Saturday, March 17, 2007

First Paragraph

This paragraph was the first one I wrote for my novel, Yield. It would have been written in the fall of 1998, or perhaps winter 1999. The paragraph has since been excised from the manuscript, but I've been flirting with it lately--wondering if the energy of these words, if not these words themselves, still comes through in the book's current incarnation. It feels early to me, crammed with ideas that aren't fully explored, that aren't finished. But I love something about it. Perhaps because it was the first time I ever read something I'd written and thought to myself: There's a novel in here somewhere....

When I began this it wasn’t about violence. It wasn’t about fear, or obsession, or compulsion, or sex, or digression. It was really about progress. One can’t always see where a thing such as this is headed, but one can easily look back and see what it is so far. I wonder about our capacity for violence, and our capacity for pain. Now, looking back, I see the limit lies far beyond the line you might draw for yourself and say: I refuse to go that far. Still, in the early morning hours, so still that even the birds are still sleeping, when I’m slipping out of his apartment, out of her fancy walk-in closet, out of the CEO’s office, I can smell the blood and I can smell the brown sweaty stench of soiled underwear, and I can smell the fear seething up and out from the hollows of my body. In the movies (I think) they say don’t look back. Mostly I don’t. But sometimes.

1 comment:

Erutan said...

Never read the book, but for me this paragraph seems to capture the thought process of a tired mind, a sort of tailspin. One wonders when and how it will finally crash. Expanding on the ideas here might have given it more meaning but also given it more control.