I've been working on a short story. I keep wondering if it's a mental vacation, because the plot is fairly straightforward. But I'm hoping deeper emotions come through as a result of the fewer technical acrobatics.
I wasn't trying to take a new approach to writing, but with this piece I found myself gravitating to pen and paper, and I'm also writing in fragments instead of moving from beginning to end. This comes down, I'm sure, to me feeling more able to focus on smaller details as opposed to simply worrying about the story being coherent as a whole. I feel as if I've graduated from something!
Here are a few paragraphs (not necessarily in order), just because. I find that I'm still revising a lot, even with the pen and paper, so each of these paragraphs have been handwritten multiple times and are changing very quickly.
The story's called "1, 3, 2, 4."
The other couple lived on the same floor, only two doors away. During Toph’s early weeks alone in the new building, he occasionally passed them in the hall without eliciting so much as a smile from either one of them. They had a child, a blond-haired boy of four or five who trailed behind them with one hand gripping onto the pant leg of the father he most matched to physically. Toph figured it was parenthood that kept them so reclusive; then, of course, Leo arrived from London, and, as a couple, they became visible. The other men introduced themselves as Jimmy and Marcos, a carpenter and an accountant. Leo wasn’t even over his jetlag yet when Jimmy invited them over for dinner.
Leo tended to have that effect on people. In the first month of their relationship, Toph had introduced him to all of his close friends. They liked that Leo had a Ph.D. They liked his smile. They universally agreed that Leo was good for Toph—at forty-five he had played the field long enough.
Leo stormed out of their apartment the first time Toph insisted on watching a playoff game. He said that he wasn't mad, that he simply wanted to get away from the sound of the television. He was gone until well past dinnertime, claiming that he didn't know how long the games lasted. Toph pretended to read the newspaper while he listened to Leo rummaging around in the kitchen, finally deciding on a fried egg sandwich. The apartment filled with the smell of grease, and it was Toph who wordlessly stepped over to the window and opened it.
In London, Leo often befriended other couples, saying they made him feel more at ease in the foreign country. On any day of the week, Toph would return home from work and find a note on the door telling him to meet at a local pub, or at a new restaurant, or, occasionally, at an apartment, where Toph would find himself stepping into the home of someone he had never met before and awkwardly introducing himself. Leo was thoughtful enough never to bring anyone home without advanced warning. So, on the days when Toph wasn't feeling very social, he could easily stay in, take a bath, and tell Leo that his meetings had run so late that he didn't think he would be able to catch up with them when all was said and done.
What's Peanut eating? Feta cheese