It still surprised me

It isn’t that I think the sky will fall. Or that I wouldn’t know what to do if it did. I am not afraid of anything, you should understand that. But I don’t know that I have ever felt safe. Safe seems like a promise someone broke, and the worst part is that you believed them. With promises, it’s only a betrayal if you believed them.

I don’t believe I’ll ever be safe.

Do you know how aware we have to be? Girls like me? The man ahead who slows down, who disappears into doorways. The man behind who walks too fast, his encroachment felt on your skin, creeping. Vans with dark windows and streets with alley ways. A park at dusk, or just emptier of people than you thought it would be, any old time of the day. The teacher whose hand lingers, or the group of boys with beer on their breath. The door closing and the room spinning. Do you know how aware we have to be?

(I suppose I let my guard down. At the end. When the sky actually did fall. The crack, and the flash of light, and the wet like rain drops. Air heavy like a boot on my chest. Dirt, and metal and being pushed down, down into the earth. It still surprised me. The shock of how little you can mean to another. How an entire world can be discarded for someone else’s storm. I was right not to believe I’d ever be safe.

But it still surprised me. At the end.)

~ Alice, What We Have Left

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Things already broken

“The first kind of woman? To deal with the fear, the loss of control – well, she sets about breaking things, herself. Before anything can break around her. She does the breaking, so that she is never, ever let down again. She builds a life around broken parts.

The other kind? Well she looks for things already broken. She only ever sees the damage. And she spends her life trying to repair it. To repair people, their sadness and their grief. She puts people back together, creates a mosaic from their stories and their sorrow. She finds broken people and tries to love them back to something whole.

That’s her fear, her control. If she can love something back together, it means nothing is lost, nothing is too far gone for saving.” ~ Alice, Into the After

Shelter from the rain

Image: Beth Priestly

The Memory of Stars written …

Eidyia’s note: It has been nearly two years since I started blogging here at body, remember and as I (triumphantly!) posted a few weeks back, I’ve now finished the story I began 22 months ago. I have been in an endless cycle of edits and re-writes since the moment I (symbolically) typed – The End – and it has been a new challenge to approach the story as a reader, to consider my writing from the outside – in, this time.

One of the biggest changes to come from the editing process is my realisation that body, remember doesn’t just belong to Maggie Valentine anymore. Though MV remains dearest to my heart, the stories of Anna, the widow, and Lucy, the young woman who triggers the tragedy at the heart of the novel, have allowed me to express ideas and philosophies that I am passionate about.

This is a story of women. The novel explores issues that the women of my universe have been directly affected by – desire, infidelity, betrayal, violence, choice. Each character has lost something even greater than the man she loved, something deeper, and the novel is the story about how they get it back. Separately. And ultimately, together.

All three women are flawed no doubt (there are some … interesting … choices going on!)  but they are also resilient. Thoughtful. Sensual. Brave. Just like the women of my universe, in fact.

body, remember started out as a love story. And it remains so. I’ve just broadened the definition, changed the constellation. So many of you came here via the struggle of I know you don’t watch me walk away. It is my sincerest hope that you stay with me and my girls as we explore what happens next …

Oh! And the whole point of this latest post was supposed to be this. The story belongs to three women now, and the original title body, remember feels like it only expresses Maggie’s part of the journey. So I’ve changed it. The blog remains body, remember but the novel that has grown out of it is now called … The Memory of Stars. A little phrase that has stuck with me since I scribbled it down, right at the start.

Here’s the cover page of my manuscript, and the much-revised prologue (endings, of course!) … from the end, the story begins …
The Memory of Stars by Jacqueline Bublitz

Endings

Did you know that the light we see from certain stars is really just the past finally reaching us? That for our most distant stars, their light survives – even when the star itself no longer exists?

Sometimes it is simply the memory of stars we see written across the night sky. A glittering memorial to all the stars that used to be.

Which is why I look up when I want to find you.

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