I'm not sure who else out there is participating in April's Camp NaNoWriMo, but I usually participate on months I am not bogged down with work. I signed up for this month as it appeared that it was going to be a slower one and I could concentrate on writing a novel, then got bombarded with writing requests. So, needless to say it's going to be a crazy-busy month.
The WIP I am focusing on for this month's novel writing time is, 'Passing Loop'. I've shared snippets from this one before but I will share a few more teasers as I get more completed. This book is going to be a sort of Jodi Picoult-type novel, or as close as I can get to her style. It is about three generations of women who come together in tragedy, despite all the bad history among them. It is a story filled with love, humor, forgiveness and discovering that what you see isn't necessarily all there is about a person.
I hope you enjoy today's snippet. It's from the second chapter when Chrissella and her mother, Enya, arrive at Lily Gran's acreage in a small town in Saskatchewan. We have hints here of what is about to come.
As if the three-hour flight from Toronto to Regina wasn’t bad enough, Chrissella was even less impressed being stuck in a tiny car for another two-and-a-half hours to get from the Regina International Airport to Lily Gran’s acreage. She leaned on her fist, staring out of her wide-open window, watching the mustard fields zip by.
Good Lord, she thought. This painfully boring view isn’t exactly a selling feature. Can’t someone add a foothill or even a small body of water to liven things up a bit?
A rub on her shoulder brought her out of her thoughts. “Where are ya, baby girl? You haven’t said a word since we landed.”
“Guess I’m speechless.”
“Well, it’s a beautiful stretch of land.”
“I wouldn’t go that far.”
“Oh, come on. There are worse places to go. Hey! You know how much you love winter. I could be from the Northwest Territories where winters last almost all year.”
“Well from what I hear, winters in Saskatchewan aren’t exactly a vacation in Hawaii.” Crissella flopped her head back on her headrest, then stared out windshield. “Mom? It smelled like cow shit the moment we landed. Cow shit. How am I supposed to feel warm and fuzzy about a place that stinks like a bathroom that hasn’t been cleaned…ever?”
“You’ll get used to it. After awhile you won’t even notice that you everyone else around you also smells like cow shit. It’s in the air, after all.”
Chrissella shot her mom a side glance. “And, again? You really need to work on your pitching skills. Having poop-stinky hair and skin wasn’t on the list of features.”
“I was joking, Chrissy. The airport is surrounded by dairies and other kinds of farmland. There will be a few things you’ll have to get used to here. Even the mentality is different. People aren’t as in as much of a rush here.”
“But I like ‘rushing’. And car exhaust. And yelling, screaming, cursing neighbors. I miss it all already.” Chrisella put her finger under her nose, and released a few dramatic fake sniffs.
“Oh stop it, ya big drama queen,” her mother said, slapping Chrissella on the arm. “We have another hour of driving and we’ll be there.”
Great, she thought. The road rash I’d get from jumping out of the car window to escape would be less painful to endure than our final destination.
“Can I have the cell, then? At least I can text my friends so I don’t die of boredom.”
“Sorry. It’s in the trunk with the bags. Besides, there is no reception out here.”
Crissella sighed, then turned on the radio. She moved through stations until she found one that came through—old-fashioned country.
Perfect. No air conditioning, open windows blasting the scent of crap through the car, dust sticking to my skin, and now the wonderful tunage of Johnny Cash for the next hour. How can this possibly get any better?
She scrunched down in her seat as far as her seat belt allowed, then her mother said, “Babe? Can you pass me a juice box from the cooler? I’m feeling a bit light-headed.”
Crissella looked at her mother, and creased her brow. “Did you eat anything yet today?” She grabbed a juice, stuck the straw in it, then handed it over to her mom.
Enya sucked on the straw, shaking her head. “Wasn’t hungry. I’ll eat something when we get to Lily Gran’s.”
“Um, it’s going to be, like, four o’clock by the time we get there. That means you’ve eaten zip all day. Even I forced myself to eat the lame airplane food.”
“I’ll be fine. The juice is perking me up a bit. Turn up the radio.”
Chrissella reached over and cranked the radio, then stitched her eyebrows again. An icy ping filled her stomach as she looked at her mom from the corner of her eye. Her mother hadn’t eaten much at all over the last few weeks. And when she did, she complained of feeling nauseous. Her mother had always held a slight, but toned body-type, and was very active. But lately, she didn’t seem to have the energy to do her runs or her Pilates routine she loved so much. And Chrissella noticed that her mother had lost weight, even from under the baggy clothes she’d started wearing.
Her mom sucked the last of the juice from the box until the sides of it caved in, then she tossed it into the grocery bag between them. Chrissella noticed how pale her mother suddenly looked, as she wiped beads of sweat off of her forehead.
“Mom? Are you okay? Seriously, do you want me to drive?”
Enya shook her head. “You’ve never driven on the highway. It’s very different from city driving.”
“Well, obviously I’m going to have to learn at some point, aren’t I? C’mon. Pull over. I don’t—“
“I’ll be fine,” her mother interrupted, with a bite to her tone. Then she softened. “Really, baby, I’m feeling a bit better with the juice. Let’s just get there. Trust me. Gran will get on me to stuff my face, okay?”
Chrissella didn’t buy her mom’s lame joke. She was clearly trying to distract from her health issues. No matter what static rose between the two of them, Chrissella and her mother were always able to talk about things. She had a gut feeling that her mother was hiding something from her, or afraid to talk about something.
No other conversation was shared between the two women for the next half-hour. Enya leaned into her left fist, her elbow resting on the ledge of her open window, while Chrissella hugged her legs into her chest, as much as her seatbelt would allow, and stared out the front window. From her angle, Chrissella saw the heat rising from the tar-covered road.
Great. Stinky and hot. That’s a winner of a combination.