On The Blog // Fall Reading List

So We Beat On

A preview of my Jazz Era THG AU, loosely based off of The Great Gatsby.


(Because I didn’t post anything for Six Sentence Sunday, and because I’m excited about this story, and because why not?)


As the sinking sun casts its muted orange haze over the sardined buildings, I cup my head in my hand, balanced carefully on the edge of my knee, while I wait patiently on the back stoop. From a window propped open at the dwelling adjacent from us, music drifts down, a lazy tune I vaguely recognize only as that new music craze that’s seized the country in quite a fervor. I hear it sometimes walking down the streets on my way home from the factory, wafting out from some apartment or humming silently behind the darkened windows of the general store. Jazz, they call it.

I’m waiting for my cousin Gale, who promised to pick me up here, from this very spot, as soon as the cover of night falls. He promised me good money if I were willing to help him in this new venture of his. Good money for us all, he said. I was hesitant at first, but I would do almost anything if it meant food for my mother, and my sister, Prim, who is the only person in the world I’m certain I love.

It won’t be long now. As the last of the sun’s long rays thin out before diminishing all together, swallowed up by the blue-black cloak prickled with the first emerging specks of starlight, I wrap my father’s old hunting jacket around me. Behind me, I hear the familiar sounds of my mother cleaning the kitchen after another busy day. For a fleeting moment, guilt stabs at my heart before receding as I repeat the same yarn I’ve been telling myself all day: it’s for them. It will help us all, give us a little extra to get by. I’m doing this for them.

The low, dull chugging of an engine in the distance interrupts the low buzz of domestic life. I stand immediately, and move out until I see it: a black Ford Model T pickup. It belongs to one of Gale’s friends, Thom, who works with him on the line as butchers for the same factory I work for. Rumbling up mere feet away, Gale leans out the doorway in greeting. “Climb in the back, Catnip,” he tells me.

All I have is my humanity.
I am so soft.
I am so soft.
I am so soft.
I often repeat myself.
As if I am trying to convince myself of what I am saying.
As if I am running from my words but they are stones in my shoes and I am falling after every breath.

Someone told me I should write a book.
I looked at the clouds and counted how many looked like the way your lips would feel across my neck.

I am tearing out pages of the bible and strangling God with prophecy that is my soul.
I know the moon too well for her to spill my secrets.

I thought we would grow old together.
Birth babies like laughter together.
But I am waking up in the middle of the day to see your face screaming voicelessly and I would rather run straight for the fucking edge of this earth than never hear you say my name.

I am shaking, darling.

People are staring at my paranoia and my suffering is so loud.

Last night I had a dream that we were standing in a room of mirrors and I tried to reach for you.

Last night I had a dream that we were standing in a room of mirrors and I tried to reach for you.


Last night I had a dream that we were standing in a room of mirrors and I tried to reach for you.

I could see you cracking open your ribcage and I wanted nothing more than to hide your hands in mine and kiss you back together.
Kiss every broken bone created by you and by me and by me.

I know you are scared of my hands.
They have always been so destructive.
But for you,
I would break them back and make them as soft as Beethoven’s fifth secret.

I know you are scared of my heart.
It has always beat everyone who has tried to turn me into water.
Something that flows so easily.
No rough edges.
No cracked centers.
But for you,
I would break it open and make it as holy as the verses you whispered into me the night you told me you loved me.

—  There is a dream stuck in the head of every lover. A dream of about to be hit. But even God will expose her bones if it means she gets to sleep inside of hands forever.
SSS 7/14: So We Beat On, Chapter 1

This chapter is FINISHED and just waiting for editing, and some other touches. YAY! I WROTE SOMETHING!

“It’s my fifth party this week. I’d go home now, if they let me. But you have to admit, the booze is prime.” I say nothing, so the blond boy rambles on. It’s clear he approves of the booze. “Not compared to last night, though,” he continues. “I ate ‘til I burst. Did you make it?”

Whether I recognize him or not, I decide right here and now that I don’t like this fellow, whoever he is. “No,” I say. “This is my first.”

He raises his eyebrows in curiosity. “A virgin?” he asks. Then he belts out a laugh at the astonished look on my face. “To speakeasies,” he explains. “You need to relax. Want to dance?” The band has started playing, some jazz tune that I don’t recognize, and around us people crowd into the center of the room to dance the Charleston.

“No thank you,” I say amid the ruckus and movement rising around us. I try to move, but every pathway is blocked.