On the Cutting Floor

DREAMS AND MELANCHOLY

Seriously, my character made me write it. I have no history of cutting myself. Never once thought of it until the day I wrote Chapter The Carnival in PERSEPHONE IN HELL. Tears were running down my face as I wrote the scene where Glory goes on her very first date ever. She meets Billy at the carnival which is set up in a big field across the street from her house. They have fun at first, but Glory starts to get bored with Billy. He’s handsome but not especially bright. They pass the merry go round when Glory begins to feel sick. She doesn’t know why, but a terribly disturbing feeling overtakes her. Her foot aches and she needs to sit down. Billy escorts her to the bleachers in the edge of the shadows.

“He pulled her toward him and kissed her with an ugly impatient passion. “Stop it, Billy! Cut it out!” she demanded. He wouldn’t listen. He held her with one hand while the other pushed its way under her shirt to her bra. He shoved his hand under it and felt her naked breast. Glory tried to pull back. I didn’t mean for anything like this to happen. I’m not ready for a boy like Billy.

She slapped at Billy’s face, and as she did, he suddenly let go. “No broad is worth this!” he snarled. She fell onto the bleacher seat. She hit her back and tumbled down the steel steps to the ground. She lay on the damp dark grass…When he was gone, Glory pulled herself up off the ground and slowly limped through the field, past the diamond, past the carnival, past the gate, and home.

She couldn’t remember ever feeling worse. Couldn’t recall a time when she felt less like the queen she had always imagined herself to be. She closed the bathroom door, and with a dull razor she found in the drawer, cut fifteen slashes on her thighs and on her breasts. One slash for each year of my failure of a life.”

As a writer, I was in shock. My character Glory had her own mind about how she wanted the story to be told, and I had no choice but to follow. I can tell you that until I actually wrote those last two lines, I had no idea where the story would take me. What the subconscious can dredge up when allowed free rein!

 

3 thoughts on “On the Cutting Floor

  1. My character Glory is troubled, but more than any one incident, her problems stem from general neglect and her feelings that she is alone and will never fit in. She has a lot of difficulty socially, being very smart, independent and not afraid to show it. She lives in an era when women's liberation was a new concept, but she's too young in the story to be able to latch onto the movement.

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  2. When I first read that your character engages in self-injury, I thought she might have endured some kind of trauma and it seems like you explained that on this post! I'm covering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder next, which sometimes coincides with self injury.

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