Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Revamp of Old Stories?

As salaam alaikum,

I need to back up my computer before badness happens.

Anyway, I was just going through my old computer, essentially, which was my desktop before that whole thing crashed, going through my documents to try to find some of my old compositions from back in the day. Of the things I've saved onto this computer include my diary from back in the day and "Sisters: Body and Soul," a story that I wrote when I was 15 years old. Like most of my works as a teenager, I never finished it after I grew into a new developmental stage and no longer felt the subject matter relevant, but sometimes I wonder...could I not go through, completely revamp what is written of the stories, change a few plot lines, edit it, and produce a finished product?

That's essentially what I've done with "A Rose Much Desired" now nearly three years after I wrote most of the manuscript. Insha'Allah I'll be able to finish that project soon.

But yeah, "Sisters" was the story the Jamison sisters and how they came to live together and how the eldest of them ended up raising her sisters. I think I must have recently watched The Ditchdiggers Daughters with the way the story is set up. The story begins in 1994. The eldest of the sisters, Azalea, 18, gets kicked out of her house shortly after graduation, which Azalea understands to be because of her secret relationship/engagement to her former high school sweetheart, Leonard, while her parents cite her sexual activity, particularly in the house, was not the type of influence they wanted around her younger sisters, particularly 12-year-old Clarisse. So Azalea, who wanted to live with her boyfriend, now fiance, anyway, moves in with Leonard to an apartment building off campus. Azalea is to attend the School of Art and Design at the same place where Leonard is going to be a junior in the upcoming school year.

They live together for a while, but Clarisse eventually ventures summons her sister back to the house after months of her not speaking to either of her parents informing her that their mother, Leone (yeah, that name is really close to Leonard...didn't think that much of it at the time!), has fallen ill, though she didn't want the little ones (Tobi, 7 and Melinda/Mindi, 3) to worry. Ends up, Leone has been diagnosed with cancer (I can't remember what type) that is fairly advanced, and with the urging of her husband, they're going out of state for her to be treated in a special center. Since the girls father, Shane, would be off at work most of the day and frequently visiting his wife out of state for the duration of his treatment...

...and that's about as much writing as I got to, haha. As it was, I think I was going to have Shane and Leone to ask of Azalea that she temporarily watch her sisters, let them move into the apartment that she had downtown, until Shane could take some time off of work or until Leone was able to transfer her care back in state and come home. I think I'd change a few things about this to make it less...I don't know, to reduce the suspension of disbelief a little.

As a result of the three younger sisters moving in, Azalea and Leonard end their engagement and break up, though their relationship was already on the rocks before that. Azalea becomes depressed after the breakup but doesn't have time to deal with her own emotions because meanwhile, her sisters have been handling their mother's absence badly. The youngest, Melinda, has stopped talking and has frequent night terrors and Tobi has been acting out in school. Clarisse, to fill the void, shares a bedroom with her older sister, which forces Azalea to have to leave the apartment sometimes for her own emotional breakdowns.

I mean, I could go on about the plot of the story, but there are pretty much three main time points. The first is 1994, when the sisters first come to live together. The second is 1997, three years later, and the sisters are still living in the same apartment building. The last one, which I cut out of a previous edit, was fast forwarding to the future by 20-24 years (can't remember how much), as the sisters visit the site of their old apartment and reminisce.

It's very much characteristic of the stuff I wrote around that was highly impersonal, whereas one of the narrations of RMD is pretty much my life with a few names, logistics and details changed. I dealt with themes that were probably too adult for me (at age 15)...for example, Azalea eventually can't handle her rent alone and becomes late in the payment for a couple of months. After being threatened with eviction from her landlord and having nowhere to go (several plot holes here, but I wasn't that mature of a writer), she ends up arranging to exchange sexual favors with her landlord until she's able to pay rent. Somehow, Clarisse finds out about this and, after urging her to stop and to start asking people for help...the relationship between the sisters is never quite the same, a theme that will carry over into the next portion, 1997.

...yeah, I don't know where I got my ideas from. I didn't watch movies or television shows that had these themes... I mean, I wasn't anybody's baby. I was 15.

I do remember my mother reading the first scene, in which Azalea wakes up in the arms of her sleeping boyfriend after having snuck him into the house and oversleeping the time needed to sneak him back out of the house and my mother remarking, "How does she know about this?"

I'm just impressed that I could write such things accurately...having had no experience in, heh, that field of relations whatsoever. The thing about that a kid, I was precocious in the things I a 25-year-old, I draw all of my "experiences" from the stories of others. I've actually still lived very little life of interest to write about...but enough life that I don't have to rely on stories entirely crafted from my imagination.

Anyway, that's "Sisters." One day, I just may take it and start all the way over and see where it ends. Originally, Leone was supposed to die, which is why the sisters continued living together, but that's a huger plot hole than what I eventually decided on...that Leone would live but continue to require rehab for a while after her treatment ended. I liked Leone's character too much in the end.

And there is a happy ending for the ill-fated Azalea! How can there be but a happy ending? She's raising her little sisters.


Once I'm done with A Rose Much Desired, I can move on to...the next one, as it were. I don't have any story ideas brewing now, but if I do by November, I will be making an appearance with NaNoWriMo again, insha'Allah!

Okay, time for a nap...;-)

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