Sunday, March 18, 2012

I'll Cry Out From My Grave

{First of all, I know one shouldn't do this, but I apologize for the quality of this story. (SORRY. I can't help the self-deprecation.) I've been really worried lately, as I only seem to be writing self-indulgent crap that no one would want to read except me. But it's been forever since I've posted a story here, and I thought you all might like to know what I've been working on. Or I can't think of anyone I'd rather share it with anyway. :) I'll share some of the inspiration behind this story at the bottom.}

I hadn't requested that the radio be put on; if it had been up to me I would have let silence reign. But someone had turned it on during lunch, and it continued to play in the background during the after-meal conversation. It didn’t bother me. I was living in a haze anyway, and was indifferent to most everything. My dull eyes were screened by a large pair of sunglasses. My whole body felt like it was encased in clay, and I was slowly being hardened by the sun. This was due to post-lunch torpor combined with the other crap in my system.
My languor was interrupted by Neil's cry of "Hey! This must be from Thorin’s new record!" and his turning up the volume of the familiar voice that was singing. I didn’t mind too much. It's not that I’d wanted to hear one of his songs, but Rowe Thorin was a famous singer, and I’d long ago accepted the fact I’d come across his music, possibly quite frequently. I stared vacantly over the lake, as the rest of the table listened intently. Then the chorus began:

"God, I'm sorry for what I've done to her
Suzanne, I'm sorry for what I've done to you..."

Those lines slammed against my chest and my shell shattered. Playfully shocked cries rang out all over the table. "Suzanne, you minx!" "Well, no need to ask about your past, Sue babe." The chatter continued long enough to drown out the whole song. I laughed and offered a flippant remark or two, carefully skirting the truth. I wasn't sure whether they thought this whole thing was coincidence, or if they thought Rowe Thorin truly had done something awful to me (or if not that, at least knew me to some extent). I was curious, but the last thing I wanted was to ask and find out.
I only lasted for fifteen minutes longer at the table, and offered a headache as an excuse to leave. I did feel ill, but in case you haven’t guessed, it wasn't my head that hurt.
I went to the room I was staying in, drew the curtains, and lay down on the smooth, white covers. With an arm laid over my eyes, I tried to calm my racing brain. I was too thoroughly upset, though. I had been shaken; I knew the only thing that was going to cure that was time.
Frustrated, I sat up. I had to listen to the whole song. I decided that rather than gluing myself to the radio, I would venture out to a record shop.
I left the villa without being interrupted by anyone, as everyone had gone out on the lake. The nearby town was small, but they had a record shop I’d passed several times, which I now located with ease.
As if I had no right to be there, I entered tentatively, eyes hidden again by dark frames. It was empty except for the bald man who seemed to run the place. Gathering my scattered spirits, I walked up to him. "Good afternoon. Do you have Rowe Thorin’s newest record?" I used my most polite voice, but he still looked at me as if I was diseased. He grunted in what I assumed to be the affirmative, and then located the album without a glimpse of any emotion. I paid for it and surreptitiously walked back to the villa.

The only record player was in the large, open living room, but I figured the house should stay empty long enough to listen to one song. I sat on the settee next to the record player and studied the album cover. It was a distorted photograph of Rowe with his guitar, and the title, The Creaking Floorboards, in the bottom right corner. I flipped over the record cover and skimmed the list of songs. I wasn't sure what I was looking for, but when the penultimate track caught my eye, I knew it had to be the one. Side B, Song #4 -- 'I'll Cry Out From My Grave (God I'm Sorry)'. I gently set the record in place and released the needle.

"Got the freedom of this song
To tell how sad I’ve been so long
Gilded words can’t help replace
The love I’ve taken and disgraced..."

Yes, this was the one. The song progressed too quickly, and the chorus arrived before I was quite ready.

"...This song is here to help me say
God, I’m sorry for what I’ve done to her
Suzanne, I’m sorry for what I’ve done to you

I suspected half of the UK and US would have this refrain circling their heads for weeks, but I knew it was a dragon that would circle my heart for years.
The lyrics and his voice were full of regret, and by the end, my heart was too. What did he want? Just to apologize? Did he want me back, or was I just a convenient muse? I didn’t know what to think, so I sat and wept. Great, ugly sobs came from a place deep inside me, yet they still felt too shallow to ever help. Their sound drowned out the last song and the hum of the machine as the needle resumed its resting position. Teardrop stains dotted my skirt, and I helplessly watched them multiply.
I heard a door slam downstairs, and not wanting to be caught at the scene of my composure’s murder, I gathered the record and fled the room.
I put the album in the back of the wardrobe, miserably aware that no matter how dusty the corner was where I stuffed the record away, it wouldn't succeed in suffocating the memories that were even now coming forth to be recognized.


So, yeah. This is the beginning of a story I'm writing right now. It's set in the midst/at the end of the 1960s. (An era I've had a passion for for many years.) At the moment, I have no idea how long the story will be; I'm just writing and hoping for the best.
Actually, what I've just shared didn't start as the beginning. At first, the story began around when Suzanne, the main character, first really talks to Rowe Thorin, a singer/songwriter who eventually, in case you hadn't guessed, becomes her lover. But then I wrote a new beginning, and decided the story would be told (for lack of better word) in a flashback.

The story came to me while I was reading Marianne Faithfull's biography (who is the girl in the pictures). That being said, it's not the most innocent of stories. There are drugs and such things. (Not represented in a glorified way, though.) In fact, it's the most un-innocent thing I've ever written. I'm going to have to tame the original beginning, because as it is now, I wouldn't let anyone read it.

The lyrics included in my story weren't written by me; they're from an actual song. When I first started writing this story, I was living deep within it, and to keep the mood, I mainly listened to Volume I of the Soft Sounds for Gentle People compilations. (These compilations are basically collections of obscure sunshine pop from the 60s. I talked about them some on my music blog once.) I hadn't listened to this compilation much before the past few weeks, but very quickly the song 'I'll Cry Out From My Grave (God I'm Sorry)' by a band called Brigadune became one of my favourites off the album. When the time came to pick a name for my character, I picked Suzanne, inspired by the song. Then I thought, "Hang on - why not incorporate the song into my story?" So I did. And at the moment, the story's title is the same as the song's.

In my head, the arrangement, speed, and vocals sound different, so this isn't "the version" that Rowe Thorin is supposedly singing, but have a listen to the song, if you like!

Well, I'm off to read in bed. I hope everyone is well!

{Both photos are of Marianne Faithfull, and I don't have the sources.}


  1. Oh you beautiful soul, keep writing! <3

    1. Dear, sweet E. - I will (always), but with a lighter heart from your words. Thank you. <3

  2. Melee,

    This is an excellent, intriguing story! I love the fact that you are not deciding how long it will be...just writing & letting the story decide for itself.

    You may not realize how much of an inspiration these words are to me, as I have been struggling with my creative work. At first I was thinking I would publish memoir writings, but then I realized I'd rather write fiction. After that, I was still not sure if I should stick to short stories or write something novel-length, as if one is better than the other. So as of this morning, I am going to try your strategy of not deciding :) :) :)

    I'm also intrigued by the era you've chosen for this story and the atmosphere of it...
    <3 <3 Blessings

    1. Oh, Jade - thank you. It does me such good that I could offer a little inspiration. I'm actually glad that approach to writing appeals to you, because I was wondering if it was a really foolish way of going about it. Well, it suits me and I guess that's the main thing. I hope the strategy helps! :)

      I am happy to hear that. Intrigue is good. :) That is one thing I hope I can do really well: conjuring the proper feel of the time. So I'm trying to do a lot of "60s reading".

      I hope your week is beautiful and blessed. ♥

  3. Oh, I love this! I'm hoping you'll post the story here once it's finished. I would love to read it. :)

    I've struggled with "creator's block" of sorts and I haven't created anything at all for months now, I think. I feel so guilty about it. I feel like I'm letting an important part of me slip away just like that. I don't know. Nothing has inspired me enough. And it's not just that. Winter is really taking its toll on me. I've survived this far but I feel like, ironically, I'm starting to fall apart just now that it's almost Spring. Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I'm so glad that I should stumble onto this post. I haven't checked blogger for a while. But I'm glad I did now. You are such a inspiration to me, Melee. I want to write something, anything - right now. I haven't felt like this for months. I'll try and put my personal feelings aside and write something purely fictional. I feel like I can't write without my writings being significantly influenced by my personal feelings and memories and thoughts and so on. I feel like the only part of me that influes my writings is all the negative stuff. I can't seem to bring out a positive part of me in almost anything at all. Anyways, enough of my ramblings. Thank you for being so awesome. ♥

    1. Oh, thank you! If (no, when!) I finish it, I'll be sure to somehow make it available to be read. :)

      Aww, Lena! I do not deserve your wonderful words. Thank you for being awesome! ♥
      Hang in there, dear - I do hope Spring soon offers light instead of the last straws of darkness.
      I feel that guilt when I don't write too. And I often have trouble separating my inner self from my fiction. Still, for you I think even your "negative parts" create some darn fine writing. But I fervently hope you are soon able to write something that you find satisfaction in. I'm so glad you decided to sign onto blogger, because I truly love hearing from you. (And I loved your latest post, even though it made me sad. I see so much of myself in it... If I had a few million dollars, oh the beautiful villa I would buy you. xxx)

  4. Oooh. I know writer's block, and so brave of you to push through it and then to post your writing! Do you think you'll keep posting the story? I'd love to read more.

    1. It seems to be a necessary evil, doesn't it? Thank you, dearest Jenica. I haven't decided yet. I'm very flattered that you're interested, though, and I just might, depending on how well it goes! :)

  5. I have had days like this, where I feel shattered or on the brinks. So one voice, one song or something small could set it off. You drew a clear picture of what that looks like, well done.

    1. Thank you very much, Shopgirl! That really encourages me. :) (Also, it's so good to hear from you! I hope you've been well.)

  6. I got so excited when I saw that you had posted a chunk of story - and it's very awesome. I think this works well as the opening to the story, if that's what you're planning - I like the mystery that you've established with Suzanne. The lyrics of that song are really something; I think they stand out better on the page than in the music though; listening to it now, I can't quite pick out the same mood I got when I read it in your story. There's weight and gravity to the words when they're written out, I guess.

    The 60's is a time I've never really been interested in, but you did such a good job at drawing me in and adding in those time-specific details along the way. That's the power of a good story, right? :D

    1. Eee, thanks so much, Kim! Yes, that's indeed what I'm planning. :)
      I agree with what you said about the song. Someday I'm going to have to kidnap a nice male singer/guitarist and make him record my vision for how this song should sound. It'll be great, haha.

      Indeed! I am so pleased to hear it. :) This whole comment means so much coming from a master storyteller such as yourself.


Silhouettes of a secret. A story told over a cuppa. Or perhaps just sitting on that stone bench, basking in the moonlight... and not saying anything at all.

("I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks." -Shakespeare, Twelfth Night)