My apologies for the lateness of today’s post, I have been very busy completing another piece of creative work and haven’t had much time for my current WIP, Lonely Heart’s. I can;t really give too much away about what I have been working on as it is a personal piece of work, as a gift for a family member, but I promise I will share with you a little more about it next week.
For today’s post I have again been thinking about time when something happens and in an instant our lives are changed forever. I guess in a way I’m building on last week’s post, but this time I am focusing on how actions and circumstances, other than our own, influence our lives.
Unless you live in a cave with no access to the modern world (not sure how you are reading my blog, if this is the case), you have heard about the sad passing of Australian cricketer, Phil Hughes. Now I am by far from a cricket fan, sure I’ve heard of Don Bradman and I may have played an extremely uncoordinated game or two of backyard cricket back in the day, but until I heard the sad news of the accident on the news, I’m sad to say I had no idea who Phil Hughes was. I understand that Phil was a great sportsman and cricketer, not only recognised within Australia, but all over the world. At the age of twenty he was compared to the great Don Bradman (the one I have heard of), he was in the prime of his career and in an instant all of that changed. Not only did Phil’s life sadly come to an end, but in an instant the lives of the bowler -Sean Abbott, Phil’s friends and family and the entire sporting community world were changed forever.
Today is Phil’s 26th birthday and sadly his family are mourning instead of celebrating. As I write this post, it is dark and raining outside, as if nature is trying to provide me with inspiration to write a literary description of the darkness and sadness that many are feeling. I am not going to try and find the right words to describe their pain and heartache, I am simply going to express my sympathy for all those who have been touched by the loss of Phil Hughes.
So on this stormy Sunday, let us remember Phillip Joel Hughes (30/11/88 – 27/11/14), son, brother, friend and teammate.
This week I’ve been thinking about the dynamics in Thomas and Rose’s relationship. The circumstances that brought them together and those that threaten to tear them about. If things were different, perhaps they would never have met. If the Wall St Crash never happened in 1929, if the recession now known as The Great Depression never happened, even if they never lost their parents at a young age or if they had never experienced darkness in their lives then perhaps I would be telling a very different story.
I’ve written before about choices that we make and how these choices change the direction our lives are taking, whether we realise it at the time or not. Yet what about those things in our lives that we cannot change, circumstances beyond our control? How do these things impact and change our lives? That is exactly what I am thinking about in relation to Thomas and Rose’s relationship; the kinds of things that have happened in their lives that has made them who they are, things that are beyond their control.
With Rose and Thomas, everything that has happened int heir lives and in the wider world has paved the way for them to meet. Rose can’t deny that she has feelings for Thomas, but thinks it better for both of them if she doesn’t act on those feelings. Thomas on the other hand, doesn’t always do what seems to be best for him and he is determined to be with Rose, with no one getting in his way, not even Rose herself.
So, what things in your own life, that have been beyond your control, have changed your path?
““Édesem, it looks like you have yourself a handsome young admirer.” József says with a smile as he leaves his office and comes back into the front of the shop. Even though I am quite sure he is right, I know that nothing serious could ever come of it. What would people say, a wealthy businessman with a poor tailor’s daughter? As if that wouldn’t be enough to gossip about, what if someone uncovered my secrets, my darkness? I don’t think I could stand the thought of my innermost secrets being splashed over the pages of some newspaper. “Rosie, don’t do this to yourself, don’t overthink things. You are a beautiful young lady and Mr Heath obviously has excellent taste, just see where things go without looking so closely.” József interrupts me from my thoughts and always knows when I am overthinking. Even though I would like to believe him, I know that nothing can really between Thomas and me.
“What would you like for lunch?” I say to József, hoping to distract him and at first it seems to be working.
“Some sandwiches will be fine Rosie and I know that you’re trying cause a distraction.” I knew he would be onto me, but I wave my hand dismissing his comment as if I have no idea what he is talking about and head outside and into our house which is directly next door to the shop.
As I busy myself by making some sandwiches for lunch, I begin wonder where Thomas will take me for dinner. It would probably be somewhere posh, so I really need to see if we have any material suitable for an evening dress. It’ll be a push for time, but I’m sure I could make something suitable in time. He’s awfully forward, just look at how he behaved earlier, perhaps he will kiss me, do I want him to? I think I do.
Am I seriously considering this? Although on the other-hand, I can’t just turn down an invitation from a man like Mr Heath. That would be rude and also could cause friction in József and Thomas’ business relationship.
Just one meal, just to be polite and I will thank him for a lovely evening and we will both go on with our lives –separately. But what if he wants to see me again? What if he wants more? Could I give him more? Should I?
What am I thinking? Why am I even considering this? Thomas and I are from two different worlds, it would be best for both of us to go our separate ways. One evening, which will be lovely, I’m sure – perfect even, but it cannot go further than that. I cannot help but feel as though I am throwing something of immense value away and as I catch my reflection in the window, I see my mother’s face looking back at me and as she does in those moments when I need her help or advice she spoke to me, “Rosie, some things are just meant to be.” What does she mean? That Thomas and I are meant to be or are we are meant to go our separate ways?”
One of the truly amazing things about writing (and reading) is the unique opportunity to explore different worlds. Books have the unique ability to transport us through time and space to different worlds and times. While constantly researching the setting for Lonely Hearts and the other books in the series, I have had to wonderful opportunity to not only explore different places, but also to explore a completely different time period.
Lonely Hearts is the story of Rose, beginning in The Rocks in Sydney Australia in February 1935. As part of my research I have not only been exploring The Rocks and Sydney as it was in 1935, but also what the world was like in the 1930s. Through my research I have been shown a whole new world, seeing places I never knew existed and in the words of Princess Jasmine I’ve found, “A dazzling place I never knew.”
CLip remains the property of Disney Animation Studios
What is even more amazing about this new world, is that it is the world that my grandparents grew up in and it has been amazing to gain a glimpse into the world of their early childhood. My grandparents were born in England in the early 1930s and my grandmother will be celebrating her 80th birthday next month!
The thirties was a truly interesting and glamourous era, despite the recession caused by the aftermath of WWI and The Great Crash of 1929 (now known as The Great Depression) it was a time of glamour that was influenced by Hollywood. The age of the cinema allowed for people to escape from the reality of their everyday lives for a moment and stars like Joan Crawford, Myrna Loy and Greta Garbo influenced the fashion of the day.
The 1930s may now be known as The Great Depression, but I think the women of the era missed the memo and the fashion changed from the straight line dresses of the twenties to a rediscovery of the female form, fashion was flirty without being too revealing, with fitted waist lines and often full skirts, occasionally puff sleeves and shoulder pads in contrast to the fitted waist. Crossover and v-necklines were very common with skirt length being mid-calf for day wear and ankle length for evening wear.
I really am completely enthralled by this new world I have discovered and I can only hope that I pass on the findings of my discovery to my readers.
“For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”
― Anne Lamott
Now I leave you with a short excerpt from Chapter 2 of Lonely Hearts, enjoy.
As József escorts Mr Heath to the shop front, he pauses in front of the counter I’m sitting behind, I stand and smile politely, pushing aside my wayward thoughts, “It was a pleasure meeting you Mr Heath, I hope your meeting went well and that we’ll be seeing you around every now and then.” I fib, knowing exactly how well the meeting went. He smiles his swoon-worthy lop-sided smile, “Rose, please it’s Thomas and yes very well indeed, but I think you already knew that didn’t you?” I give a small embarrassed smile as he leans in closer, mere inches from my face, “And believe me Rose, the pleasure was entirely mine.” The instant he steps back I feel bereft, as if I would do anything to feel him that close to me again, his breath caressing my cheek. As I attempt to restore my composure, Thomas extends his hand towards me in offer of a handshake. I gingerly extend my hand towards his, still embarrassed as the thought of my extended handshake earlier this morning comes to mind. Taking me by surprise, he gently grasps my hand, caressing my knuckles with his thumb and kisses the back of my hand causing me to shiver involuntarily, “Until next time.”…
Sorry about last week, procrastination got the better of me and I started and finished an assessment the day before it was due. The good news is that I got it finished (hopefully it’s enough to pass) and I’m back again ready to share some new thoughts, plans and even an excerpt from Lonely Hearts, so keep reading if that sounds like it might tickle your fancy!
I’ve been thinking about some of the smaller details in the world and lives of my characters over the last week and have come up with a few new thoughts. After watching the Underbelly Razor series (at the suggestion of my uncle), I’ve been able to gain a little insight into the world of Sydney from 1927-1936 – the perfect time frame to provide an insight into the world of Thomas and Rose. When we first meet Rose in Lonely Hearts it is February 1935, the economy is slowly recovering from the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and many of the country’s wealthy businessman are taking advantage of lower property prices and the lower cost of living. Thomas is one of these people, but he isn’t the type of businessman to put people out of a job, in fact his aim was to do the complete opposite. I’ve spoken of this before, but in case you’ve missed it, Thomas’ role as a businessman and investor is the key factor for Thomas and Rose meeting. Ordinarily Thomas and Rose would never have met, they were from two different worlds – Rose was orphaned at the age of fourteen after her mother -her only known family died and was taken in by her employer, József, a Hungarian-Jewish immigrant and the owner of a tailor shop. Thomas is a wealthy businessman who inherited a significant fortune when his parents died of Spanish Influenza when he was only eight years old. Therefore, if it was not for Thomas’ interest in investing in József’s business, the two would never have met.
I started thinking deeply about the two different worlds my main characters are from and the details of their worlds. Thomas, being of considerable wealth, would have had a large house – possibly in the Northern suburbs of Sydney. He would have many people in his employment to look after his household – including a driver. When I considered that, I started to wonder what kind of car he would have and after some initial research, decided that Thomas would own several cars, including a town car for everyday travel (such as travelling to The Rocks to invest in a certain business), an expensive glamourous car for attending evening events and a sporty little roadster, which Thomas would drive himself -because boys and their toys and all that. I haven’t decided on all the details entirely but I think that this 1935 Lincoln 301 Model K 7-Passenger Limousine would be fairly nice car for attending evening events don’t you?
Rose’s world on the other hand is very different, neither her nor József own a car, with most of the money being put back into the business, trying to keep them going. They lived modestly in a small terrace house next to the tailor shop. The early 1930s may now be known as The Great Depression, but many people did not dress like that, especially Rosie. Her skills as a seamstress and her talent for replicating the latest fashions were evident in the gorgeous clothes she wore, however her wardrobe consisted of day dresses and skirts and blouses, she owned one hat for going out during the day, which she saved up her money for and she wore it at a jaunty angle- a flirtatious statement in line with the latest fashion.
Of course there is still much more I need to explore in the world of Thomas and Rose and the attention to detail is making this world become some sort virtual reality experience for me, I only hope I can pass this experience on to my readers.
So as I head off to nail down a few more details, I leave you with an excerpt from the first chapter of Lonely Hearts. Some of it may seem familiar as a section of it I have shared in a previous post, but I have done a little editing as I progressed through the chapter, so it has been added to and changed slightly. I’m sure it will be edited and changed several more times before I feel it is finished, but this is where it is at this point in time.
“As I prepared the tea for József and Thomas, I caught myself staring at him through the partially open door, “Damn”, I nearly overfill the cup and I glance back to the door hoping no one heard me curse, but I have no such luck. “Is everything ok Rosie?” József calls from his office, the door now wide open. “Yes, fine. Would you like me to bring in the tea?” I ask quickly as I try to draw the attention away from the fact that a lady just cursed. I glance back towards József’s office and see the same slight smile curving the one corner of his mouth and I’m sure he is laughing at me again. I carefully carry the tea into the cramped office setting the tray down on the small round table next to the wall between the two men. I risk another glance at Thomas to check if he still finds my fumbling nervousness amusing and notice a small scar above his right eye and that his nose is slightly crooked. Is this his darkness, was he a brawler, exerting his physical power over others for his own gratification? Surely a man of his social standing would not associate himself with such brutal activities. Yet how can I be sure, by my own admission I know nothing about this man, yet I am strangely drawn to him, I imagine reaching my hand up to the side of his face and touching that small scar as he leans his cheek into my palm, I shake my head banishing the image from my mind. Listen to yourself Rosie! You barely know this man and you’re having unsavoury fantasies about him! Fantasize all you want, but remember, you are from different worlds; you could never be together, besides he probably thinks you’re simple after this morning’s performance. I nod in silent agreement with my subconscious, even though I barely know this man, I know that we inhabit two very different worlds.
My hands are shaking, betraying my nervousness as I make József’s tea to his liking, one sugar and a small amount of milk. Rosie, get a hold of yourself! I take a breath, bracing myself before I look at him again. “How do you take your tea Mr Heath?” I ask with a polite smile. My eyes lock with his, my breath hitches and I suddenly feel hot –too hot. He runs his tongue over his bottom lip, sending a shiver down my spine. No man has ever affected me in this way and I desperately pray that he doesn’t realise the effect he is having on me, but the now familiar curve that is at the corner of his mouth tells me that he knows exactly what he is doing to me and he is enjoying watching quiver and squirm under his intent gaze. Thomas blinks, as if he has remembered that we are not alone, “Milk and two sugar thank you Rose and please, call me Thomas.” I nod and prepare his tea as per his instructions, as I lean over to pour the milk into the tea I am acutely aware that Thomas’ gaze is fixated upon me and I am sure I just caught his gaze attempting to glance down the front of my dress. I know I should be offended, but I enjoy that idea that he perhaps might find me as attractive as I find him. I turn to József before leaving the room, “Well if there is nothing else you gentleman need, I’ll let you get on with your meeting. I’ll be out the front.” Jószef nods and I turn to quickly take my leave. I can feel Thomas’ gaze on me as I walk out of the room, slightly swaying my hips, secretly hoping he is enjoying the show and I imagine his lips curving into that gorgeous lop-sided smile.”
Unfortunately I won’t have a chance to get out today’s blog post as procrastination got the better of me and I am starting and finishing a 2000 word essay that’s due tomorrow. This quote will hopefully get you through until I am able to write something of my own choosing to share with you all.