe!

  14. Hey Tricia you've outdone yourself this time. This is gripping, melancholy and heart-breaking.


    Broken Hearts Blogfest Entry

  15. Thanks guys - yeah, I was sad to see it go, and yet when EVERYONE who read it started saying it was all backstory, even if it was nice backstory, I had a wee epiphany :P

  16. Oh, and her boyfriend died for those who wondered!

  17. I see what you mean about it probably not working out so well right at the beginning of a story, but it was REALLY well done. It was a very gripping way to describe depression after the death of a loved one without going into campy melodrama...not an easy thing to do!

  18. You cut this from your WIP? Sad to hear...maybe it can be worked in somewhere else? This is too good to remain on the cutting room floor. ;-)

  19. I did think that maybe the whole prologue could stand alone as its own short story.

    Sharon, yeah because it's got nothing to do with her meeting the hero, and the story's a romance, so...yeah. There are certain conventions that are apparently expected. :D

    It was a huge learning curve for me, when I first started getting this story critiqued.

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  21. This was good. I felt drawn in by your character's depression. I hope the fish helps her.

  22. Wow, beautifully written and I was along for the ride.


  23. This is beautiful. I really enjoyed reading it. I want my own fish now.

  24. Lovely! Fish are awesome. This reminds me of that song from Finding Nemo: Just keep swimming, just keep swimming, just keep swimming, swimming, swimming...

  25. Thanks guys, glad you enjoyed :) I've actually never had a fish as a pet. But I think they're kinda cool :D

    My aunty had a yabby called Bruce once. lol

  26. Impressive. That was some deep emotion she hung on that poor fish.

    Loved the name.


  27. The last few lines were powerful. Anyone who has ever suffered heartache will know what that feels like- wanting so desperately to let go but not feeling ready to do so. This was amazing. Well done.

  28. Wow. Very well done. Thanks for entering such a sad and wonderful section of a story for my blogfest. This is great and while I have no idea who the main character is, I'd like to know more. Wish I had a name to match the character. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this well written piece.

  29. Thanks Donna, F and M and Dawn for your comments :) Glad you enjoyed the excerpt.

  30. Grief is expressed in many ways. Songwriting and poetry are some of the most heartfelt ones.


Thanks for your words, me hearties! and don't forget to leave a link to your blog somewhere I can find it!