Monday, June 6, 2011

In the Lining of Her Skin

Nnnn it's Monday.

So instead of watching an insultingly patched-together version of Godzilla (wherein the American director cut the Japanese film up and interjected bits to give the film a white protagonist for no apparent reason) in class today, I started writing. Shocking.

Anyone who's known me since high school might know that I've had an elaborately-planned novel pretty much constantly in the works in one way or another for several years. Last year, I wrote 50k words of it for NaNoWriMo. It isn't pretty. I'm frustrated with the settings and the characters, and I've basically been stuck on it for way too long. So it hit me--I need to revamp everything. It needs a new shot at life, because I've been developing this for years and to abandon it totally would suck lots (I know you love it when I'm eloquent like that, baby). So I've changed the genre, modified my characters, absolutely discarded and reconstructed the setting, and so on. And finally, it seems like it could be good; I'm excited about writing it again. Thank god.

The title I gave this post is also the (extremely tentative) title of the novel, and it's based on my favorite Neruda poem; the full line is actually "The moon lives in the lining of your skin." But this ain't no romance novel. Oh, no. It's going to be horrendously dark. (Of course it is. Look at the writer. When do I write upbeat things? NEVER, that's when.)

Here's the opening scene, which I wrote during class and can't wait to play with. Oh, so much pacing!


The oceans had been throbbing in her veins for years and years before she really met them. The salts had been drying her blood, pushing all of the red slivers through her wrists, and when she could no longer stand it (that is, when she turned thirty-four), she moved to Hite's Cove. The coastal town so gnawed at her, with its tides alternately raging and comforting, that she stayed until her body was broken and gone.

Five gulls circled smoky gusts of salted air over the last trickle of the creek that ran over ferns into the ocean the day she arrived with her suitcases light in her hands. They scattered their wings along the coast, flying in tangents until they were gone in the bay laurel, or out of sight over the horizon line. The waves were calm, just timidly touching the shore and fingering the grains of sand idly with swift webbed hands. Fragments of seasshells restlessly twitched on the beach like cracked pepper, splotchy calcified pieces left wounded to be beaten by the later, stronger waves into sand.

She set her suitcases heavily into a bed of damp earth against an outcropping of gritty rock, and placed her soft feet against the beach, letting it fit her soles like rippling foam before walking on. The grove of bay laurel around the creek's struggling outlet was shot through with headstrong eucalyptus, the combination perfuming the entire town with crackling sweetness that ebbed like the tides when the seas winds blew in. She walked over to it, around the peak of trees that concealed the creek from those rough horns of granite she'd entrusted her bags to, and a strong gust of wind thrust every piece of dark red hair she had into angry contrast with the blue-gray ocean behind her, her loose braids short and whipping like taut ropes.

The creek bore what it had to her, and she skirted its flow politely, careful not to distract its direction. The dirt was pocked with rocks where she stepped; the riverbed would have been soft. It bent around the roots of a tree, and she followed it curiously, her eyes firmly tracing the ground. She saw footprints in the soft clay where the river beat its path and looked up to warm gray eyes.

The two women stared at each other, and she, quite a few years older, extended a hand softly. The younger woman took it in both of her unpleasantly rough palms, grasping as if to beg for life though her face betrayed nothing beyond curiosity. She drew her hand back after a few moments. The girl took no pains to hide the wariness that flushed from the pit of her stomach and into her eyes, clouding them and closing her.

"Vianna," the newcomer said. The thin eggshell of ocean roar and gull cries cracked open with the admission. The girl nodded, and Vianna studied her as the world's notes seeped back into the space reserved for her response. She looked wild, with long black hair falling out of a careless attempt to hold it back, her skin a color hinting at some part of her being more profound than exposure to sun, and those eyes, which echoed the discomfort of a warm sea ready to swell into storm. She was standing in the riverbed, letting pathetic rivulets of water charge uselessly against her skin, and stepped back from the paleness of Vianna before finally allowing: "Sol."

It did not surprise Vianna that her voice was as rich and smoky as the laurel leaves that brushed against her hair. The girl named Sol turned away from Vianna, gently tugging at the silver strands of a necklace with a gull feather charm as she vanished into the thick, peeling stands of eucalyptus that hid them. Vianna stared at her ghost, placing a soft hand on her neck and thrusting her violent honeyed eyes to the sky's throat, where the trees let their branches linger.


And that's all for now, given that I have homework and my commission to attend to. Any comments are welcome and appreciated, unless you're being a giant jerk.

Incidentally, Hite's Cove is the name of one of my favorite hiking trails. It's back home in California, in Mariposa County. It's best in the springtime.

Anyways. Bai bai.


  1. Wow..that really captured me. You HAVE to keep writing this if only so I can read the rest lol. It really is wonderful and makes this writer very jealous of how eloquent and deep you're writing style is. In other words, I like it :D.

  2. Whoa, thanks, lovey! That's a better response than I expected for something I wrote during a movie in class, eheheh.

    I wrote about a page more this morning, sitting on the edge of the bed of the man I've been we'll see how the mood shifts between agitatedly not watching a movie and serenely watching him start his day. Hopefully it's not totally stilted. "Then suddenly everyone was peace. It was like magic. Vianna actually never had any problems ever again. The end!"

  3. hahaha what an ending that would be xD.

    And hehe in bed...with a mannn? lol

    I'm such a stinker.

  4. Well he wasn't IN the bed. I was just sitting at the edge. He was checking his email or something. Seriously. WHY ARE YOU LOOKING AT ME LIKE THAT.