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Dec. 7th, 2006 | 01:57 pm
posted by: graceless_angel in originalit

This would be the prologue of my NaNo novel I wrote this november (I did complete the challenge, no I didn't register for word count. Chris Baty pissed me off with his charity guilt trip, so I just completed the challenge on my own, and don't intend to support NaNo directly ever again).

Comments appreciated, the prologue takes the form of an epistolary.

The novel's title is Courage.

May 15, 1996

I will not hear another word of your sniveling, presumptuous begging, Richard. You are not and will not ever be in my will, and I will thank you to forgo further mention of the matter in future correspondence.
You have always been a lazy, unmotivated dullard of a boy. I have no desire to reward your lack of ambition, your inane pursuit of diversion at all costs, and I will not enable future attempts of yours to leech off society.
You would do well to change your ways, Richard. You have the potential to be a bright young man, and should you discover a way to motivate yourself into the day-to-day commitment of pursuing a career, this brightness would do you an immeasurable credit.
As it is, you simply squander your inarguably underdeveloped talent for speaking on begging and playing upon the guilt of others to sustain you in your indulgences.
You will exhaust yourself this way, Richard. People have a need to protect themselves, and rarely will they long suffer the depredations of a parasite who brings no good into their lives. I urge you, find yourself a job, begin supporting yourself, and do yourself far more good than hopes of profiting from my demise will.
I bear you no ill will for your ridiculous comments, Richard. I am beyond even being disappointed in you, at this juncture. Do not, however, mistake my tolerance for endorsement. I will not change my decision, and you will therefore put thoughts of it out of your mind.

In love, but no affection,
Your mother
October 14, 1998

I did receive your letter, Richard. I was unable to reply because I was having further difficulties with my condition. An ongoing battle with anemia is one of the side effects of my treatments, and I suffered a severe fever just after your letter arrived as well. I am chagrined that this illness was able to interrupt my decision to respond to you.
To answer your question, yes, I did indeed go into remission shortly after your last letter. I do not forgive you for what you said, because it simply does not matter, son. I have been fighting a battle with metastatic cancer for years now, my boy, and it will take more than a few cross words from a naïve young man to cause me grief. Put it out of your mind and do not let it trouble you.
My health is not improving. I will die from this cancer someday, Richard. My remission was temporary, and I suffered a relapse last year. This too has been put into remission, but I harbor no illusions that it will remain this way. If it does, well and good. If it does not, I am prepared.
I am pleased you have resumed contact, Richard. I had feared you would squander yet another opportunity to better yourself, and that would have grieved me. You are ever my son, and I will not cease caring about you or wishing for your good fortune.
Edward has asked about you, incidentally. He makes noises of forgiveness to me, but I can tell he has not let go of what you said in that letter. He is very protective, and thus takes umbrage on my behalf. I ask that you do not contact him at this time, Richard. What you do is of course your prerogative, but on his behalf I believe that this would be an inappropriate time to bring up old indiscretions. I believe his wife would agree, with their first child on the way.
You express dissatisfaction with your job, and I find this amusing. When last we spoke, you had no job, so you must understand that I find it humorous that the first mention of this employment is that you dislike it; Humorous, but not unexpected.
This is not the job for you, my son. You are not suited to retail work. Your mind has ever loved a puzzle, and I do not mean the puzzle of making sure the UPC codes on your inventory match those on the shelves.
That is the price you must pay, my son, for your prior mistakes. I do not speak out of malignant feelings, but out of a desire to educate you. Learn why you are where you are, and should you ever escape, you need not return.
I am tired, Richard, so I will end this letter here. Do continue to write.

In love,
Your mother

October 27, 1998

I was so pleased to receive the good news, Edward. Twins, an amazing thing to be sure. I look forward to speaking with you and Melissa when you next visit, but do not rush. I will not have you distressing that sweet child with your worrying. I am quite fine, if more tired of late.
When you do come, please bring your cherry pie. I have noticed that I can taste fruit without the metallic aftertaste again, and I am eager to enjoy that wonderful dessert again. You’re a grand cook, Edward, and your wife is a lucky woman.
I look forward to seeing you again, Edward. Say hello to Melissa for me. I would write her a letter myself, but I am tired and have work to do before long.

Affectionately,
Your mother

December 3, 1998
Thank you for the book, Richard. I quite enjoyed the way miss Zimmer-Bradley presented the Arthurian Myth-cycle, an innovative and enjoyable novel to be sure, I am chagrined at having skipped it for so long.
I am immeasurably pleased that your literary taste has not been diminished by time. If there was ever anything we truly shared, it was a love of the written word. Enjoy the gift I have enclosed, it is a collection of poetry your father gave me, and I know you will enjoy it. In particular, I would like you to read poem eighty-seven. E Tenebris is brief, but I believe it is one of Wilde’s very best, and perhaps a bit topical, I am not ashamed to confess.
I believe you should accept your manager’s offer for off-duty tutoring in management. While I do not think you of the temperament required for retail, the fact remains that it is your current state, and only option for the time being. You will not long survive as a wage slave in your area, and of course you should pursue any option to truly better yourself. Willfully remaining in relative poverty when the chance to improve your circumstances would be stupidity of the highest order, and I hope you have moved past this point.
I would not worry about this girl you are seeing. You are not in a position to make long term commitments, so it would be unfair of you to lead her along. Do yourself and her a favor by ending things early. This is, of course, the advice of an old woman seven hundred and fifty miles away, so take it as you will.

Please, Richard, call me sometime.

In Love
Your mother

February 11, 1999

Thank you for the flowers you had delivered, Edward, they are most lovely. I kept them here for a day to get the scent properly about the room, and then I forwarded them to the children’s ward, the young ones could do with a bit more colour in their lives.
You are to be commended on completing your first successful year as a business owner. Bear in mind that my offer to purchase CafeHaus and make it a part of the family business proper still stands. I believe that with our logistical backing you would find many of your difficulties resolved, and that we could do with a proper storefront, as it were, rather than relying on so many unrelated distributors to move our product.
Do not feel compelled to do so, however. Running your business independently will be a magnificent learning experience for you, and should you remain successful, you will of course need answer to no one. Should you not, you will have learned lessons necessary to succeed anew in the future.
Also, I understand why you have not made it out here to visit as yet, do not think of apologizing for choosing to remain with your business during an unexpected busy season. Your first duty is to your family, and that business is your livelihood. To apologize for recognizing these facts would be demonstrate a particular disregard for reality that would ill suit you, Edward. I admit I still look forward to that cherry pie, but it can most certainly wait.

In love
Your mother


February 14, 1999
Richard, I had thought this matter settled. I am not in the practice of giving anything to anybody who has not earned it. I will not give you a job in the company, you must earn a position if you actually wish it.
I built this business from a floundering money-sink into an actual source of profit, from which much of our family’s success has been derived. I will not squander a vital position on someone whose sole talent has thus far been skating by on a bare minimum of effort.
If you want to work for me, Richard, demonstrate that you have earned the position.
I am disappointed by your request. You continue to evidence a lack of any genuine learning, and it appears lost on you that continued questioning only drives you further from my consideration.

Your mother

February 26, 1999
I will confess, Richard, I had not expected you to respond to my letter given our past difficulties with this issue. Yet not only do you reply, you offer a genuinely acceptable alternative to the scenario I was expecting.
I accept your proposal, Richard. I will help fund your move here, and begin the paperwork to secure you an apartment. There will be an internship waiting for you in the marketing department when you arrive.
I cannot stress this enough Richard, you are taking a tremendous risk. This internship will be unpaid, and you will be responsible for maintaining your own standard of living in every sense. I will not help you with rent, I will not pay for anything at all beyond the money that will bring you here to make this effort.

I look forward to seeing you, Richard.

In Love
Your mother

March 8, 1999

Yes, Melissa, Richard will be moving to Chicago and I will be permitting him to serve in the company as an intern. I had not expected I would need to remind Edward of all people that I am answerable to myself and no other in conducting the affairs of this company. Do not let Edward bring you into this affair, my dear, it is not nearly as important a concern as your two children. Edward and Richard’s troubles go far beyond this one issue, and you would do well to remain aloof from the matter and let them work it out when Richard arrives.
You are a truly wonderful woman for Edward, and you have done an amazing job helping him with his work and his efforts with CafeHaus, but you must remember that you are not simply there to help him. Most importantly, you must make Richard remember this.
Speaking of your children, I heard that your latest appointments went well. My best wishes are ever with you, Melissa, and I so look forward to seeing my grandchildren. Bring the ultrasound pictures when you come, I would appreciate it dearly.

In love
Agathe

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