A teaser from an untitled work
Oct. 14, 2014, Phillip’s Birthday
It’s been a while since I shared a teaser about the novel I’ve spent nearly two years writing mostly by pen and paper. Actually, I believe it’s been 20 days since I last sat on my bed and wrote several hundred words. Loneliness, busyness, sadness, and lack of motivation in my life lately have been the reasons for my three week hiatus from my novel. Luckily, I felt extremely motivated to share this teaser.
It is through strong and precise memories of dates and bad events that sometimes have caused my pain to feel more intense over time. That is why I have had issues managing my anger, a secondary emotion, towards those events and similar pains. I don’t always remember bad things. Some people have thought I am creepy for holding onto bad memories, especially for recording dates, but I don’t always remember bad things that happen to me. Oftentimes, I can recall something that made me laugh, like if my grandpa or mom said something funny. Sometimes I even remember certain plays from football games that didn’t have playoff implications for both NFL opponents. Also, I like to remember bad memories because I want the pain to drive me towards bringing justice to my life in other ways, such as my pursuit to enter grad school to become a licensed social worker. I also remember the pain of bad memories because I want to use the markers as a reference to see what I have learned or how much I have grown as I progress over time.
Memories of hurt and pain will serve my two main characters in a different way. Keep in mind that I just conceived this idea two nights ago at work! Arlan and Eleanor share a struggle; both are insecure with their body images. One doesn’t like their skin tone while the other one doesn’t believe they are pretty enough because of their frame and build and an ugly purple “splotch,” or birthmark on her face. In my novel, these two humans are trapped in another realm of existence. A prophesy reveals that the Arlan and Eleanor are destined to become companions so that they may share a purpose of restoring order and fighting evil with five other guardians who have powers just like the two. It is by flashbacks that these two young adults will better understand each other and end up sharing a bond with each other that eventually flourishes into a healthy romantic relationship.
The flashbacks begin as Arlan trains apart from Eleanor to manage his anger and deal with a “demon spirit,” if you will, that makes him more angry and has affected his physical appearance in a pleasant but deceiving way. He made a mistake that jeopardized her well-being and left him transfigured into a beautiful tall man with light skin and long dark hair.
While Arlan is banished from Eleanor and their talented five friends, Eleanor is left wondering why Arlan had always been obsessed with her. Before he left, she asked him, “Why are obsessed with me? Why do stare at me so intently? And, why do you watch my even little move?” She went on to say, “I don’t even know what I did to make you feel attracted to me like that.” Her question becomes a focal point of meditation Arlan uses to realize his discomfort with himself.
Eleanor finds help from her friend Ashlynn. Ashlynn, a beautiful blind young woman with curly blonde hair, can foresee the future through visions. Ash, also has a gift to see flashbacks of precise memories of other people and project them into other people’s minds through dreams and visions. It is by Ash’s abilities that Eleanor looks back through Arlan’s adolescence to understand his discomfort with his body image that she better understands his obsession with her. The death of Ruth, a beloved childhood friend of Arlan, at the beginning of my novel also becomes key to this part of the story.
Arlan also gains permission from Eleanor, who he thought was still dying, to live through her flashbacks. By Ashlynn’s abilities, Arlan learns about Eleanor’s discomfort of her body. He relives her flashbacks and sees how girls in high school used to tease Eleanor because she didn’t have a “model-type” figure to attract herself to certain young men or accolades. He sees that she was also bullied. He also learns of a failed relationship with another young man at the end of high school and through two years of college. Arlan also learns that Eleanor has struggled with her own obsession through the same time span.
Before I close, I need to note two things. First, Arlan’s flashbacks are based off of my own experiences from high school and how I have become self-aware of my own discomfort with my body image and my preoccupations. Secondly, the character of Eleanor is based off a young woman I met in college (which I have no form of association with), but Eleanor’s memories in my story are based of artistic license and assumptions I conceived from my own creativity.
In the end, I really hope I can find some time to finish the novel, refine it, and type it all out. The flashbacks and romantic developments between Eleanor and Arlan are only part of a sub-major story arc in my novel. The seven guardians, counting Arlan and Eleanor with their friends, have special abilities that are superhuman. The gaurdians’ abilities emerge as a strength out of the body image insecurity that they thought made them weak but makes them stronger. And, if you’re curious, Arlan can make himself vanish into invisibly, and Eleanor becomes a semi-solid being who can shape-shift into any living creature or person.