I've noticed that (inexplicably) I've had some traffic to this blog in the past few days. As such, I've decided to undertake a new project. I've been itching to write a novel, but the itch hasn't been sufficient to get me to lift my pen. This blog, however, might provide just the motivation. Below please find the first few paragraphs of my novel in progress, tentatively titled Stalking Greatness. Feel free to rip it apart in the comments. I appreciate constructive criticism. I'll try to post more at least a few times each week/
My office window did not face the courtyard. Instead, it provided a view of the next building’s battered brick facade and a long strip of worn and blackened cobblestones, whose tired appearance was redeemed somewhat by the fine trickle of water running from a nearby faucet whose handle had long ago broken away. At midday, the sun would win its quotidian battle with the shadows, catch upon the water and illuminate the stones beneath, causing them to glisten darkly and vitally, resembling a swarm of frenzied fireflies, incandescent, yet aimless.
It was just past midday when she caught my eye. An inky silhouette against the glistering stones, I would have thought her an apparition or the product of an indolent afternoon reverie had I not been so acutely aware of my surroundings and my place in them. She strode by, the mottled light alternately tracing the oblique lines of her jaw and cheek and forehead, upright and with a quietly confident grace which belied the years of struggle and fierce resolve that had earned her the position she now enjoyed. Through the rarely cleaned glass, I fixed my eyes on the swiftly moving figure. As I strained to track hers rapidly diminishing form, I found myself more keenly aware of my own inertia, resigned to my modest office and the modest accomplishments of a middling academic whose ambitions never rose to surpass her circumstances. She, by contrast, stalked greatness, pursuing it with a ruthless ardor unmatched by anyone I’d known before or since.
I shifted in my seat, inclining my body to the window, and felt my pulse quicken. As a student, when for two years I worked in close proximity to this woman, I often found myself leaning toward her in the same way, perhaps in the hope that I might steal some small part of hers passion and claim it for my own. Now, nearly ten years since I last left the office we shared, I was drawn to her in the same way, as though she had somehow cast an invisible line, catching me by the throat and chest and pulling me bodily toward her. In some dark and rarely used corner of my mind, I entertained the idea of rising from my seat fully, exiting my office, and pursuing this woman with the intention of making my presence known to her. But this thought was quickly arrested and extinguished by the resigned complacency to which my mind had a some years ago become habituated.
I allowed myself one more wistful glance at the window, but the shadows had by then shifted outside, and I saw only the reflection of my own tired brown eyes in the glass.