The Bit(s) from Page 123 & 23

Saw this on Loud Solitude, and I’ll play:

Turn to page 123 in your work-in-progress. (If you haven’t gotten to page 123 yet, then turn to page 23. If you haven’t gotten there yet, then get busy and write page 23.) Count down four sentences and then instead of just the fifth sentence, give us the whole paragraph.

So, here goes. One from a story, and one from a novel. Oddly enough, both are “chemical”-related…

PAGE 123 of a novel on hold:

There’s hydroquinone and metol and sodium thiosulphate. Ammonia hangs in the air and coats my skin. Sometimes I get a streak of the chemicals on an arm or a finger, sometimes an irreversible brown stain on my clothes. On the days I mix Ethol UFG or HC-110 or Edwal Super-20, the fog from the room—chemicals in powder form and liquid form and, once evaporated, in no form that can be seen—attaches itself to my clothes and to my hair. My tongue tastes of it. My head swims.

PAGE 23 of a story in progress:

I put it to my lips, even though it had just touched his lips, and sucked it deep into my lungs. I held it there for as long as I could, as long as I could stand it. Soon enough, I felt my heart pick up speed; I felt my limbs loosen and relax; I felt the anger and resentment and whatever else that was crowding up my head split into tiny, insignificant specks of feeling and shimmy away. I felt everything and nothing, felt closer to him than I had the time I was six and he brought me to the vegetable garden to show me how to plant zucchini. I had forgotten about that, the zucchini, and just as soon as I remembered, it fell away and I forgot it all over again. For some time, we passed the bowl between us, an easy conversation that had no need for talking.

It’s like spinning a globe with your eyes closed, then stopping it fast to see where your finger lands. Fun!

10 comments

  1. I love chemicals in stories, whether the official-sounding kind or the communal druggie kind. I am fearing this fog you write about and want to know more. What a tantalizing glimpse!

    And page 23 on a story in progress—rock on, lady.

  2. Wah, get published now please so that I can go out and buy one of your books! I’m especially interested in the paragraph from the novel on hold. I want to know who is mixing the chemicals and why.

    PS I might nick this meme too, although my p23 is deeply uninspiring.

  3. I love this meme! It’s like being in on a secret’s secret.

    I felt everything and nothing, felt closer to him than I had the time I was six and he brought me to the vegetable garden to show me how to plant zucchini. I had forgotten about that, the zucchini, and just as soon as I remembered, it fell away and I forgot it all over again.

    I love that. I want to know what comes before and after what you’ve posted, from the chemical mixer to the two people passing the bowl.

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