Wednesday, April 02, 2008

In Between

I'm in between right now. Waiting. But it's a good place to be. I was reading some of my old blog post and thought, "hey, I used to write pretty good blog."

These days, I'm not so sure. I'm saving my brain power for my next brilliant book.

Just for grins, here's the opening for Love Starts With Elle.

Twilight capped Beaufort, South Carolina, with a winter blue as December red, white, and green reflected in the downtown windowpanes. From the loft of her Bay Street art gallery, Elle Garvey leaned against the waist-high wall, admiring GG Galley's "Art in Christmas_ show. Visitors and patrons - some Beaufort residence, others curious tourists - milled among the displays, speaking in low tones, sipping hot cider.

The mellow voice of Andy Williams serenaded them. It's the most wonderful time of the year . . .

In the middle of downtown Beaufort, GG Gallery occupied an old, boxy hardware space with three thick support beams marching down the middle. Old Man Hamilton used to stock nuts and bolts on one side, household supplies on the other.

When Elle took over, she trimmed the beams in white lights and set up sculptures and other art forms where the nuts and bolts used to live. In place of household supplies, she displayed paintings. The gallery walls were now a rich beige, the cement floor a luscious navy-blue.

Elle loved art, the scene and setting of her gallery.

The subtle fragrance of drying oils, the privilege of helping talent find expression, the thrill of connecting an artist with a patron.

If a picture painted a thousand words, then let the artist speak. Oh, cadmium red, what do you have to say? What story hides beneath the beauty of a blue-green wave crashing against a ship's hull?

Without art, the world was merely arguable shades of black and white, Elle surmised. Definitive rights and wrongs, a series of controlled ideas set forth by men who lacked imagination.

Art challenged the soul.

Elle's younger sister, Julianne, caught Elle hiding and motioned for her to come down.

In a minute.

'Elle, are you the queen, surveying her kingdom?" Arlene Coulter gazed up from the bottom of the loft stairs, her bright red Christmas suit its own fashion work of art.

"Yes, and are you my loyal servant?" Elle started down the stairs.

Arlene curtsied, her bottle-blonde hair falling forward like silky angel hair, the hem of her skirt sliding up her knee. "Yours and yours alone, O you of whom Art News wrote 'one of the lowcountry's finest galleries.'"

"Best hundred-dollar bribe I ever spent." Elle jogged the rest of the way down to the bottom, her brown gypsy-and-godet skirt swirling about her booted legs.

Arlene's laugh floated. "Darling, your artist eye is truly God gifted. Tell me now. . ." The woman linked arms with Elle and led her to the center of the back wall. "Is this the work of the great Alyssa Porter?"

"It is." Elle surveyed Alyssa's work. Her paintings spoke to her differently each time she viewed them. She envied Alyssa and artists like her - the ones who had courage to chase the dream. Elle had lost hers a long time ago.

Arlene squeezed Elle’s arm tighter. "And what do you like about this Alyssa?"

"Her paintings move me.' Elle freed herself from Arlene and moved over to Alyssa's "Rose Garden," convinced it'd be a masterpiece one day. Like all great abstract artists, Alyssa was a master in drawing and understood how to contrasts colors to stir emotion.

"Move you?" Arlene studied one of Alyssa's abstracts through a one-eyed slit, her short, red-tipped fingers squeezing the point of her chin. "I suppose they move me too. I'm just not sure where."

"You're looking for a definite image, Arlene. Don't be so concrete. Let your imagination run . . ." Elle hooked her arm around the woman’s shoulders. "Follow my hand. See how you just moved out of the sunlight into the shade?"

"No, but girl, I really love your bracelets. Where'd you get those?" Arlene grabbed Elle's wrist to study the tri-color bangles.

"You beat all, Arlene." Elle twisted her hand free.

"Well, a good set of bracelets is hard to find." Arlene gazed again at the painting. "So, what should I do about Miss Porter?"

"Buy her. The New York art scene has discovered Alyssa and if you don't purchase something before her first auction, you'll never be able to afford it. Here . . ." Elle walked to the other side of the display. "This one on the bottom right is only two thousand dollars."

Arlene stood an inch way from the bottom painting, tipping her head to one side. The track lighting haloed the back of her head. "The lines shift as I move."

"Moving from light to shadow, and back again."

"I'm afraid if I buy one of these I'll wake up one night with the dang thing hanging over my head whispering, 'I see dead people.'" Arlene bent in half as if she hung upside down, then snapped upright. "What about this artist over here. Coco Nelson. Now this painting I get. Look - a woman's face, with eyes and hair."


Last night we had a cook out for the down town home church. It was fun. We had about twenty people there. A good mix of believers and seekers.

My heart is still not tender, but I'm asking God to teach me to love.


Rel said...

Love it! But was there ever any doubt?!?!


Sharon Hayes said...

WHAT A TEASE!!!! Now we have to wait for the rest of it. Thanks Rach, can't wait for the book to come out.

Take advantage of the down time and rest, pray and visit w/Jesus.

Love Mom

Digging for Pearls said...

How long have you been writing?

I wanted to let you know that I am having a book giveaway. To enter all you need to do is post ten struggles you face as a Christian woman and also your age. I am trying to survey as many women as possible for research for a book I want to write. If you have a few minutes, come check out my blog. Thanks and God bless.

Gorilla Bananas said...

Enthralling start to a novel! Are there any gorillas in the plot?