my first pages

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This is a collaborative text and image project called

THE FIRST TEN PAGES OF THE TEN NOVELS I NEVER WROTE

 

It features the first pages of ten imaginary novels. An illustration will be commissioned and a cover for each novel created. The illustration depicts the direction of the novel and not the situation as literally represented on the first page. Ilustrators are only concerned with providing the illustration and not with the design of the book cover itself. Illustrations are in the most appropriate style. As an example, the novel OH, PILLS AND THINGS has been represented by Lucii Robinson. The first page of text provided is :

 

 

OH, PILLS AND THINGS . . .

 

“A troubled mind,” her friends said. But there were moments when the fish-hook negativity and the stabbing images that came to deflate her, they, for no apparent reason, stopped. It wasn't the drugs, because she'd always had these almost transcendent, too temporary, moments of relief, right through her teens and twenties, before the days of the drugs. They were just simply moments when the malicious parts of her own self would cease their grip and leave - not a reversal - but nothing, nothing of thought; just a pure physical sense of the world, of her body within it; of her sentience unbound.

 

And so it was now, sitting in the humid coffee shop and facing the window, alone at a small table, just that sort of moment, with its nurturing calm, with the slowing down of her breathing, with the excoriating thoughts leaving like water running off a hill.

 

She exhaled; the last days had been a helpless, grappling slide into a sucking, jagged, chasm.

 

People passed outside the window in apparent silence on the crisp, October day. She watched the trickle-down condensation on the inner shop glass, smelt the aroma of strong coffee, heard the mummer of the customers. She heard the shrieked banter of the young baristas. At the same time, she thought of his exposed back and its moles, turned away from her in the bed that morning before he awoke, where eventually he'd rolled over to look at her intently, blearily: “You're as white as a church candle,” he'd said.

 

She heard him wake properly in the shower, his washing audibly brisker as the needles of heat broke on his skin. Then, the coarse towelling of his body.

 

“I've no clean knickers to put on,” she said, when he returned to the bedroom and began to dress for work.

 

“You'll catch your death for your harlotry,” he said. He went to the kitchen.

 

“I'm off work, today!” she called above his breakfast clatter . “You told me!” he called back gently. “Did you forget you told me?” There was affection in his voice.

 

Rising from his bed, her pale, unclothed body indeed appeared luminous, truly almost waxy, in the early light. She checked her handbag to be certain but had no spare underwear. Peering into his wash basket she found discarded boxers, a Christmas novelty pair he wore all the year round. She reached in for them and pulled them up her thighs.

 

Now, in the coffee shop, the elastic bit high on her waist and the extra volume of material was oddly cramped inside her jeans. And PLEASE couldn't she, couldn't she JUST BE HERE NOW, in this clammy place, with the brazen October sky outside, girdled under her clothing in comical underwear EMPTY EMPTY EMPTY inside her skull, with no snarling visage nor roaring doom set to track her again, here or outside here? How FUCKING MUCH WAS THAT EVER SIMPLY TO ASK?

 

She watched as her own hand lifted the coffee cup and she felt its hot, porcelain lip touch her own thinly fleshed lip.

 

Image provided by Lucii Robinson :