Hello wonderful storytellers,
My latest wild scheme is to share my actual creative writing every Friday.
I recently read Austin Kleon’s book Show Your Work. And I am fucking inspired.
I want to eliminate the fear of being judged, of being copied, of being not enough, all of these worries run rife in our creative community and it will not do! This is a journey, and not always an easy one at that, and we cannot do it in isolation. After all, books are meant to be read by many.
I’m definitely not suggesting to let anyone and everyone give you critical feedback on your writing. To be blunt, a lot of people don’t know shit. Not everyone is going to be able to give you the feedback you need. But I’m not asking for critical analysis of my work. I’m just sharing my work with you. Hoping that some of you might enjoy it.
I’m taking a risk, giving my creations to the world, hoping one day that my words are everywhere, in lots of people’s hands. We have to start somewhere. We have to be brave and begin the sharing. And I encourage you to do the same.
Without further ado, here is the first 500 words of my second novel. She has no title but is fondly known as Elisabeth. I am very proud of this book. She is a historical fiction novel, and she explores sexual shame, trauma, and liberation within 1500’s England.
‘Elisabeth.’ by Amie McNee.
“I feel like I’ve pissed myself!” moaned Livia, my sister.
“Don’t speak like that!” The younger sister shouldn’t have to reprimand the elder as often as I did, but I couldn’t really blame her for the outburst. I could feel drops of sweat between my legs. Why must we sweat? Especially there of all places. It was ungodly.
“We will need to cut your hair before you go Elisabeth. It’s far too long.” Agnes, my even elder sister was walking just in front of me.
“Maybe they’ll shave it for you when you get there.” Suggested Livia. I clutched my long, red waves. No. My hair was staying.
My sisters were referring to my impending removal to a nunnery. Removal was not quite the right word. I had chosen to go. It made sense for Mother and Father financially and it made sense for me, spiritually. I would never have been suited to a marriage like Agnes or Livia. I was for God. It had always been the plan. Mother and Father’s plan. My plan and God’s plan.
There was an excited hubbub when we reached St Peters. It was a small church, with dark stone walls and big stained glass windows. The only light that entered St Peter’s was coloured. Bright reds, purple, green and gold. I felt a pain as I realised that, come autumn, I would have to say goodbye to its pews painted in stained glass light.
There was a commotion around the entrance.
“Go in quickly Elisa.” My Mother snapped, putting a firm hand at my back and pushing me towards the large arched doors. But there was no missing the cause of the excitement. I saw Joan immediately. She stood to the right of the door. She wore a white sheet. Just a white sheet. She held it as high as she could, but the material was thin and I could see her breasts.
“Will you forgive me Lady Knolly?” Joan choked a little as she spoke to my Mother but Mama did not reply.
“Get in the Church Elisa!” She hissed, shoving me in the back.
“Elisabeth?” Joan addressed me by my first name, it was not appropriate. I was the daughter of Lord Knolly, personal Friend of King Henry. But I stopped, resisting my Mother’s shoves. This woman needed help. She reached for me. I took her hand. It was shaking. “Forgive me Elisa.”
“Someone stop this!” My mother snatched at me, physically picking me up off the floor and taking me inside.
“What has she done Mother?” I craned my neck back at the desperate face. “Where are her clothes?”
“Why did you take her hand?”
“She was asking for forgiveness!”
“You will wash them.” She was hardly making sense. “She’s a Jade.”
I knew what that word meant. My father petted my mother on the back as we took our seats in the pews. I watched her closely as she regathered herself. Her pursed lips and high chin returning to position. My sisters joined us a moment later. They were whispering.
“What has Joan done?” I asked them.
“Do not tell her, Livia.” Agnes hissed.
“Mother called her a Jade.” I thought something must’ve been misconstrued. Joan and John Wright were a Godly couple, but Livia was nodding.
I shrunk back into my dress. My ribs finally unsticking from the front of my corset as I hunched my shoulders in.
“It is worse than this.” Livia whispered.
“The smithy, goodman John found her with three different men…” My heart sped up. “At the same time.”
“No!” She was speaking out the side of her mouth and the congregation were noisy and unsettled. I had heard wrong.