Venus on Mars

Perfect, Again and Again and Again and Again

Posted in Author's Notes by janmillsapps on August 27, 2011

Eye of the Storm

Done with the Venus on Mars rewrite. Happy, happy, happy with the results (although I was happy enough with earlier versions). I’ve put it down to rest, now watching Hurricane Irene coverage on cable news while waiting, waiting, waiting for the publisher who’s reading it right now (I am hopefully assuming) to respond. Waiting to hear back from all the other queries I’ve sent out, waiting for someone somewhere to offer some acknowledgement that my book is finished, again. That whatever sound and fury it contains may soon be unleashed on the world.

This anticipatory state of  non-activity is a lot like waiting for a hurricane to arrive: you’ve done everything you can to prepare, you know it’s out there churning – and you know that once it commences, there’ll be so much going on. But for now all you can do is sit and fidget. Nothing else is needed from you except patience.

While waiting, I opened up the manuscript of my very first and still very unpublished novel, Born Again and Again and Again and Again, which begins with two dramatic  events – the birth of my main character just as Hurricane Hazel hits the Carolina coast:

October 15, 1954: 

Hurricane Hazel was furious. The worst storm in decades slammed into the Carolina coast with winds of 150 miles per hour and an 18-foot storm surge unfortunately timed with the full moon’s high tide and with Marie’s due date. Now maybe her folks would stop asking her to name the father of her baby, Marie thought, welcoming the storm as the perfect diversion. Her dad was busy boarding up the windows of their motel and her mom was packing for all of them to flee the storm, but Marie had no intention of going anywhere. She was wet down there and her labor pains had started. She hitched up her skirt, rubbed her tremendous belly and prepared to give birth.

“Brothers and sisters, may we accept the good Lord’s wisdom, which we know is far greater than our own. May the Lord comfort us as we grieve for these fine people, Charles and Frances, and may we appreciate their dedication and their ultimate sacrifice as they stayed through the deadly storm to care for their daughter Marie and to bring their precious grandchild into this world.”

Charles and Frances, the grandparents I never knew, had both perished when a big slab of concrete blew right through the living room window and crushed them as they sat in their matching green recliner chairs to rest after helping Marie deliver her baby. They had endured eleven hours of Marie’s high-pitched screams. Sometimes I wonder if the concrete slab had seemed like a relief in comparison.

And this one seems perfect to me, still. Time to dust off the doc file, get this one out there as well. This particular hurricane, and the imagined frenzy it will create, is way overdue.


One Response

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  1. Jeanette said, on August 31, 2011 at 4:48 pm

    It has my attention. I remember Hazel…yes, I’m that old. Dad had a boat in the driveway…my sisters and I laughed at the irony. The boat was out of water, yet it was full of water.

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