Since my return from the Santa Barbara Writers' Conference, I have reviewed material, continued conversations with other authors I met there, considered new information I learned and made decisions about moving forward. This week's decision revolves around significant changes to Waves Crashing. I have wanted to re-release it with a new publisher for years, and now after this conference, I have a new focus. I am editing/rewriting the whole book. Waves Crashing will now be read in first person from Riley's perspective, with more inner dialogue and in the present tense. The first few chapters have already been rewritten. I think it flows better. What do you think? Here's an exerpt.
“Get out! I gotta go.”
“Quit banging on the door,” I say to Jessica from the not-so-private privacy of our bathroom.
“There are two other bathrooms in this house. Why do you always have to bother me?”
“Because you’ve been in there forever, I want to use my own bathroom and I have to go bad! I don’t want to be late for school. Get out. Pleeeaase?”
“I have not been in here forever. Fine. I’m done anyway.” I open the door and see Jessica with crazy bed head and adorable pajamas that make we want to gag.
“God, you are so melodramatic for a fourth grader. Where do you learn this? Your life can’t really this unbearable.”
“I learned it from you,” Jessica says. She sticks her tongue out at me and sprays me with spit.
“Disgusting,” I say. She slams the bathroom door shut and I pull a muscle rolling my eyes. I often count the days until graduation. It’s only October of Freshman year. I’ve got a long way to go. It feels like forever-away from today. My own space. I can’t wait.
I walk downstairs for breakfast and it sounds like a circus. A trash truck beeps, mom empties the dishwasher, dad yells to mom from the top of the stairs to ask if his tie matches his suit, and the neighbors’ dog barks at anything that moves.
“Move quickly this morning, Riley. We’re running late today,” mom says. She smiles at me but I can see the stress in her eyes. It must be one of those days – those days that start off shaky and get worse as the day goes on. I hate those days. They suck. It feels like you can never do anything about them no matter how hard you try. Mom juggles two plates and catches one before it falls.
“Nice save, Mom.”
“Thanks. Please eat. We need to get going.”
“I have plenty of time. I’m practically all ready for school already. Looks like it’s the rest of you who are behind today.”
The moment I say it, I can see I’m not helping. Mom’s wearing the yoga pants and t-shirt she had on last night. Her hair is thrown up in a ponytail. No make-up on yet.
“Great, then you can help. I don’t know how I’m going to get everything done today. I’m going to the grocery store this afternoon. What do you want me to pick up?”
Thinking about groceries is not on my list of things I care about this morning. But I play along and offer a suggestion.
“Yeah, how about some more yogurt smoothies- the berry kind though, not banana or kiwi ones.”
“Berry smoothies.” Mom writes it on the grocery list she has buried somewhere under piles of coupons.
“Hold – the – kiwi – and – nanas. Got it.” Mom’s smile has a forced calmness about it, but I can see the stress behind her eyes.
“Hey mom, I have an extra rehearsal today after school. Can you pick Sam and me up at five?”
“Oh, right. Your rehearsal. Uh – yes. I can get you both. I might be a few minutes late. I have to get Jessica from her soccer game, but I should be able to get to you shortly after five o’clock. Dad’s working late tonight. What do you say we order some pizzas for dinner? You can invite Sam to come over for dinner if you’d like. Jessica’s inviting Amanda.”
“That sounds like fun. I’ll ask her this morning before school.”
Sam and I have been best friend since preschool. Through the years, we’ve had our ups-and-downs and plenty of differences, but we always manage to come out of them with giggles and freshly painted toe nails. In first grade Sam and I both had a crush on Joey Sullivan.
In seventh grade, Sam and I both auditioned for the school play, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Sam was a natural for the role of Lucy, and I was told I effortlessly brought Snoopy to life. From that day on, we have been in every school play together and are currently in the drama club.
Grande Falls High School has a great drama club. It’s a lot of fun and I love going there after school. It postpones dealing with Jessica again after school.
“Did somebody say pizza?” Jessica says. Her enthusiastic question floats in the air as she bounces down the stairs into the kitchen, like Tigger through the Hundred Acre Wood.