Thursday, May 26, 2011

Pillow Talk

I can fill the space
between me and you 
with a whisper,
a smile,
a midnight romp of words,
it's all just
pillow talk
even the silence
that sits at my window
and lulls the night
to dream

By Nancy Sima

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Last Thoughts on "Saving Catherine" Excerpts - LOVE

As Blake walked into the Science Hall, he could only think one thought, "Whatever you do, don't kiss the girl - no matter what - don't kiss her." That's where it's all gone wrong before, this you knew, tonight there was no saving love.

                        -"Saving Catherine" Excerpt by Nancy Sima

Other "Saving Catherine" Excerpts...
Introductions - Meet Dr. Nigel Eastwick
Introductions - Meet Stephen Blake
Introductions - Meet Catherine Pt. 1
Introductions - Meet Professor Green

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Introductions - Meet Professor Green

   “Pardon me,” an older gentleman asks, “could I join you for a moment. This old man needs to catch his breath. ”
   “Certainly,” replies Blake and he motions for the elder to join him on the bench. 
Blake notices his difficulty breathing and offers his arm for extra support as he sits down. It is most welcomed. Extending his hand once again, the younger gentleman makes his introduction.
   "Stephen Blake, how do you do?”

   “Much better now thank you Mr. Blake, The name is Green, Professor Stuart Green.”
   “I take it you are here for the benefit.”
   “Yes, Nigel and I were colleagues, teaching together before he came to Amherst. I retired five years earlier.”

   Looking around so as not to be heard, Professor Green offers a little more.
   “Truth be told, I should have met my maker before him. I led the excessive life not Nigel. He was too good and too busy to bother with any vices. That man had such a curiosity, he was never one to sit around."
   And he smiled to himself as if a particular memory was still vivid to him. Then realizing reality once again, he returned to the conversation.
   “I do feel for his dear daughter, Catherine.”
   “I’d imagine that it has been a difficult time for her but, at least she is not alone. She has an extended family through the Eltons.”
   “Vultures!” He hissed. They’re a fine lot those ELTONS!” he continued to mutter. There was an agitation in his speech.   

   Blake apparently stirred deep feelings in the older gentleman. After a moment, he continued again but with every word, his voice took on a hoarse quality.
   “I don’t know what is to be made of that marriage. Catherine would do best to leee...” He coughed and struggled with his words. When his throat settled, he seemed to catch himself and took a moment before speaking again.

   “I know her choice to marry was a great concern for her father, on many levels. What did she know of the realities of such a public life. He tried to speak with her but her mind was made up. She was in love! Ah, what is a father to say to that? He knew nothing would change her feelings so, he gave his blessing despite his reservations. I greatly disagreed with him and told him so on many occasions. I know that it has been difficult for him to watch their lives be played out in gossip circles. And now?” 
   Sadness was in his voice at the thought of his lost friend. “What more can one say or do?”
   It was a long, quiet moment that they would spend on the benches before deciding to join the others inside. Yet in their silence, there seemed an understanding between young and old - neither wished to contribute to the small talk already stirring about. In the end, it was no one else’s place to say anything more.

Other "Saving Catherine" Excerpts...

Introductions - Meet the Eltons
Introductions - Meet Catherine Pt. 1
Introductions - Meet Stephen Blake
Introductions - Meet Dr. Nigel Eastwick

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Introductions - Meet The Eltons

Another rough cut excerpt from "Saving Catherine" by Nancy Sima

   Standing shoulder to shoulder with the other spectators, Blake spies the approaching cavalcade.
   “The Eltons are coming!” someone shouts.
   The crowd jostles with movement. All maneuver to catch a glimpse. History was in the making with the presence of so many Eltons in one place. Blake had heard it said that in some parts of New England, the Eltons were revered like royalty. It all intrigued him to think of Catherine as part of something majestic. What was the fascination? With feverish eyes, Blake was intent on noting the details.
   As if on cue, two footman emerge before a long line of coaches at the front steps of the Science Hall. Theirs is a stoic stride despite the ensuing attention of the crowd. As they stationed themselves at the doors of the first carriage, a long pause follows before the tallest breaks away, climbing up again to the top steps. He then addresses the other footman below with a mahogany staff held to his side. He offers no words, just the swift strike of the staff on the ground below. With every hit, the other footman engages and take to the task of opening coach doors. Theirs is an awkward dance. The rhythm is evasive but charged like the disengagement of blasts from a cannon. With every boom of the staff above, a terse gesture responds below and another door is opened thus introducing the Eltons to the outer world.
   In comparison, the Eltons exit their rides in a more genteel manner. In groups of two and three, they make their way precisely up the walkway. The weight of measured steps give off a soft tone against the smooth cobblestones. The sounds are delicate alongside the ramble of the horses on the street. In unison, they glide along as a single body all under a single thought – to be seen. Even in the choice of dress, there is a particular regal consistency. Sleek styled hats crown heads while gold gilded walking canes tap afoot. Men sport cufflinks of onyx and precious metals while to the ladies, snow white evening gloves flank bejeweled bodies wrapped in blackened shades of the season.

   As they mingle, arms sway to and fro extending greetings to other likened pairs but it's all a sullen affair. Many display bored eyes as they stand in small circles offering polite conversation about the unbecoming weather. Upon the occasional autumn wind, stout men hold tight to their hats as ladies hollow their shoulders in to nestle close to their stoles. The occasional wisp of hair that plays along the breeze is quickly banished behind a diamond ear. Theirs is a leaden quality. Even time drags in their presence. Many can be seen sporting timepieces with eyes glaring down. Are they noting the arrival of time or merely its passing? Blake can't discern and scoffs at the display. What was is it about all present that seemed so contrived? Blake’s eyes are unable to rest upon anything captivating. There is a tension in the languished play of sight and sound. Searching through the many images that continue to flood his mind he wonders,
   “Where does Catherine fit in?”

Other "Saving Catherine" Excerpts...

Introductions - Meet Catherine Pt. 1
Introductions - Meet Stephen Blake
Introductions - Meet Dr. Nigel Eastwick

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Introductions - Meet Catherine - Pt. 1

Another rough cut excerpt from "Saving Catherine" by Nancy Sima.

      The gathering was feted as the inauguration of the Nigel Eastwick Science Trust, a scholarship program provided for by the Elton and Eastwick families respectively. Elton was the married name of Professor Eastwick’s only child, a daughter named Catherine. It was also the oldest and richest family in all of Boston. As such, an occasion tied to the Elton’s was sure to garner much attention especially in the quiet, rustic corner that was home to Amherst Academie.
   Ms. Catherine Eastwick married Mr. Michael Elton on April 29th of 1896. The wedding was a simple affair, if compared in scale to other Elton occasions but, the marriage would prove to be otherwise. As an Elton bride, Catherine’s life took on a wider lens of interest by the public with her husband’s simultaneous bid for Councilman. Some called it a marriage of convenience that brought the up and coming Elton a suitable public image for elected office. He dismissed the claims calling it love to everyone he met as they honeymooned along the stops of his campaign trail.
   As Blake looked around, he thought it strange that the announcement of a Scholarship should receive as much attention as this one did. There was such an exalted air of pageantry that seemed to pervade the evening. It reminded Blake little of Professor Eastwick, a far simpler fellow. Perhaps it would have amused the Professor to see such attention indulged upon him. Blake then thought of his daughter, Catherine, more commonly known as the mathematician. The story goes that as a child, Catherine would call out numbers to her father from the floor as she played alongside him. He would then use her numbers to setup exam questions.

   Professor Eastwick was fond of saying, “ Don’t look for tricks in my questions. They were all designed with the assistance of a 5 year old – it’s nothing more than child’s play.”
   Perhaps tonight he would get to meet the famed mathematician.

Other "Saving Catherine" Excerpts
Introductions - Meet Stephen Blake
Introductions - Meet Dr. Nigel Eastwick

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Introductions - Meet Stephen Blake

Photo Credit: Tiquetonne2067

Another rough cut excerpt from "Saving Catherine"

    It was late fall when Stephen Blake found himself standing amid a crowd on the steps of the Amherst Academie Science Hall. A student of some years past, Blake was there wanting to pay tribute to the memory of his mentor, Professor Nigel Eastwick or at least, as he saw him to be. 
  Perversely, he had only found out of the Professor’s passing when an invitation arrived at the farmhouse announcing a benefit in his honor. Blake would remember the sight of the envelope as it lay amongst the day’s mail. It was unusually large to be anything ordinary. Inside on a heavy stock of white, a single word  would catch his attention and turn his world in. 'Posthumous', the word devoured his senses leaving nothing of the day to reach him as he stood outside his home in disbelief. No sounds would catch his ear, no scents would carry to him in the morning air and though his lips were still wet, no taste would remain on his tongue. Even his fingers would lose feeling of the smooth parchment as it lay between his rough hands. Only one thing remained and it magnified his loss – his sight. Through clear hazel eyes, Blake would read again and again the words before him.
   In his mind, they were projected a hundred times over so that he could trace the form of each and every word. He could study the line breaks and variances of weight given to curves going up and down. He could see deep into the grain, beyond  black streaks resembling nothing more than specks on the page. He could see everything and yet understand nothing of Professor Eastwick’s sudden death. Looking to understand one word, he was at a loss to find any answers in the other words scripted elegantly in between.
   The only thing he did know was that a return to Amherst was in order.

Other "Saving Catherine" Rough Cuts here

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Introductions - Meet Dr. Nigel Eastwick

"Dr. Nigel Eastwick left this world on a cool summer evening; a well man, his only misfortune was death." 

   I submitted the above sentence for a one sentence hook contest. My sentence didn't win but it did bring my attention back to a manuscript I had abandoned back in college. I remember the experience of writing those first 10 pages. Characters I hardly knew just seemed to pour out onto the page. It's been well over 10 years since last we spoke to one another. I'm having fun getting reacquainted with them once again. Here's a rough cut of the intro.

Excerpt "Saving Catherine" by Nancy Sima

   Dr. Nigel Eastwick left this world on a cool summer evening; a well man, his only misfortune was death.
   His life was one of many graces – love, family, profession – ‘a respectable life’ it was said. His one indulgence was a personal enjoyment in writing. Privately, he had amassed a collection of notebooks on daily musings. Some entries were trivial, even mundane but altogether their beauty was a keen observation of the ordinary. On the eve of his passing, Dr. Eastwick would take to writing once more. Words upon words, they were to be his last.
     Did he invite death that night? He seemed to jot down his thoughts like so many times before. And yet, there was the odd manner in which he chose to sign his name, on a scrawled line at the end, binding himself in contract to his words. Was he taking ownership of them or relinquishing ownership of something greater?

Monday, May 9, 2011

This Week's Inspiration...

Ernest Hemingway's typewriter
"Do not worry, you've always written before and you will
write now. All you have to do is write one true sentence.
Write the truest sentence you know."
- Ernest Hemingway

Friday, May 6, 2011

Busy, Busy, Busy

Photo credit: Johanna Goodyear
Hello All,

It's been a hectic week...will be back to blogging in a few.