preparing for a love scene (chapter 2)

Hockney

(photo by nassau on flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/nassau/)

There is no doorbell and no knocker, just the giant brass face of a lion roaring silently.   Drew glances back over her shoulder between the white columns at the stiff green lawn.  She is about to knock when, inside the lion’s jaws, she spies the button.  She pokes her finger between the brass teeth and an intercom crackles overhead.

“Hi?  I’m Drew Andrews?  I have a meeting.”

A female voice.  “The writer?”

“Yes.”

“Come on in.  We’re out back by the pool.”

The door glides open and Drew is startled by the incongruity of the interior space.  Inside, everything is white—eggshell white, glossy white, paper white, transparent; white leather, white plastic, white tufted wool and sky- high cielings.

The only color is in the artwork.  The walls are crowded with paintings whose frames circle the foyer and run down a hall toward a wall of sun-filled window.  That must be where the pool is, thinks Drew, and as she walks she tries to focus peripherally on the painted women in various recognizable styles:  one is clearly a Lichtenstein and another might be Lempica.  A life-sized Cindy Sherman lolls lewd over a divan.  A doorway reveals a Khalo over the mantelpiece and although Drew doesn’t stop to look she could swear that Frida was wearing a blonde wig.  Ahead, the expanse of glass reveals a sculpted bronze reclining by the pool and a line of palm trees beyond.  The statue moves: one slim arm beckons Drew through the glass, back out into the heat.

For today’s meeting, Drew bought a new notebook.  She had stood in the store, vacillating:  plain black moleskine seemed too serious for a project like this; maybe she should get the one with tacky leopard-print?  But she didn’t want to be too snooty, she reminded herself, she should approach with an open mind.  She bought the plain black one and filled it with meticulous notes from her research so now she knows what almost everyone knows about Mae: very little. The librarian had directed her to a shelf of entertainment magazines and grumbled that Google would probably suffice, but even the trashiest magazines had been unable to dig up much more than this: nearly three years ago, an alleged twenty-two year old from somewhere in Washington state showed up at an audition without an appointment or a résumé but somehow managed to talk her way in and nailed the role as a truck-stop waitress, sassing her lines and snapping her gum with such brio that her part blossomed from one line to many and she won an Oscar for supporting actress.  Her breakneck evolution from best friend to action figure to romantic interest had taken everyone by surprise and reporters are still scrambling for the full scoop.

But Mae Beacon is hard to pin down.  On more than one occasion she had been quoted as saying “That’s for me to know and you to find out.”  In all the interviews Drew read, the starlet revealed a knack for saying a lot about nothing.  The reporters disagree about whether she is flirty, dense, crafty, or perhaps just immature, but they all seem to agree about her charm.  Drew had chuckled as she copied down the line, “She has a black-hole beauty that sucks you in” in her notebook, wondering if that had been an underhanded insult.  One besotted co-star said, “Could you serve food or sell clothes if you looked like that?  I don’t think so.  There is only one thing you can do with looks like that:  become a star.”  How nice for her, thought Drew.  How nice to have one’s role in life so clearly defined.

Drew walks deliberately slowly toward the supine starlet.  As she walks, she checks that her fly is closed and shoves her nervous hands into her pockets.  Really, Mae’s story is frankly hyperbolic, Drew thinks, and it certainly lacks realism.  Drew prefers stories with sad endings where complicated and imperfect characters get tangled up in beds piled high with tragedy.  And here lies Mae, naked (naked!) as Aphrodite glistening on the half shell with an all-over tan, her arms stretched over the back of her chaise, hair slung over one shoulder to veil one of her amazingly round and bouncy breasts, and a towel draped demurely over her lap:  the caricature of beauty.

The luscious lips part: “Please excuse my lack of modesty.  I’m preparing for a love scene.”

*

*

I have reserved the rest of this chapter for interested readers, agents, and publishers.  If you want to read more, email me at anna@girlinthehat.com.  

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About Anna Fonté

Girl in the Hat, aka Anna Fonté, is an author who writes about invisibility, outsider status, everyday monsters, and her attempts to befriend the neighborhood crows. The things she writes want you to look at them.

9 comments

  1. When I look at other people’s blogs, they look much more visually stimulating. I have a question: If I inserted some pictures here and there, would you be distracted from the writing or would it add to your interest? What do you think?

    • Pictures, Yeah! I’m an artist though and like to do my own.
      Personally I don’t mind the lack of embellishment, but extra
      stuff shoulden’t hurt. Once I did my site up in earth tones and
      had to switch to blue because it clashed with the pictures –
      The one good thing about all this white is it lets you get away
      a lot of different colors on the images you do use. I think it
      looks more professional then mine.

      Chapter 2 – Very nice, compared to chapter one. The lion
      on the door drew me in – Reader fetish #1 🙂 Mae is very
      important and I felt myself shrinking before her athority. I
      like the mystery surrounding her, this was really exciteing.
      Very clear and simple. An audience with the dragon!

      “For today’s meeting?” A more exciteing word then meeting
      perhaps? This made me fear it was about to get boring. The
      rest of the paragraph was good – Mae is mysterious, once
      again, I like that.

      (Note – I attend many meetings for my writer’s club – talking
      about writer’s clubs like you did in chapter 1 was relatible – but
      my personal experience with them – and the word “meeting” made
      me shutter. There’s a guy in my local group who wears a necklace
      of beaks and talks about nothing but turkey hunting – I still like him
      better then the religious-inspirational people, to whom I direct My
      Purpose-Driven Strife!) :p As you can see, my reasons may be
      personal. 🙂

      Crazy as your screen writer’s group people were in chapter
      one, know that they can be a lot crazier. I feel it is a great
      oportunity for humor!

    • Okay so I realize you asked this over a year ago and you have clearly decided to decorate your blog in the same way Mae has her home and so any answer is now redundant but I do think the gallery that punctuates your blog works. I love the images you choose.

      I like that most (all?) are from Flickr too promoting the works of others into the bargain – naturally never for a commission because in blog-land our labours of love seek only recognition, praise at most, never a speck of filthy lucre!

      • When I first started blogging, I didn’t have any pictures at all. Can you imagine? What in the world was I thinking!!??
        Thank you for your comment and this reminder of where I began, Sam– it is very timely because I just started writing a piece about the visual representation of a story–
        NOw that you mention it, the place is looking very postmodern starlet– white space with hints of pink. Oh, my. And Sam, I love the theme you picked, too. (smile)
        I hope the artists feel some benefit. I ask every single one for permission, and they say yes 99% of the time.
        If I won the lottery, I’d spend every last cent on art.

  2. Dear Anna,

    I love the last line here! I feel that Mae isn’t unintelligent even though everything about her, and from her, has come through the filter of her expertise in selling what she thinks is her best asset. I even think she was naked on purpose (when a tiny bikini would do) just in case Drew was gay, because it could be a good shorthand — first rule of sales, find out quickly just what your customer wants, then focus your pitch!

    I like the way this chapter moves. I know something about Drew from the previous one, but here I feel like I’ve spent a lot more time with her. Her interaction with Mae says a lot about them both. I liked when Drew momentarily wondered if Frida Kahlo was wearing a blonde wig in that painting, and I thought that, and Mae’s decorating choices, tied Mae’s sensibilities in nicely with the part about the Bukowski fan in grad school, and how so much of Drew’s generation didn’t have much respect for the centuries of great work that came before the “younger sexier “writers they adore — or just understand better! This was a good read!

    You asked about the visuals here. I started adding pictures when I read a question somewhere that compared blogs to magazines, and asked how likely it was that you would enjoy a magazine with no visuals. I realized that a blog isn’t a book. It’s more like a magazine, so I agreed and started looking for pictures, and taking a few of my own. I like the pctures you’ve found. I’ve been thinking lately that I would like a background. Something subtle like Lisa’s, that would be a default visual and communicate something about my sensibility as a writer, or as a person. I love your “Girl with Fantastic Hat” logo of sorts! Perhaps a subtle background (if your theme supports one) that ties in with that a lttle? I tried a photo of a sunset once. I was surprised that it looked good, if a bit grainy, but it wasn’t right for my blog. Some backgrounds I’ve seen are way too much and look a little cheesy, so I want to be careful.

    Anyway, good luck with your decorating! I like your, minimal with subtle embellishments, look so far!

    • I find it very invaluable to see what you are picking up on– Mae’s intelligence and her agenda, Drew’s personality. I never know what a reader sees and what they don’t, where I might be more subtle and where I need to bump it up a little. I didn’t occur to me until you said it that Mae is like the younger, sexier writers everyone likes. Hmmm– I might play some more with that. (And doesn’t that date me a bit?! *nervous laughter*)
      I just tried what you said about the background but it seems that this theme I’ve chosen doesn’t allow any more decoration. Like a true minimalist, it rebuked my attempt at jazzing the place up with a little color. Alas.
      Thank you again for your attention!
      anna

  3. Pingback: Friday Open Mic! featuring Anna Fonté (Girl in the Hat) | the Satsumabug blog

  4. I’m so disappointed, Anna. I mean: “cielings”, really? And you, once an English teacher. “I before E except after C”, and all that.

    Otherwise, flawless, as far as I’m concerned. Of course, I have trouble criticizing the writing of others who are very good but not famous. Once you are successful, I will have no qualms about ripping your every flaw, as I see them. This is a really good chapter. Though I’ve kept up with most of your writings, I got out of touch with your book and have had to start over.

    My computer, or the browser, or WordPress, is “wacked-out” tonight–when I try to “back up with the arrow keys or cursor, I can’t do it. I wanted to add in, after “out of touch”, that I mean I missed reading a chapter or two, then a couple more, then had to go back to the beginning to catch back up, NOT that your chapters lost my interest or something. Stupid computers, stupid software. They make me want to hit the ceiling. 🙂 Keep up the good work. I look forward to more “catching up.”

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