Friday, November 7, 2008

NaNoWriMo, Day 7

Another writing sample for you today.

I guess I haven't really posted anything about what my novel is actually about, so here's the Reader's Digest Condensed Version.

My MC (main character) is a Vietnamese woman who moved to the U.S. with her family around age 8. She has a sister, 4 years younger than she. Her father is an engineer. Her mother is a stay at home mom who has never learned much English. Both her parents are very culturally conservative, and they'd like their daughters to marry men who are Vietnamese, or at least Asian, to preserve their cultural identity. They're not racist at all, only proud of their culture.

Anh (the MC) ends up falling in love with and marrying an American man (the aforementioned Greg).

This is a story I've seen many times in real life, but I've never seen it in a novel, so I'm writing it. The human angle of the stories is fascinating, as I've found by talking to all of my friends who have lived through it. Some details are taken from people I know, but in general, Anh and Greg are creations of my imagination.

Today's snippet is what I've written today. Anh is unpacking boxes at their house after returning from their honeymoon.


Anh sighed wearily. One more box, she told herself, and then she’d give in and get some sleep. She found the box cutters hiding behind a stack of mail on the counter and considered which box should be her last victim for today. You’d think that a single person wouldn’t have so much stuff, she told herself, not for the first time. Greg had given up and gone to bed a half hour ago.

She chose a box marked “Kitchen Stuff” and sliced it open. Such a satisfying thing, slicing open a box, she thought. She really couldn’t imagine what was in this box; all of her usual kitchen things had already been put away. That’s why she’d chosen this box; her curiosity had gotten the best of her.

When the flaps fell open, so did Anh’s mouth. This box wasn’t from this move; it was from much longer ago than that. These were things from Mom’s kitchen that she’d sent with Anh when she moved away from home. Most of them were things that Anh no longer used, but she’d kept them for sentimental reasons. She pulled them out of the box one by one, picturing them in Mom’s hands: the wooden spoons, the garlic press (both she and Mom had upgraded from this dollar store version), the cheese grater, the old pasta pot that her parents had had since they were married. Though many of the items had seen better days, they were Mom’s, and now hers, and she would move them from kitchen to kitchen, she knew. She looked around the limited cabinet space in the kitchen of the so-called starter home and wondered where her precious keepsakes would find a place.

While her eyes were wandering, they found the plain, contractor-white walls. Hmmm, she thought. We’ll definitely have to do something about that. Nothing like a little color to make a house feel like home. She always favored a creamy, buttery yellow in the kitchen; it just felt like home to her. Other rooms could have bolder colors, or a nice, rich neutral for the other d├ęcor to play off of. Since this was her first home as a wife, she’d have to give it careful consideration, much more so than the many apartments she’d called home. She wondered what Greg would have to say about her painting ambitions. Maybe I’ll bribe him to help me, she thought, and grinned to herself.

But for now, back to business, girl! She quickly found homes for the pasta pot and the utensils. The only thing left in the box now were some cheerfully colored dish towels, again from her mother. She found a drawer for them, putting them under her nicer, newer towels. Then she sliced open the bottom of the now-empty box, flattened it, and put it in the pile of empty boxes, noting with satisfaction how the pile had grown.

She yawned; it was after midnight, and she was really tired after a long Saturday of unpacking the house. She noted with satisfaction that there was only a handful of boxes left to be unpacked. Picking up the shoes she’d shed earlier in the evening, she slipped quietly into the master bedroom so as not to wake Greg.

He’d left her bedside lamp on so she could see. So thoughtful. Just as with every time she entered the room, she breathed in deeply. The candles she burned in the master bathroom spread the most lovely scents around the master suite: lavender, jasmine, and other scents she couldn’t identify but loved just the same. Greg didn’t mind the floral scents, saying he enjoyed having a woman’s touch in the house.

Looking around her new bedroom, she was grateful to Greg’s parents for passing along their old bedroom suite. She’d want to buy her own someday of course, but for now, this furniture was sturdy and at least not ugly. And it matched. Lots of newlyweds went into debt for furniture this nice, she reminded herself.

Tiptoeing into the bathroom, she brushed her teeth and hair and put on her pajamas, which she’d laid out for herself earlier in the evening when Greg went to bed.

She tried to get into bed carefully enough not to wake Greg, but he was a light sleeper. “Hey babe, did you finally give up?” he mumbled groggily, snuggling up to her.

“Ooh, you’re warm. Yes, I did,” she replied, settling into his embrace. Wow, how did she ever fall asleep before Greg was in her bed? She had no idea.

She relaxed immediately, and for the first time in her week-old marriage, she fell asleep before Greg.


Cindy said...

I love it! Hey, aren't you giving it away though? Those of us that are faithful readers will have already read it and then won't buy it!

Nevermind, I'll buy it even if you give me a copy.

It's great, really, it is. I'm so proud of you!!!

Heather said...

Warm, buttery CONCORD IVORY! This is a good read Leese, keep it up!