Thanks to Colleen Story for inviting me on this work-in-progress (WIP) blog tour, which allows me to introduce the new project and to get off my bum and back on the blog. The rules for the tour are to include the first sentence, or a few, from the first three chapters of the work-in-progress and then to nominate four other authors.
Before I get to that, though, here’s Colleen’s post on the WIP tour: http://www.writingandwellness.com/2014/09/16/facing-the-truth-about-your-wip-advice-from-rocky-iii/
My WIP is very loosely based on my own adoption and reunion story. It’s a novel rather than a memoir. I’ve chosen that because I think that a memoir, which would require me to stick to the facts of the story, would not allow me to fully reveal the Truth of the story. At it’s core, this work isn’t about adoption — it’s about deconstructing identity, legitimacy, and duality; it’s about finding home, within the self as well as in the world. So, here are the first bits of the first three chapters. For now, anyway. It will be interesting to see which, if any of these, remain as opening lines when I’m finished.
The image below is the entry to the former Eastern General Hospital, where I was born. It was originally constructed as a poorhouse (the last poorhouse built in Scotland, in fact) and served a variety of functions before it was demolished a few years back.
The clatter of them, across the tile entry of the semidetached sandstone villa. The five of them: Mrs. MacInnes, rigid and slim, her face permanently askew and her glare dripping through her glasses and down her nose, scrutinizing every little thing; big Jock MacInnes, her husband, hulking in behind her, box in hand, oblivious. James, 16, came next, the eldest child; only one big foot planted on the tile, thick rugby-players’ legs taking the stairs three-at-a-time to get up to the wee room at the top, the loft conversion he’d spied before they even had a look in. His, his, his.
April awakens the whole country with frost, Dunnet Head to Lizard Point. There’s no sun to give a little sparkle; rather, a low-hanging grey holds the sky low. Refusing to fully open, the day inches forward. Morning isn’t yet finished when Iceland sends a deep depression south, spitting rain the east of Scotland. The west is drenched. Water chucks it down. Glaswegians slosh their way home. All through the night and the next day, the rain continues above Hadrian’s wall. Gale force winds sweep the water horizontal in the air. While England is settled and sunny and lovely, the ships docked at the Port of Leith, near Edinburgh, creak and roll. Eiders who come for delicious mussels and shelter near the mouth of the Water of Leith tuck in to themselves; even these heaviest and fastest flying of the country’s ducks are no match for this.
In a mothering home near the docks, Mary wraps yarn around her fingers and then around the knitting pins – through, around, over, out, again and again – making baby clothes by the front window.
There are no Beltaine Fires anywhere near 3 Crescent Lane. There are no real fires whatsoever in this tidy townhouse in Edinburgh; the fireplaces have been filled in with new electric fires. This May evening the air holds a chill, a tendril of winter still wrapped around them. It’s just the kind of night on which Mrs. Allen might sit herself down with a wee cup of tea — a spot of milk, no sweetener — and watch the coils heat, black turning to red, the ‘flames’ rolling up the false logs and the bottom. Perfect. All the heat of a fire with none of the unpredictability or mess. There will not be the luxury of that this evening, though. There’s the new foster baby to settle in. Jayne.
Coming soon are posts from these folks on their works-in-progress:
Nan Lundeen http://www.mooingaround.com/blog/