I’ve mentioned quite a few times recently that I’m busy editing a completed story which will be my next published book. I started writing it about ten years ago, when I was still working, so my writing had to be squeezed in between family, housework, school work, and work at school… The result is that much of it is a bit jumbled, and rather leaps around from episode to episode, and also, as usual when I wrote it I had at least ten words for every one I needed.
Now as I’m editing it, I’m cutting out a lot of the extra and unnecessary words, pulling it into shape, sharpening it up… making it less of a marathon and more of long walk. However… as i have also mentioned before, since I have been writing full-time, my writing style has developed and changed, although it’s still recognizable as me… well, it mostly is… every so often I have come across whole episodes, which just sound as if they were written by someone else… What to do? Polish them as they are, or rework them so it seems natural to my present way of writing?
Here is an unedited episode; two cousins from a formerly very close family are meeting to discuss the situation they find themselves in… one of them, Antoine, is now living with the other, the youngest, Alex’s wife…
Ismène and Alex had arrived first, walked through the lounge of the hotel to a seat Alex thought suitable. It was a corner couch with a round table and two chairs. Alex sat on the couch in the corner, facing the chairs. Ismène perched on the end, not knowing whether Antoine would sit opposite her or on a chair. They did not speak except for him to ask her what she wanted to drink and her to reply. Wine. For some reason she said wine even though it was still early afternoon.
Alex was very calm, pale and composed. His mouth looked very red, his beard very dark, but his skin was white and she could see clearly the ancient scars from teenage acne. The waiter left the bottle on the table and Alex poured but did not touch his glass. Ismène sipped the cool white Muscadet and they sat in silence.
Antoine appeared, saw them and stalked through the lounge as if he owned the hotel. Ismène wondered momentarily what to say but just remained silent.
“Alex,” said Antoine, as if he was a head teacher addressing a recalcitrant pupil.
“Good afternoon, Antoine,” Alex replied after a moment as if speaking in a foreign language he had to translate mentally before pronouncing.
Antoine sat down, very upright. He was wearing a scarlet shirt and black jacket, his throat looked naked, he had shaved his beard into a crisp van Dyke and Ismène suddenly recognized him as a painting and after a moment placed it as…… She was staring at him, he didn’t notice, his gaze fixed on Alex. Alex was staring at the dewed circle where his glass had stood. He raised it to his lips but did not drink and replaced it on the table, slightly overlapping the ring as if he wanted to make a pattern.
“So, Antoine,” he said, his silky voice like ice.
“So,” said Antoine as if he was the wounded party.
There was a profound silence and the background music suddenly seemed crassly inappropriate. “I will always love you,” a female cover artist wailed.
“I would Like Ally to come home with my children,” Alex said at last.
Antoine moved very slightly as if uncomfortable.
“Yes, well, I’m sorry, but…” his voice trailed away.
Ismène stared at him openly, he wasn’t aware of it so focused on Alex. She remembered his kindness to her when he told her that James had abandoned her. How could he have been so sensitive then and yet could sit here now telling his cousin that he had taken his wife?
“I can’t understand why she will not discuss this matter with me,” Alex said, still addressing his wine glass, speaking as if to the sub-manager of his bank and wished to speak to the chief executive of the organization.
“Alison feels that any conversation she has with you descends to the lowest level and you just end up being aggressive. That’s why she has asked me to come, why she wants me to speak to you.”
“This is not between you and me, Antoine. Ally isn’t a possession of which we can discuss ownership. Ally is my wife, the mother of my children.” Alex was sliding his glass backwards and forwards across the table so the wine swung in the bowl.
“Your wife… Not a possession you say, that’s exactly how she feels, a possession. Interesting that you should choose that word.”
Alex’s glass lurched and wine slopped over the edge. He had small hands with short stubby fingers.
“Don’t be clever, Antoine, it doesn’t suit you,” Alex said in a low voice.
He spoke as his grandmother might have done, and yet there was a current of violence and Ismène had an image of the table going over and Alex’s small strong hands around Antoine’s naked throat.
Antoine said nothing for a moment, as if revelling in the strength of his situation. He clearly had the upper hand, Alex was without a doubt in the weaker position. Ismène sensed this rather than saw any change in his expression or demeanour.
… you see… I just don’t like the way I’ve written it…
Here is a link to my other e-books, published on Amazon…