my nano novel.

Friday, October 26, 2012

There once was a girl on an island with eyes the color of sky meeting sea.
Carys lives on the island of Roche, in a small town where everyone knows your name, much more your family. She spends summers crabbing with her father and brother, and winters weaving scarves and sweaters with her mother to be taken to the mainland. Mama is a painter and father a fisherman and they are happy. Even happier (if that's possible), in the summer of ninety-six, when the family gathers together and find that there is another baby to come.
Life is idyllic to say the least. Until the storm. Until the sea. Until the splashes of ice in her lungs and the taste of death in her mouth. Until all the colors but blue fade away and the world is colored in pale ocean spray.
After the accident that nearly claimed Cary's life, her brother distances himself from her and the family, her mother slowly loses her children to her, and her youngest sister grows up with no memories of a man to call father. The next eight years of Carys' life pass slowly, painfully cracking her heart each day that passes. She counts down the days until graduation, when she can escape the town, escape the island, and head for an unknown.
But that means the sea and leaving it, and despite her hatred and fear for it, she cannot help but love it. After all, she is her father's daughter. And that is perhaps the knowledge that torments her the most.
Through the years since the accident, her graduation slowly looming up ahead, her baby sister and estranged brother, and a boy she dares not whisper her secrets to, Carys discovers herself, the past she left behind, and the story she still has left to tell. The smell of salt on her skin, the freckles splashing her face, the clear blue of her eyes are all pieces of her past, claimed by the sea. And she is torn between loving it and hating it, fearing it and needing it -- nightmares and dreams. It's in the paint that she again finds on her fingers, sailor songs she again sings, a journal hidden away, and a medical diagnosis that threatens to slowly snatch all that she has left that Carys finally says goodbye, even if it's to someone who's already gone.
After all, Robert Frost said, "In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on."

As the last boat left the harbor, the loneliness set in. Of course, it was always this way. People left every year at the same time, and any fragile ties of friendship usually snapped long before homesickness claimed the people. "I'll write to you!" They usually said, or, "I'm going to miss you so much!" That was the worst. You're not going to miss me, she wanted to say. Missing people is a sucker punch to the gut, a slap from a friend, words like, "I hate you," from your family, or the sound of silence at a funeral. Have you ever heard silence? She wanted to ask. Sometimes it's so loud, I feel like I'll go deaf. Have you ever heard your mother cry and there was nothing you could do? Have you ever walked into a room and pretended that life will go on but know in your heart that everything has changed, forever, that the clock can't be moved back? Do you know what it's like to miss someone you loved and hated at the same time? Do you know what it's like to taste death but have it be decided that someone else deserves it more? Have you?
After her shift at the restaurant, Carys gathered her bags and headed to the harbor. The smell of salt was perpetually in her skin and the docks were the one place she felt at home. "You're an island girl, an island gully," her father said once. She stretched her arms out to feel the sun and pretended she could fly. "But you're all the way down there on your boat, dad!" She protested. "I can't fly away from you!" He gathered her into his arms and tickled her until she couldn't breathe.
That was the best. The breathless laughter, wishing it would never stop, wishing it would never end.
He hugged her and she smelled the lemon soap on his chin, the salt from the sea in his shirt.
"You're my little island gully, and you'll watch over me. Everyday, when I'm in that ship, I'll think of my birdy and know that I'm safe with you looking after me." He held her chin in his hands gently.
"Promise?" She asked, looking up at his face. She loved the scratchiness of his beard. While mama was the earth and home and the sound of singing, Papa was the sea and salt and adventures.
She hadn't done a very good job of watching over him and it nearly killed her everyday.


i'm doing nanowrimo for the first time since 2009, and I'm pretty excited. I haven't written stories in such a long time, so my words are rusty but I'm remembering how it feels to put pen to the page (or really, fingers to the keyboard), to type out a tale, and good gravy, I love it. you can follow along/add me as a buddy here! also! pleeeease give me your honest thoughts. i know it's choppy, but i'm still fleshing out the story. let's just say i'm really looking forward to november. :)


  1. your excerpt is beautiful and i love the plot and just the whole thing is gorgeous. can't wait to read it. love you lots. xo

  2. this is beautiful hannah. love it so much. it makes me want to write again. <3

  3. this sounds a LOT like "Jacob Have I Loved." Have you read it? Beautiful, Hannah... I can't wait to read more. =)

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