Yesterday was my birthday. So I thought, Why don’t we write about birthdays?
But as I tried to write about my nice, happy birthday, I realized, Happy birrthdays are boring!
Instead, let’s write about the worst birthdays we (or our characters) ever had.
Here’s my practice:
She came down the staircase—eyes ahead, head erect, tall as she could. She felt the muscle in the back of her neck pull taught as she pulled herself up and her spine tingle as everyone in the crowded ballroom looked toward her.
“Come now, my dear. Don’t you look beautiful,” said the Chancellor. She took his arm, wondering where her father was, and he led her through the crowd.
She did not feel the golden, silk gown slide against her ankles. And except for that first moment, she did not feel the weight of those eyes, nearly a thousand, all falling upon her.
She did not even feel the chill in the room, about which some of the other guests complained to each other later, turning their noses up at the event entirely. “The least they could have at least lit a fire. My Lord, what a waste of time. And for such a sorry excuse for a young lady who would leave us just the moment we recognize her,” the matriarchs would say in their bedrooms and breakfast rooms, in their morning lounges and amongst each other, too, in parlors and cocktail rooms all over the city. Waste of an evening. Terribly boring and uncomfortable, the whole thing.
No, she did not feel the chill. All she felt was the smoothness of the Chancellor’s jacket. How can I not feel any thread? Any seam? And that all but absent thought, where is my father?