Saturday, April 29, 2006

Let's Get Lost - excerpt

I'm behind schedule on my writing, which means I've had to cancel all my plans for the weekend. So instead of a post telling you all of my thrilling adventures in typing, I thought I'd let you read this extract that was cut from the final version of Let's Get Lost. It came in at 20,000 words over, so a lot had to go.

This was a scene with Isabel and her clueless guidance consellor. Hope you enjoy it, even if you haven't read the book yet!



Only two things got me through Friday: Smith's unfeigned delight when I told him that I'd engineered a whole weekend together and the holdall I had stuffed in my locker which contained everything I needed to maintain his delight.

It even got me through another session with Claire who kept prodding and prodding at me as if I was a sleeping dog she was trying to wake up.

Thankfully she'd abandoned her little scheme to have me spilling my guts and copious tears all over her kilim rug and decided to talk about what a mean, old bully I was.

"You seem to have quite a fierce reputation among your peers, why do you think that is," she asked, gimlet eyes fixed steadily on me. I made a mental note to find out if Lily was seeing her too. "Sometimes when people are in pain, they transfer it on to those around them, don't they, Isabel?"

I crossed my legs and tried to decide whether I should wear my vintage little black dress or my other vintage little black dress when we went up to London tomorrow. It was such a tough decision that I could almost tune out the sound of Claire's voice buzzing vaguely around the periphery of my senses.

"… and you wrote such a beautiful essay about The Great Gatsby. Mrs Phillips told me that you have a very advanced understanding of the themes of the novel for your age. You're not immature, Isabel, quite the contrary, so I'd really like to know your thoughts on your behaviour over the last year. What do you think are the underlying reasons for your problems with socialisation?"

I blinked at her. Maybe the silent thing was getting old. And maybe I could befuddle her with some dense psychobabble. Because one thing was for sure, she didn't want to know the truth.

"I guess…" I began uncertainly and she leaned forward with an obscenely eager expression.

"Yes, Isabel?"

"Well, it's like in The Great Gatsby when Nick idealises Daisy as this perfect woman and she isn't. And she didn't ask for it, but she takes advantage of his love all the same. Nobody ever knows what someone else is like. Not really. They just end up projecting all this crap onto the other person, you know?"

Claire was staring at me blankly and it was pretty obvious that she didn't know. She was the Grand Pooba of cluelessness.

"I see," she said, nodding frantically and I stared at the box of tissues and wondered if I could get her to cry. It would be my greatest triumph.

"I don't mean to be rude, but have you actually read The Great Gatsby?"

That stopped her in her tracks. She fingered her spectacles chain and licked her thin lips nervously. "Well, many years ago. Or was that The Fountainhead?"

"The Fountainhead is by Ayn Rand, F Scott Fitzgerald wrote The Great Gatsby," I told her kindly. "They're two completely different books. Gatsby's about the death of the American dream and The Fountainhead is about the theory of objectivism and the strength of the individual. They couldn't be more different," I finished scathingly and I'd missed this.

Before, Dad would pick out novels for me to read, then he'd take me out to Mrs Hudson's on Sydney Street for apple pie and we'd discuss each book in detail. But it had stopped, after Mrs Cohen got all antsy that I was developing too far ahead of the curriculum because God forbid that I should actually be bored in class because I'd read the set text three times before and debated it with a Professor of Literature. And Mrs Hudson's had the best apple pie.

"Goodness, Isabel, you can be quite strident," Claire breathed. "Are you this forceful with your friends? Maybe if you were a little gentler with your opinions, then people would be less intimidated by you."

I think it was that patronising little speech that made me swear a solemn vow that I'd have her crying like a little baby before the end of term.

"Really? Do I come across as intimidating? How weird. Am I intimidating you, Claire? 'Cause if I am, I'm very sorry."

She gave a nervous laugh. "No, of course not. It's lovely to have you participating in the session."

"Why?"

"Why what, Isabel?"

"Why is it lovely to have me participating in the session?" It was a fair question because it wasn't lovely for me. It ranked somewhere below rectal surgery.

It was a totally moot point, which one of us was more relieved when the final bell sounded.

"4 o'clock already?" Claire cried, scooping up her papers and almost falling over her Earth shoes in her haste to put as much distance between us as possible. "Have a wonderful weekend. I'll see you next Friday."

I stayed sitting down long enough for her to start getting this haunted look at the possibility that I might want to stay and chat, before I slowly uncoiled myself out of the chair. Then I sauntered towards the door, taking my sweet time about it and it wasn't until I closed the door behind me that I let myself break into a mad sprint so I could throw my books into my locker, grab my bag and get the hell out of Dodge before The Trio Of Doom caught up with me.


Cross-posted to http://blog.myspace.com/sarramanning

15 comments:

Ellie said...

slhehe, Oh I love that, really like Isabelle, shame you had to take it out! Sarra, when do you think roughly your next novel will be published, just so I can get slightly excited and then find it's going to be delayed cause of publishers!! ellie xoxox

PennyLane said...

hey. loved that. i definitely cannot wait to read LGL. it sounds amazing!! also when in june will the DOAC books be published in canada/us??? cause june's in like amonth so i'm getting excited already. ;)
k buhbyes ~ drink milk love life ~
Sara xoxoxoxoxo

Paint_box_pastel said...

OMG, why did it have to be cut out????????????? It's soo cool and why can't you exceed a certain number of words? IT's so unfair....anymore bits cut out?

C.K. said...

I'm going to be in Dublin in June and can't wait to pick up Let's Get Lost! It sounds terrific.

Smashed_Nature said...

I just read your book "Let's get lost" and I thought it was simply amazing. Very good writing. Thank you for making my day, haha.

Hannele

Blue Floppy Hat said...

I wanted to ask, are your publishers ever planning to send Let's Get Lost to India? I found copies of Diary of a Crush in 2004 with the greatest difficulty, and Guitar Girl, as far as I know, hasn't ever been available in the country (I had to read it off a friend who got it on holiday in the UK) and the excerpt is just the final straw- I so badly want to read it, it's not even funny.

Luisa said...

I loved Let's Get Lost, and this extract is wonderful. Thanks for posting it. I wonder if you'll be able to publish a "Director's Cut" (Author's Cut?!) one day?

nutty mare said...

i bought lets get lost a couple of weeks back but didnt have a clue what it was going to be about, but it was fantastic! and it links into guitar girl slightly which is really gd! great book!

Kels said...

That was awesome! so good infact that it just inspired a really great come back to something my Dad said. Thanks for letting all of us read it! I can barely wait for it to come out!!!
Much Love
Kels

Emma said...

heya! i just finished reading let's get lost and i loved it! so much so that im going to read every other book you've ever written! love emma xx

haha said...

i love the books you have written including lets get lost and i hope you will publish your next novel soon so there is something exciting in life to look forward to instead of two long hard years of tests etc.

haha said...

i love the books you have written including lets get lost and i hope you will publish your next novel soon so there is something exciting in life to look forward to instead of two long hard years of tests etc.

haha said...

i love the books you have written including lets get lost and i hope you will publish your next novel soon so there is something exciting in life to look forward to instead of two long hard years of tests etc.

haha said...

i love the books you have written including lets get lost and i hope you will publish your next novel soon so there is something exciting in life to look forward to instead of two long hard years of tests etc.

haha said...

i love your books and including lets get lost. I hope you will publish your next novel soon so then there is something good to look forward too, instead of two soild years of tests and learning