Sunday, July 17, 2005

Soliciting Small Sorrows

I'm going to do something I've never done before here. I'm stuck and I need help. For anybody reading this who can assist, I'm soliciting minor heartbreaks. I need to write a new chapter in which Betsy breaks Harper's heart in some small way (though not necessarily romantic). They're thirteen years old or so. If you have a small sorrow of the adolescent kind to share, I'd be ever-grateful. . .

Here is the chapter's opening paragraph:

Betsy broke my heart a thousand times. She didn’t mean to; she was never deliberately unkind. But the moments (disappointments both small and fantastic) are still like tender scars: each one a tiny but certain fissure. And like anything that has been broken and then mended over and over again, I was weakened by her. And she didn’t even know it.

Thanks.

7 comments:

Avid Reader said...

I think that one of the small ways people that age hurt each other is when one party personalizes something that the other person doesn't. For example - when I was 14 I was train-wreck in love with a boy who loved punk music. Because he used to sing this one song out loud when he was with me (and every other person in the world but that was inconsequential to me) I turned it into "our" song. So, when I saw him singing that song with another group of people and not just me - it broke my heart. He had no idea.

T. Greenwood said...

Thank you...this is exactly the direction I'm headed in. (What was the song? Just asking, because I married a boy who loved punk music...)

Avid Reader said...

It was "Blister in the Sun" from the Violent Femmes. They used it as a theme song to some stupid sitcom about five years ago and - I couldn't believe it - but it still hurt my heart a little to hear it.

Peter said...

I don't know what sort of relationship Betsy and Harper have--if they're already friends or barely know each other--but it's always a little heartbreaking when someone pays you just a teensy bit more attention and then takes it away. For example, I was never in the "cool" group at school, especially around that age...13, eighth grade or so. (I was a dork, still am, but now in the hip way.) But I still knew people who were popular because we had been in the same classes for years. When one of them in particular would speak to me for any reason, be it a project or a "what time is it?", maybe lightly touch my arm, my insides would flutter and I would fluster. Then she would go back to her clique and I to mine. Of course, I always imagined them laughing at me and the small sorrows you write about would be like papercuts to my stomach, Chinese water torture as the tears fell inside when it kept happening.

I agree with Avid Reader that these things tend to be magnified by one person and not the other. I'm not so sure of what type of heartbreak one can inflict if not necessarily romantic, though. If they're best friends, maybe Betsy feels as if she doesn't need Harper as much as she used to and she pulls away, or they simply grow apart as people do, but that's a pretty big heartbreak.

I do find it interesting that you chose Harper to be the victim. It would have been so much easier for the boy to be the one causing the sorrow. Bravo for challenges!

T. Greenwood said...

Thanks, guys. I'm still working on the chapter, but it's coming together. As for Betsy and Harper...they are best friends. I re-read A Bridge to Terabithia when I started this project, and I just loved the notion of a young boy and a headstrong girl being best friends. Harper, of course, is also enamored with Betsy, but it takes Betsy years to reciprocate. (The friendship is almost torturous for poor Harper.) Anyway, all of your thoughts have helped. Thank you.

Karen said...

I remember 13 as being a very hard age. When I was 13 my best friend Peter (we had known each other since the age of 4) was starting to notice the other girls. It hurt when he began to talk about them to me...as if I were one of the guys. "Do you think she's pretty? Do you think she likes me?" I remember feeling like I had the wind knocked out of me when he asked one of them to a school dance. Peter didn't do it to be cruel, we were pals and I think he was oblivious to my changing feelings.

Other small sorrows I recall were finding my school bus seatmate saving "my" seat for someone else...ouch. The same in the lunchroom. These weren't of the romantic nature, but they certainly could be in different circumstances.

Boy do I sound like a loser! I really did hate being 13.

FYI...Peter and I are still best friends today...35 years later.

crissachappell said...

What breaks your heart? People who aren't "real" with you.