|A post by Mary Fan|
now, so when my turn came to do an EEK last month, I had literally nothing. Since then, the life slump has kept slumping, but at least I managed to beat a few thousand words out of me (the motivation/productivity seems to be returning in abrupt waves).
So here, for your consideration, are a few pages from my new project... that disastrous ball of insanity I have no business writing but can't stop writing anyway. It's a YA magical realism about six modern-day teens from different backgrounds whose lives bump into each other in unexpected ways.... Here's one of them, an aspiring opera singer named Rae (this is actually the start of Chapter 3, her first POV chapter)
Rae could always tell that the latest diet plan her mom stuck her on was working when her boobs started shrinking. Judging from the number of times she’d had to pull up her bra straps while carrying boxes into her third-floor dorm, it was. She considered letting this one—no carbs, no trans fats, and pretty much no meat—keep going long enough for the rest of her to shrink too. But she knew better. The moment her parents went home—leaving her alone and free at camp—she’d go back to eating like a normal person. It was the eternal tug-of-war of being sixteen—both in age and dress size. Part of her wanted to listen to her mom and believe that skinny was the answer to all her problems, and part of her was like, Fuck it, I’m me, and you can deal with it.
So far, the fuck it side was winning.
She reached across the narrow twin bed—less than half the size of what she had at home, but whatever—tucked her purple sheet over the corner. Straightening, she felt her bra strap slip off—again.
The tiny, single room was stifling in the June heat, and the building was so old, there was no AC. Still, she breathed more easily here than she ever had anywhere else. Fireflies danced around her as they always did, though in the daylight, many mistook them for the gross kind of bugs. If only they’d stick around long enough to see how magical they could be.
“You sure about this, sweetie?” Mom looked like she was literally about to clutch the string of pearls above her sweater set. “Home’s only ten minutes away, and—”
“Moooooom!” Rae dragged her voice out. “I’m living on campus, and that’s that! So deal with it, okay?” She’d been dreaming of attending the Silver Star Creek Summer Arts Festival since she was in kindergarten, and living on the Rexford University campus was part of the experience. She wasn’t about to let Mom take that from her.
A whole summer of nothing but music and fellow young artists and independence—it was like a dream come true. And Rae was certain that hers were about to. The festival—which brought together aspiring young performers from across the country for two months of intensive training with world-class mentors—was breeding ground for future fame, and talent scouts knew that. They flocked to the end-of-summer showcase that exhibited the best of the best, and lots of greats had gotten their start here. Rae was the kind of operatic soprano that could make audiences gasp and weep, even though, as a teen, she’d barely begun to develop her talent. Imagine what’ll happen when my voice matures.
Surely, the scouts would notice too, and she’d get invited to all sorts of conservatories and young artist programs around the world. This was the start she’d always hoped for, that she’d been working for since she’d started taking voice lessons at age three. She’d been watching other opera singers triumph on stage for as long as she could remember.
She’d always known that someday, it would be her turn.
“Remember, we’re just a phone call away.” Mom placed a hand on Rae’s shoulder. “You got the list I sent you, right?”
Rae made a face. Mom’s lists were always full of nitpicky crap, like what Rae should and shouldn’t eat or what hours she could be out without an adult chaperone and other Mom-ish stuff.
“Relax, honey.” From the doorway, Dad chuckled. “She’s sixteen, not six.”
“Yeah, and I’ve got an audition this afternoon, so I don’t have time for your fussing.” Rae crossed her arms. “Go home so I can practice.”
“Wait, you have an audition already?” Mom frowned. “I thought the program didn’t begin until Monday.”
“Not for the festival.” Rae rolled her eyes. “Arthur Theater, remember? They’re staging a new opera about World War Two, and they have open auditions for the chorus.” The community theater specialized in undiscovered talent—both on and off stage. Growing up in an artsy town like Rexford, she’d always been surrounded by fresh ideas on the cusp of becoming something great. Now that she was old enough, she could finally take part.
This time, it was Dad who frowned. “Wait, you want to do an opera and the camp? Are you sure you can handle both?”
Rae didn’t dignify that with an answer; she simply lifted her brows and angled her mouth in an expression that said it all.
She’d find a way to make everything work, and nothing would stop her now.