Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Chapter Seven Part B

Happy election day for those of you who are in the U.S. I hope you voted. This is the first time we've got to vote in an AZ election since we've been home. When we lived overseas, voting was tough. Easy this time. Of course, I was glued to the coverage. Just like I'll be glued tonight. I promise to get back to scribbling in the morning. 

I had to go back to the dentist today for some drilling. Our new dentist is great, but my head is still kind of fuzzy from the shot. Please, turn a blind eye to huge errors! These are rough drafts. 

Thanks for all the help with character names. I'm going with Alex for the dive girl. It's going to be tough to choose the guy names. They are all great. Maybe I'll have to add more characters. I was thinking that Leesie's roommates need to find out something's happened to her by now. That could be another good chat. I think we'll hit 15,000 words tomorrow. That's a third of the novel. Only 45,000 more to go. 

I'm in the mood to press ahead and revise more later. I hope you're all in the same kind of mood. 


Kimbo69 says: Leesie living with six guys? That’s a picture I can’t process.
Leesie327 says:  Ick. You make it sound like they’ll be passing me around.
Kimbo69 says:  And the girl sounds fishy to me.
Leesie327 says: Michael says Alex is like one of the guys.
Kimbo69 says:  But she jumped to get him hired.
Leesie327 says: Michael says when they are down two dive masters it puts all of them at risk—too much diving. They could get bent. It’s dangerous.
Kimbo69 says:  She went after him for her health?
Leesie327 says: She didn’t go after him.
Kimbo69 says:  She convinced him to move in with her.
Leesie327 says:  I’m moving in with her.
Kimbo69 says:  Yeah. That’s a nice touch.
Leesie327 says: Michel and I are way beyond that petty stuff.
Kimbo69 says:  And I’m not? Mark and I aren’t? We’ve been together way longer than you have.
Leesie327 says: Our situation is different. No one else exists for either of us.
Kimbo69 says: Liar. You are insanely jealous.
Leesie327 says: Shut up.
Kimbo69 says:  Be honest.
Leesie327 says: Okay. I’m scared. I’m scared to leave here. I’m scared to unplug the hospital strength pain killer. I’m scared she’s pretty.
Kimbo69 says:  You’re pretty.
Leesie327 says:  I’m so hideous now.
Kimbo69 says:  Michael doesn’t think so.
Leesie327 says:  What if she has long hair?

POEM #76,

First day off morphine starts
off sore—even after I swallow
their pills. “You’re job, young lady”—
the doctor hands me a full bottle
of pain-a-cide—“is to take these pills
only for pain—not comfort, not anxiety.”
His golden Cayman tones echo off the
sunny walls. “Don’t skimp at first.
Taper off as soon as you can.”

I can’t eat breakfast—or even drink
my smoothie. I manage not to puke
my guts up but just barely.
The sore gets worse and worse,
but no way I’m telling because
he’s moving in tomorrow and I’m
going with him.

Michael gets excited when they
unwind the figure eight bandage
that’s trussed my collarbone in place.
“Keep your right arm in the sling.”
Sugar moves it gently back in place.
“But you can move it to dress and bathe.”

Michael rushes over to the tourist trap
across the street, comes back with
a bulging, plastic bag. “Let’s REALLY go
to the beach.” The dressing on my nose
now is more of a brace than a cast.
He tosses the bag on my lap.
I pull out a hottest pink, tropical print
bikini. “You’ve got to be kidding?”
My ribs are unwrapped, but still
black and blue. Bikinis are contraband.
Doesn’t he know the rules? Is this a hint?
Or is he as clueless with this as he was me
moving into an apartment full of guys?
He digs in the bag and pulls out a t-shirt.
“I got you one to match mine.”

My day’s been too long already. If only
I could lie in bed with the shades pulled down
counting the waves of pain. But
I’m fine. Remember. Nothing wrong today
or tomorrow.
Sugar helps me change, wraps my hand cast
in a bread bag. “Don’t get your face wet
or sand in your boots.” She just washed them.
They stunk so bad. She sprays my head with
sunscreen and ties a scarf around the stubble.

I limp half way. Michael carries me the rest.
He sets me on the sand, spreads out a straw beach mat,
trimmed in hot pink to match my swim suit.
We lie together on it in the sun.
His thigh touches mine. I squint
my eyes against the bright light.
“I forgot.” His hand goes
into his pocket. “One more present.”
He puts sunglasses over my eyes that have faded
from purple to greenish black.

We laze in the sun until I’m sweaty.
His hand reaches down and unvelcroes
the straps on my boots.
“What are you doing?”
He pushes off my scarf. “We’re going
“No we’re not.”
“No waves today. Come on babe.
I’ve got you.”

He picks me up, carries me
into cool, silky water deep as his chest.
His arms loosen. I clutch at him.
“Take it easy. This will feel good.”
He makes me lie flat on my back
one arm in my sling, my good hand
holding my broken one on top of
my stomach.
“Fill your chest with air.”
I inhale.
“Hold it.”
I’m beautifully buoyant in the
salt and sun and Michael’s arms.
“Relax. Put your head back.”
I obey—cool ocean blueness
laps around my body, easing
away heat and a measure of ache,
calming me as I lie embraced
by it’s subtle rhythm.
“Saltwater therapy.” His lips
find a patch of my fuzzy head.
“You need more of this.”
“I could lie like this forever.”
“That can be arranged.”


  1. Hey guys, Let me know that you're still out there!

  2. I love this! I can't believe almost a third of the book has gone already!
    Would this be the end of chapter 7? If so, I think - and I really hope this doesn't sound rude - it feels like not much happens in it. I gather the new job/place/house mates is the point of the chapter, and although it's clear Leesie has some problems with it bar her jealousy, it just doesn't feel like it's mentioned/explained enough.
    To put it another way, this chapter covers Michael diving again, the new job/place/house mates, and Leesie coming off her medication, but it doesn't feel like the second is bigger issue over the other two, in my opinion. Am I making sense?
    I really hope I haven't offended you! Or sounded rude! Or anything else too negative. I could be completely wrong, it's just how it seems to me. Sorry!

  3. I really am loving this SO much! I love Michael and Leesie's interaction with each other! I could read about those two FOREVER!! They are just so great together! I really am just SO anxious to see what happens.....

  4. Jo, I want your opinion. It helps so much when I revise. I'll keep that in mind. When I was writing the scene with them in the water again, I felt like I was repeating that earlier scene in the water, but kind of different. They needed a nice intimate moment. (Or I felt like writing one!) Some chapters are lower key. This is a transition. I had to devote time to setting everything up in a believable way.

    Do you think it would be better if I actually wrote the scene with Michael on the boat and the girl telling him about the job? That would seem like more happened . . . if I actually let you see it happen. I'm probably telling instead of showing. Sometimes that works. Sometimes it's just me being lazy. Call me on it, girl, whenever you feel like I've left stuff out!

  5. I absolutely love the way you describe Leesie's relief when she gets in the water, I wanted to go and jump in my pool and just float there for a while, thats how relaxed I felt.
    Also like what Jo had to say on writing more about Leesie's feeling towards the other two subjects.
    And I think that showing us the scene between Michael and the girl is a really good idea, it would give us a chance to see her for the first time away from Leesie and alone with Michael to show us how she acts and if she's genuine....I hope that makes sense!
    Oh and I love how Kim is still neglectful to accept Michael, it adds a great level of tension under the surface.

  6. So, you're saying I've got my work revising cut out for me when I go back and revise. Okay. That helps a lot. It makes this process so valuable.

    I love that feeling of floating in saltwater with a mild, almost imperceptible wave rolling under you. I think we're at a point when Leesie needs to feel a little bit better. Otherwise we might all get exhausted by too much grief and pain.

    I've got to get to work typing up today's rough draft. I hope enough happens!

  7. I mean, my work cut out for me when I got back and revise. Yikes. I need to proofread my comments even.

  8. I’m going to be honest I’ve been a little scared to comment on the latest posts. Because when you are giving an author suggestions for something that is not your creation, it’s always going to be like a “touchy subject” and in the other specific subjects that I gave my perception as a reader I felt that I was causing discomfort to Angela. There are some points where I agree with JO and some other things that I analyzed in a different light, but for the prior mentioned reason I will reserve my thoughts to myself. Keep the good job Angela.

  9. That's not fair, Michelle! Tell me what you think after the next chapter. I used all your suggestions--you just haven't seen the changes I made in that touchy scene you were brave enough to comment on. So keep making them. I'm not doing this to be comfortable. If I wanted comfort, I'd be writing a new formulaic YA that I know I could sign up with an agent fast.

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  11. Sometimes I really get scared Angela; I admire you so much and Michael’s journey is very close to my heart for a very personal reason. The thing in my comments is that I let myself go /haha/. I’ve always dreamt to be a book editor someday and I tend to forget that I’m just a picky reader /haha/. So here I go: I’m still trying to figure out the effects of Leesi’s shaved head (I know it’s only hair but let me explain). At some point I let the event go, but now that they are going to get married “apparently” and the end of the summer and that she is going to live with another girl makes me thing: How will she feel? How will she feel every time she sees another girl? The bruises are healing but I looked for example at Britney Spears and her hair is still a mess (without hair extensions) after years since she shaved her head. Leesie is so broken physically and mentally that I believe it’s too much for her as a character and there are too many solutions: hats, head bands, hair extensions EXT. The other topic that I’m still a little confused about is the whole aspect of Leesie moving with all this guys, because my way of thinking is: is this something that Michael would really do? Of course I just analyzed this as a reader who idolaters the character because I didn’t created him. As a girl who grows up in a chauvinism society, a boyfriend will never tolerate his girlfriend living with other boys even though he is there. At the end he never knows how are the beliefs or how this guys act and if it could be a dangerous situation for a girl. If Michael didn’t had money I could understand that for economic reasons this could happen, but he can afford living apart with Leesie and still work with the guys. To conclude, I’m craving for a Happy Moment, don’t get me wrong, I love in a different light the “test” in Leesie’s journey.

  12. All good thoughts, Michelle. Leesie is destructive when she shaves her head--kind of like Britney. The act symbolizes that she's trying to leave everything from her past behind. But that's the girl Michael loves. She hurts him by doing that--and that brings them closer. Does that make any sense? Her hair will be about two inches long by the end of summer. If they ever really do get married, she'll be beautiful for her wedding. I promise. Relax. Don't get scared. Well, maybe a little. That's what I want. You need to be afraid of what will happen next. I want you compelled to turn the page. It's a tricky balance. I also don't want you to throw the book down in disgust.

    I also appreciate your caution about the apartment. I'll mull that over. It would be nice for Michael to buy a beautiful condo and take Leesie there right now, but they can't live there alone until they are married. I originally thought about doing that but it took them down a path I didn't want to go. College age guys and girls in the US share apartments a lot. A lot of co-ed dorms stick guys and girls together as roommates. I think Michael would see this apartment full of guys and a room of girls as normal. And divers? That makes them family. Immediately. For Leesie, it's way out there, but she doesn't say anything. See the next chapter with how that's going to go.

  13. I would NEVER throw away any of your books, even less the finale chapter of my beloved Michael and Leesie. I liked the way you explained to me all the points because this is what we readers ignore; the way of the mastermind’s thinking behind the story /haha/. I know no matter what, Leesie will be beautiful. Her heart is so pure in so many ways. That is what I LOVE most about her character. Because of the meaning the story has for me and how attached I am with the characters; I suffered a lot at the end. Maybe its vanity and “Michael and Leesie” want the reader to see the bigger picture. I saw the big picture now. About the roommates, I think when we get to know them and how they interact with each other, they could give a really cool outgoing point to the story. Great job Angela!!!

  14. Wooow, the comments came flooding in!

    I have to say, I never thought about Michelle's points, they just didn't occur to me (how brilliant it is that people have their own interpretations of things?), but I Can see what she means. But seeing your comments after, Angela, I see where you're going with it, and so I'm less worried.

    I think maybe it would be a good idea to see Michael and Alex meet and talk about the job/condo sharing. It might add a bit more to the chapter. But then again, it is your book, and after reading your explanation, I see it from a different persspective now. So I think either could work, haha.

    And I will try not to feel worried about critiquing in future, but it does make me squirm, lol.

  15. Phew! You mean I convinced you, Michelle! YAY! And Jo, I'm a bit conflicted now over showing Alex to the reader when Michael first meets her because I like all this tension she's generated with you all at this point. If you get meet her along with Michael, you won't be freaked out about her with Leesie. Dual viewpoints are sooooo tricky!

  16. I love how Leesie brings up Alex's hair while talking to Kim. In all that talk about chastity and love, the hair issue raises something very real. Hair is a very sensitive issue for most girls and grief and anger does make you do extreme things to yourself, and I like how even though her hair's gone, it's still ends up being a touchy subject sometimes. It keeps it real. Good job, Angela.

  17. I was kinda worried about apt too, but I can see from your pov

  18. Here's a picky comment: LEESIE’S POEM starts with too many offs, which set me off.

    I feel like I jumped into the deep ocean. Michael has a job? and a place for Leesie to stay? Did I miss a chapter or two?
    Perhaps all the divers have to live in this apartment; that would give a reason for them all being together and Michael not worrying about what type of guys they are.