Tuesday, October 03, 2006

New Beginning 134

The eerie clown face spray-painted on the rock drifted in and out of focus in the shadows thirty feet below. Christi wasn’t too concerned about falling off of the bridge’s wooden railing as she stared down at the face in fascination. At last she looked away and took a deep breath to fill her lungs with the heady scent of the surrounding woods. She stretched, lifting her golden-brown hair with her hands, fanning it beneath her fingers to let the cool night air sweep across her neck. Then she bent her knees and jounced the rail. It shuddered slightly, sending vibrations through her legs. Seemed sturdy enough. Christi tipped her head and looked toward the star-swept sky, as if questioning the gods.

Could she still do a back-walkover?

She hadn’t performed one since her twelfth grade balance beam routine, eight years ago. Would she still have the skill, the balance? Would she fall? Did it really even matter on an anniversary such as this? Probably not. They’d say it was just another dopey “Christi-Bell, who can tell,” kind of thing to do. Couldn’t let them down, not today.

She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and without thinking performed an exquisite back-walkover. Perfect. She smiled with satisfaction. Next she tried a punch front followed by a layout step-out. Faultless. She turned her gaze upward once again with another question for the gods.

Is it really so wrong to wear white after labor day?

Her confidence growing, she did a masterful switch leap. The railing shuddered and creaked as she landed, but she regained her balance, arching her back with her arms elegantly stretched above her shoulders. She struggled to glance once more at the stars, with one final question for the ages:

Was “golden brown” the best hair color to have gone with?

She breathed deeply and tried an Omelianchik for the first time. Effortless. She wondered if she could still handle her old parallel bar routine as well.

Pleased with her performance, she tried one last flip; this time the railing gave way, splitting in two. As Christy plummeted toward the clown face, she heard a voice from high above: "Christi-Bell, for the love of God, Go to Hell!"

The Gods really don’t like to be questioned.

Opening: Lori Garceau.....Continuation: ril/Allison Morin


Anonymous said...

She stretched, lifting her golden-brown hair with her hands, fanning it beneath her fingers to let the cool night air sweep across her neck.

I winced at this sentence. Way too overwrought. And who are the gods? When I read that I thought this must be fantasy. Are there gymnastics gods?

Continuation was good. Way to keep the same tone as the original.

Evil Editor said...

Are there gymnastics gods?

Yes. Their names are Nemov, Hamm, Olga, and Nadia. Don't mess with them.

HawkOwl said...

Just to beat Dave to the punch: too many words. Waaaaaaaay too many words. I don't think I care about the action either, such as it is, but maybe I could tell for sure if there were fewer words.

Anonymous said...

Yes. Their names are Nemov, Hamm, Olga, and Nadia. Don't mess with them.

Oh and all this time I was praying to my statue of Bela Corrolly(sp?)--you know, the coach of the 96 US team.

I am Lugash!

Kate Thornton said...

Lugash! LOL!!!!

Loved the continuation!

Needs some paring for readability, but the premise is intriguing...

Bernita said...

Are we not advised that characters do not think of their hair colour when they toss it, twist it, chew it?
So she sees some grafitti and then mulls over whether she can do a routine she hasn't practised for 8 years above rocks 30 feet below.
One rather hopes she doesn't.

Stacia said...


I'm all into this gothic, rain-swept scene on a rickety bridge, with an evil clown face spray-painted on a rock (what a great, creepy image)--and suddenly we're wondering about gymnastics moves and it feels like light chick lit?

Did a different book suddenly get stuck in here?

The first paragraph is great. The rest...not so much. And I agree the bit about the hair was a little much, but given the cool tone of the very beginning it worked for me.

Nancy Beck said...

Hamm? As in Mia Hamm? She played soccer.


The opening is interesting, with a certain tension since she's doing this gymnastics stuff on a bridge where there's a loooong way down if she falls...

I take it she's doing this to impress someone (or prove something to herself). I agree with the other posters that you might want to trim the fat; but not a bad start.

I might read on, just to see what happens.

Oh, and that continuation made me laugh out loud!


Verification: helbtyi - The place where those #*%&^!@ gods come from.

Anonymous said...

I loved the scene, but the writing isn't very good. Some imagery is confusing (the clown drifting "in and out of focus in the shadows thirty feet below"), overwrought (the hair part), etc. This whole intro should be about 2/3rds its current length.

Evil Editor said...

Hamm? As in Mia Hamm?

Hamm as in Paul Hamm, winner of the all-around gymnastics gold medal at the 2004 Olympics, and twin brother of Morgan, also on the U.S. national team. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6108155/

Anonymous said...

I agree with December on this one. The opening had me, and then, without warning, BAM! -gymnastics. Gymnastics is like soccer -try anything you want to spice it up, but until there are (female) naked zombie cheerleaders doin' it, it is boring. -JTC

Dave Fragments said...

I hesitate to comment on this. FIrst of all because I hate clown motifs. I've always considered evil clowns too easy a cop out. (and yes, I know who wrote IT)...

Here we have a young heroine, alone on a bridge with a creepy clown face staring at her and what happens? what? She plays the fool for no one and starts to perform a self-absorbed stunt. The expectation if she falls is that she'll die or do something supernatural. If she succeeds, the expectation is that we are gouing to hear about it at that still unnamed event she is going to.

Now I don't know about you, but I discourage this type of behaviour in children and especially boys. Not that I didn't do goofy, dangerous things in my youth, but I don't encourage it.

As I said, I worry about this opening. I'm anxious that she is too self absorbed in her "persona". It doesn't seem to serve to tell the story. IMHO

Undercover said...

How can she see the clown face (30 feet away) in the dark?

Stacia said...

And by the way, yes, it IS WRONG to wear white after Labor Day.

Unless it's winter white, which is actually a light cream or ivory shade. I have a gorgeous winter white wool suit, which is great with a pair of spectator pumps (because white shoes after Labor Day--or actually, IMO, white shoes pretty much anytime--are really bad.)

Starting around Easter you may wear navy blue with touches of white, but still no white shoes until after Memorial Day if you insist on making your feet look like big glaring reflectors.


Anonymous said...

There's nothing here to make me want to keep reading. There's no story and there's nothing about the main character that I can sympathise with.

HawkOwl said...

I'm assuming the rant is meant as humour, right? Or does anyone actually care who wears what colour when?

Anonymous said...


I'm not with you on this one. The "eerie clown face" in the first sentence let me know it wasn't for me. Christi's decision to do stupid things made me not care about her. And golden-brown hair is the kind of detail I think hopelessly ridiculous, at least at this point.

Your writing seemed competent (I'm sure there are ways to improve things, but that's true for everybody). I'm just not interested in the story so far.

Someone else might be.
Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Starting around Easter you may wear navy blue with touches of white, but still no white shoes until after Memorial Day if you insist on making your feet look like big glaring reflectors.

Rant, you made me laugh. I grew up on the east coast where this protocol exists. Here on the left coast, it doesn't matter what you wear when or to what. No one gives a crap about what is on your back or your feet. Or around your tush.

But every Labor Day, I find myself putting away anything that is summer white, only to pull it back out the next Memorial Day.

Thanks for the memories.

pacatrue said...

Can you wear white after Labor Day if you live in Hawaii where it is 80 degrees? Or does the rule still apply?

My goal is to add a bunch of silly comments for EE to moderate, because I can sense he's getting a bit of free time over there in Evil Land. I'm already a part-time, albeit academic, editor, so I have to work on the evil part. Then I'll be a chick magnet like him. I wonder if my wife will mind that....

Evil Editor said...

Free time? I'm spending all my time trying to get people to get their written permission in the mail, snail or e or fax. I assume yours is in the mail, Pacman?

Anonymous said...

I had to stop at "The eerie clown face..." Sorry never got to the continuation or any of the comments. The first four words ended this one for me.

Stacia said...

Or does anyone actually care who wears what colour when?

I care (and according to Judy, I'm not the only one). I also still frown when I see women smoking on the street. My tone was meant to be humorous, yes, but I was still serious.

Picatrue, a lot of people in South Florida ignored the rule, too, so I gave it a Tropical Amendment: White is okay after Labor Day if it is clearly casual, like shorts worn with a colorful t-shirt, or a casual dress in the daytime. (BTW, tennis whites and brides in white are always correct no matter what time of year.) However, white suits, white heels, white dress pants, and white jackets (and ugh, white spats on any man under 55)are still wrong, especially for evening wear.

Does that help? :-)

Kate Thornton said...

SPATS? You've seen spats??? I haven't seen non-military or non-hiking spats since, well, never. And I am way over 55. Spats, you say? I gotta get to Florida more often...

word verification: geoynd - beyond the rocks

writtenwyrdd said...

To sum it up, this didn't grab me. Several things bugged me a lot. “Christi-Bell, who can tell,” is really annoying, not catchy.
Clown imagery is not interesting.
And the actions are irrational because they are unexplained.

The scene on the bridge feels like the late night activities of a maudlin drunk who is actively suicidal; and if that is the case, we need more information. I was just guessing that's what might be going on.

Anonymous said...

am I the only one who assumed this was a joke? From the clown face to the fanned hair to the gymnastics?