Sunday, March 30, 2014

Finding Myself in Literature

I don't just lose myself in the writing process, but I also find myself. Sometimes, this is a surprise. Once while completing Becoming Beauty, I cried all the way home from work because I had unintentionally written one of my biggest life challenges into Bella's storyline.  However, in Sam James, the similarities between me and Sam are more than a coincidence. Prim secretary Samantha James, who is a writer and closet shoe/handbag aficionado, is forced to step out of the shadows and embrace life. With her wry sense of humor and need to document life through writing, stepping into Sam's super sexy Manolos and Louboutins and wondering, What if...? was a pleasure.

Without any further ado, I present:

In a nondescript suit, sensible shoes, dark-rimmed glasses, and her mousy hair in a bun, Samantha James’ was nothing but reserved and unremarkable.  Few noticed her long enough to catch the intelligence lurking behind the heavy frames, or the look of amusement as she tapped away at her keyboard day after day.  Today, tucked behind her desk supposedly completing requisition forms, she composed the following:
Today, as my computer was misbehaving atrociously, I was forced to call on the IT Department. In no time at all, a “techie” dressed in a plaid button-up shirt and flamboyantly bright tie depicting the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (clearly meant to demonstrate his high level of professionalism) was dispatched.  While resolving my computer issues—albeit adeptly—he regaled me with facts about flamenco dancing, a topic on which he seemed frighteningly knowledgeable.  As he prattled on, my mind filled with images of him in a festively ruffled costume and fantastically large sombrero, a’ la Jim Carrey in The Mask, shaking his can-can for the lady folk.
                Sam, poised to spice up her commentary on flamenco-dancing tech support, was distracted as the door flung open, banging loudly as it collided with the wall.  In strode an impossibly tall blonde with a harried look on her brow.  Accustomed to this type of dramatic entrance, Sam did no more than glanced up.  However, in that split second, she sensed something out of the ordinary.  Hazarding a longer look, Sam noted her boss’s over-teased blonde hair (big enough to put Miss Alabama to shame) standing in frizzled disarray about her head, and the make-up Sam was certain required a trowel for application noticeably absent from the splotchy face.  Somewhat worried by this, but making a mental note to jot it down later, Sam inquired, “Miss Sumers, are you alright?”
Gigantic tears welled up in the woman’s eyes, and without any further ado, she began to sob loudly.  Sam, well-versed in office dramatics, calmly grabbed a box a tissues and stood to one side while Vanessa Sumers pulled one after another from the box.  Sam allowed her five minutes of unchecked blubbering before asking, “Mr. Compton?”
The blonde head bobbed up and down in confirmation, the wailing growing louder at mention of the name.   Sam, sighing inwardly, waited until the weeping subsided before asking, “What happened this time, Vanessa?”
Vanessa sucked in a shaky breath, released it, and blew her nose loudly.  “There was… (sniffle) …another woman.  He promised he’d stopped… (loud nose blowing) …seeing her when he proposed to me.  (Wiping of tears. Snuffle, snuffle) But he hadn’t!  That coward… (more sniffling and mopping at streaming eyes) …never ended the relationship! He’s been stringing both of us along the whole time…”  Her voice broke on the last word.  Burying her face in her hands, the howling beginning anew.
Sam considered the situation while the woman before her continued wallowing noisily in her own grief.  Where was the carefully coifed and emotionally cool business woman Vanessa Sumers had been before she’d met Derick Compton?  Sam remembered what she had once written about her boss:
I have the distinct privilege of working for Malibu Barbie.  The woman—incredibly tall to begin with—perches the weight of a healthy bust, an enormous blonde head, and an equally large ego on two of the skinniest legs known to man.  Furthermore, she toddles about in miniscule skirts (perhaps they are actually belts?) and the highest stilettos possible.  Her character, equal parts Marilyn Monroe and Adolf Hitler lends its own charms to the mix as she rules the office like a 6 foot tall peroxide-tinted dictator.

 “And we were so happy!”  Vanessa sobbed out.  “We had such beautiful plans!  A simple wedding on the beach in Southern California, and honeymooning on a Caribbean cruise. Now it’s all over!”  She attempted to say more, but the words were drowned in a fresh downpour of tears and vociferous nose blowing.

(Excerpt from Sam James, all rights reserved by the author)

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