Monday, July 12, 2010

At the Book Store

I think I might kind of know what it feels like to be a literary agent.
I spent about an hour in a book store reading the first line on the jacket of about forty books to arrive at one that I would spend my precious, hard earned cash on. I didn't even bother to look at the jacket of Sylvia Brown's latest hardcover.
Fuck you, Sylvia Brown. Tormenting me with your "New York Times Bestseller!" sticker. I just don't see how...
Well, nevermind. I'm getting bitter.
But honestly, all these books these days. Do they all have to be YA paranormal?? I am a woman, and I want to read about women. Not about girls who may be vampires or have fallen in love with a vampire (although- OK, Twilight was a good book- but enough already.) They just don't make them like they used to. That lovely book about that young girl who goes to the prom.
Carrie, I think it was.
Those were the good old days. Before teenagers had crazy supernatural powers.

The book I chose: Life Without Summer, a debut novel by Lynne Griffin. I was hooked after reading the first sentence on the back jacket of the book: "Tessa Gray's life changes forever when she loses her four-year-old daughter, Abby, in a hit and run car accident outside her preschool."
Inexplicably, I am drawn towards this premise.
You would think that I might be less inclined towards it, given that I have a five year old daughter myself. But I think that this is actually what makes it compelling.
It almost happened to me once.
A simple thing. A simple chore. A routine day. And yet.
I drove Payty to dance on a Saturday, parked in the busy parking lot. I got to work unfastening baby Lex from his car seat. Payton, tutu clad, ran out from between the parked cars to rush to the studio, it being freezing cold outside.
At exactly that same moment, a car came barreling around the corner.
I heard the screeching of the brakes, saw Payton standing there, helpless. It was in slow motion but at the same time, it seemed to happen to fast for me to respond. I stood there, heart hammering. The car stopped more centimeters shy of my Paytons chest.
In that moment, I wondered "what if..."
I pictured a scene: Payton on the ground, her pink tutu splayed around her. My cries of hysteria, cradling her head on my lap, even as the blood pooled beneath it. Hearing the approach of sirens.

I wonder, sometimes what my life would be now if, say, the driver of that car happened to be changing a CD when he turned that corner? Would I be married still? Could Geoff forgive me? Could I really ask him that?
Could I forgive myself?
It haunted me so. I thought about writing about it. But in the end I just couldn't go there.
Too dark.

There's a place underneath my deck that's dark. There are boards that cover it, but in places, the boards are coming loose. Sometimes, inadvertently, I catch a glimpse of what's underneath there. A tangle of weeds and cobwebs. Earth. I don't know what else. I can only speculate about it, but I try not to- are there things that scratch and scurry?
I think of it sometimes as a metaphor for the dark underbelly of all things.
We catch a glimpse of it sometimes.
I guess some people get more than a glimpse.

Anyways. I will read the book and let you know.
Sorry if this post is gruesome or disturbing. I don't really choose what I write about. It's more like it chooses me.

1 comment:

Lorrie said...

I know how you feel...writing about 'what could have happened'?! You feel guilty for even imagining it let alone SAYING it.
We also have a dark place in our's T's gotch drawer. I hate to go in there.