Life after sending a contract is fuzzy, I’ve found. I’m stuck in this overwhelming cloud of happiness and excitement, and at the same time, I still feel doubtful and concerned. This is mostly because I am struggling to find an agent, and every time I send in full manuscripts, I get my hopes up, only to have them dashed down again.

Now, I know. I’m a writer. There will be rejections. Get over it. And you tell yourself this and tell yourself this over and over again, but it doesn’t take away the sting when you get that “I’m sorry…” email. And then there’s the reverberations the email leaves afterwards that has you thinking, “Am I really good enough?”

My editor told me to keep on a-writing, and so a-writing I will go. I’ve just finished up another Spice Brief, which I have to edit. I really, really want to work on my sequel, and I have been, in pieces…but I need to give it some of its own time, and I feel like I’m being torn between my internship, my class, and other writing, which leaves little time for the sequel.

But, I’ll include a snippet of it here, just so I can validate my self worth. Keep your fingers crossed for me this week! I’m feeling positive and must remain so!

Pulling her new necklace out in front of her, Ismene let it hang over her face and stared at the way the lantern light glimmered off of the golden beads. Quiet settled through the Palace; not even the footsteps of the guards could be heard through the halls. It unsettled Ismene, especially with the happenings of the marketplace still on her mind.

Antigone also remained awake. She stood by the window, staring not out over Thebes, but down at the garden. Ismene knew what she was thinking. In the garden, their father and mother found out the truth of their existences. In the garden, they looked at each other for the last time. Ismene and Antigone witnessed it all fall apart from their very window. They smiled and laughed then, ignorant to the fact that their very lives were about to change. Though a year had passed, Ismene still remembered it well. This meant that Antigone remembered it a hundred times more.

In her night gown, Ismene’s older sister still looked frail and sickly. Her collar bones stuck up in rounded angles, and her wrists were so small. She withered away like the flowers in the garden after their mother died and their father left the city. Those flowers never grew back. I wonder if Antigone will ever grow back.

“You should come to bed, Sister.” Ismene suggested across the room, her vibrant green eyes catching the moonlight, just like the beads on her necklace. Everyone said that she was a prettier girl, one who took after her mother and more. Her Uncle Creon called her a “Spartan, through and through” and often reminded her that her beauty was a testament to the blood in her veins.

The blood in her veins. Did he mean her Spartan blood? Or the blood of her mother and her father and her brother?

Antigone pulled on a strand of her too-thin hair. On good days, it looked fair, like the rest of their hair. But on most days, it seemed grey and brittle, like an old woman’s. “I don’t think that I am tired yet.”

“But it must be well into the morning.” Ismene guessed at this. The sky had been night black for what seemed like a long time. She could even still see the stars in the sky. This meant that soon, it would begin to morph into a sapphire blue, and then purple, and yellow and red, until the sun rose and stole the night away.

“You don’t know that. You’ve been staring at that necklace all night, not even paying attention to anything else.”

“And you’ve been staring out of the window, so what is the difference?”

Antigone looked over her shoulder at Ismene and rolled her eyes. “Fine, I will come to bed.”

“There’s nothing to see in the garden anyway.” Ismene moved over in her bed, making room for Antigone to crawl in with her. “Do you think we could plant new flowers in there?”

“New flowers?” Antigone slipped into the bed. Ismene could feel her sister’s cold, boney feet against her leg, and it made her stiffen some. “Is this what you think about all day? Flowers?”

“No.” Ismene frowned and pulled her necklace again. She hated when Antigone made her feel so small. “But do you think we could?”

“Maybe. I don’t know anything about flowers.”

Ismene chewed on her bottom lip, pulling off a piece of dried skin with her teeth. It hurt, and she could soon taste the blood in her mouth. She had a bad habit of biting the skin off of her lips, leaving dried, discolored skin to grow back. No matter how many times Julea tried to stop her, sometimes going as far as putting bitter wormwood on her mouth, it never lasted too long.

Antigone pulled the linen sheet over her shoulder, tucking herself in. “You could ask Julea in the morning. She’d know. Julea knows everything.”

“Yes.” Ismene smiled at the idea, her eyes growing heavy and drooping shut. “Julea would know.”

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