Concerns with such mundanity as earning a living and stuff have kept me from my re-writing for the last ten days or so. But yesterday and today I did a lot. In fact I am now about 1/3 of the way through the re-write of part 2 (of 4).
I thought it was tie to introduce you all to Patty… She is a crucial character in the novel as she provides a mirror for many of the others. Patty is a good time girl… and a successful business person too, so she is no stereotype. She is who she is and does what she wants… no matter what anyone else thinks or feels. BUT round about this stage of the book, she starts to have her doubts… which is where this extract comes from. Enjoy.
“Kids are playing sport at school or smoking dope in gardens, workers are still at work, the unemployed are avoiding the heat, the dog walkers have either already been or are yet to come. It’s only lonely people with things on their minds who go walking around the dam at this time of day. Even the usual swarms of cyclists riding too fast in public spaces are gone. Patty forces air into her lungs and surveys the scene. What does this make her? The party girl trapped under a ray of sunlight like a rare butterfly under a pin. The daylight doesn’t show her best side. She has had no chance to prepare. This is everyday life. This is what needs to be survived so there can be more Saturdays, more all-nighters, all-weekenders. This is what she runs from every single time she goes to the places she goes, in her outfits, to her beats, with her friends. It’s obvious the sun doesn’t give a shit. Just look at it. Carrying on with carrying on. Oblivious. The thought makes her retch slightly. The sheer indifference of it.
Ahead of her gaze the scene splits in two, opening a gate of light over the horizon. The extreme brightness of the ground-level view seems to pulse and shimmer with emotion as well as light, while the overhead steel of the sky lifts, gains altitude if not a more forgiving aspect. Into the space between, Patty’s gaze becomes lost and her rapidly twitching focus slows along with her breathing till she is standing quite slackly on the hill, staring out north across the city, hearing voices and seeing people who last walked this dust many, many years ago.”
From the novel “Johannesburg”
© David Chislett 2013