In keeping with Tess’s rundown, this is the first section of what was clearly going to be a Very Awesome Novel. It had everything I liked—precognition, accidental death, morbid, overly-dramatic narrative, and you can’t really tell yet, but it was going to feature a Love Story From Beyond the Grave. Except (as with all my projects at that age and for the next four years), I got bored after three more sections, and abandoned it.
Frank is dead. They told me today, with their eyes red, their hands holding twisted handkerchiefs, they told me. Then they cried. I didn’t.
Don’t you see? I’ve been expecting this. He told me all about it in the letter. He even told me the date. Well, he was right, Miranda. It doesn’t seem fair.
They say he died quickly. When he swerved, he hit the wall, that wall next to the cemetery out on Route 25. The other driver is still alive. It doesn’t seem fair at all.
They’re crying a lot. I haven’t. The only thing that’s different is that vase, the one in our living room with the roses on it, it’s broken now.
It felt good to smash something, something I’ve always hated. My mother cried when I did it, but I don’t think it was because of the vase, since she’s always hated it too.
Frank left me his leather jacket. When my mother told me is when I threw the vase.
She said, “Cheryl, calm down.” And started to cry. Cheryl is her cousin, who she hasn’t seen in years. I still haven’t cried yet.
[Character who was apparently not important enough to warrant a name]
Okay, so this excerpt is revealing in a lot of ways, showcasing both my unrepentant pantster plotting style and my love of the run-on sentence. As I recall, when I was writing this, I had absolutely no plan whatsoever. Each line materialized out of thin air, with no forethought, and very little to do with the line before it. Also, it didn’t really occur to me that if I knew no fourteen-year-olds named Frank, there probably weren’t many sixteen- or seventeen-year-olds named Frank, either.
Despite his evident precognition, I was not actually very interested in Frank. I can’t tell if I designated him as uninteresting by giving him the leather jacket, or if the leather jacket is only a symptom of how undeveloped he was in my head.
“Why epistolary,” you might ask? And if you did, I might say, “I have no idea.” Perhaps because I had recently learned that it was, in fact, a novel-writing style.