Tuesday, January 19, 2010

From the New Manuscript- Paper Shoes

CHAPTER 1: A Star is Born

There is a galaxy of odd planets spinning around Ruby Bloom’s head. The planets, alike in shape but unique in detail, are hung intermittently like ornaments on a balding Christmas tree left standing into January.

The big purple one is Anxiety and has grown in the slipstream of Guilt, a smooth, loud planet with two moons; Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and Agoraphobia. The black one is Envy. It’s crusted with ice and heavy like pewter. The pink spotted one, a loud sparkly affair, is Fantasy and it careens wildly about like a ball on a snooker table after the break. There is a shiny amber globe that catches passing light; a small marble named Longing that is the brightest of all the orbs.

When Ruby drinks tea it’s through a straw that must run carefully between a paranoid asteroid belt and the constellation Apathy. Her shirts all have wide v-necks so they don’t snag on celestial bodies when she’s getting dressed. And any boy she has ever kissed reports mysterious bruises and slight burn marks about the hairline.

The galaxy prevents Ruby from getting any real sleep. It hinders the wearing of hats, so she must settle for thin ribbons and specifically placed barrettes on special occasions. It is this chaotic and delicately balanced universe stuck fast around her dark head that alienates Ruby from the rest of the world, for in order to maintain its safety and function she must remain in isolation.

Her universe did not start with a big bang of cosmic proportions, but rather grew more gradually, from a trauma that occurred in the middle of an otherwise quiet childhood. It began the day Ruby Bloom, then age seven and a half, killed her grandfather.

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