May 11, 2009

On the Other Side - Chapter One

I've begun writing a novel whose preface I'd put up a couple of days ago....

Now onto the chapters I've build up so for. (Apologies for being descriptive and dragging and slow and no actual story found, if that's how it seems to be but because I aim to build it into a book I've got a design to stick to)... would appreciate any feedback you could offer.... and criticize as hard as you can J



It wasn't the best Monday morning Glenn had hoped for. To begin with, her credit card bill had arrived in the mail that morning and the amount was ludicrous. Glenn could only sigh. It was the only reaction that was left of her to express. Doug, who was late for office, was rushing about in frenzy, buttoning his shirt, while attempting to eat a sandwich and drink his coffee, all in one swift movement. Jenny was complaining from her chair about hating milk and not wanting to drink it while Ben, who was just old enough to sit up, was wailing on top of his lungs.

'But Daddy!', objected the six year old. It doesn't taste too good. I only like it with chocolate. Not plain and not for breakfast and certainly not everyday!'

'Jenny, it's good for the bones. You want to grow up quickly and be strong, don't you?'

Jenny nodded. Somehow her daddy always had the right answers. Not like mommy who only told her what to do. She began to drain her glass quietly.


'Honey, I'm going to be a little late this evening. I've got to go to Glades to survey a site. So I won't be back until the kids are tucked in and… Honey? Glenn? What is it?'

Glenn looked at her husband and passed the bill to him without a word.

'Whoa baby! That's some spending you've done. Whatever did you buy? The Taj Mahal?'


Glenn gave Doug a hard look. She wasn't in the mood for his jokes. He saw the look on her face and stopped smiling. He moved over to her and placed his arm around her shoulder.

'Asther still being a bother?'

Glenn nodded.

'You know, it's like I don't even care anymore. I don't care that she's been spending like a maniac and buying herself fancy jewellery and shoes from my money. I don't care that she's been living here for the past two months and not showing the faintest sign of moving into a place of her own. I don't care that she lazes around the house all day long while I work my ass off at the office and come back home to two small kids who need looking after. I don't care that she's turned herself into a good-for-nothing creature. But I hate my mom. I hate her for imposing this added responsibility on me! I can't go on feeding Asther all her life while my mother goes around the world holidaying in the arms of her young French lover!'

'Hey! That's not done. Asther is your sister. I know she's been hard on you but she's been helpful too. She babysits Ben and even picks up Jenny from school. That's a lot of work coming from Asther. But seriously, if it weren't for her we would have had difficulties raising our lil' ones. I think we can pardon her for this extravagant bill, can't we?'

'I guess so', Glenn replied in resignation.

'That's my girl'.

Doug gave her a peck on the cheek and hurried Jenny to the door lest she get late for school.

'Bye honey'.


Glenn looked as Doug opened the door of the car to let Jenny in and then jumped into the driver's seat and started the ignition. She waved as they drove away. Doug. The man she had married despite protests from her mother. The man who had promised to grant every whim of hers. And he had.

He wasn't the complaining sort. Nor the worrying type. Not like her. She knew it was difficult enough for him to be raising his family in this posh neighbourhood, a house they had purchased even though it was way off limit their budget, only because she had fallen in love with it at first sight. She hadn't begged him to buy it nor asked him to, but he still knew she wanted it because of a quiet 'wow' that had escaped her lips the moment the house was in sight. And he couldn't deny her of it.


And then Asther had moved in two months ago. 'Only to get her acquainted with New Shire', was what her mother had told her. So her sister had moved in from her mother's place in Boston. But then her mother had disappeared, sometimes calling from Australia, sometimes from Japan and sometimes from Russia, relieved of her duties and frolicking about like a teen.


Glenn walked away from the window back into the kitchen and picked up the baby.

She walked to Asther's room who was still fast asleep. Glenn sighed as she looked at her watch. 9.20 am.

She lay the baby in his cradle and shook her sister awake.


'I've got to leave for work. You better get up.'

'Umm…yea', murmured Asther and rolled over to the other side.

Glenn smiled and brushed her fingers lightly along Asther's jet black hair. Then she picked up her bag and got into her car and drove away to work.


She reached her office and was about to park when the spot she was eyeing was taken away by a car that zoomed in out of nowhere. Glenn swore. She looked on as Hall, the smart-ass got out, gave her a little wave and a broad smile and walked off.

'Damn you!'

Glenn had to drive over to the other end of the building because all the spots in the front were now gone which meant she lost another ten minutes on the clock while she found herself a parking.


'You're late', Mr. Cook said as she walked into her office.

'I'm sorry. I was just…'

Mr. Cook cut her off.

'So today we have this Walter piece coming in. You better get your pens ready and be sure to get the first draft ready by this evening.'

'But…' Glenn began.

Mr. Cook cut her off again.

'Yes, yes, I know. How am I going to do it Mr. Cook? It's impossible. Humanly impossible. My reading speed is blah blah blah. I have so much to think of blah blah blah. And I have to solve the crossword. Can't break the routine blah blah blah. I'm not a monster Glenn. But Walter is a big man. You know how it's important for us to keep him happy. The sooner we get his book into the book stores the better for us. So, wait for the work to come in and then… get started.'

He patted her on the shoulder and walked away.


Now, as Glenn sat with the manuscript of 'Angels in Hell' in her hands, having read about seventy pages and with still over a hundred to go with the clock announcing the lunch time, she began to have doubts. She kept the papers on her desk and walked over to the window overlooking the street bustling with traffic.

This was the one job she had always wanted. Be an editor. Evaluate other people's work. Draft and re-draft them. Smoothen the creases, polish the edges and then present a flawless piece to the eyes of the world to feast upon.

But now she had doubts. She wondered whether there was something more fulfilling she could have done with her life. She was born to be an artist. She could have been a painter. Or a ballet dancer. Or a writer herself. But she wasn't any of those. She had settled to being a reader of other people's work and helping them improve it.


She reflected back on her day so far. She worried for Asther. For her sake she hoped that Asther would learn to live her life and not waste it. Then she smiled to herself and thought, 'I'm wasting my time'. With a shake of her head she resumed her work.

She was done well before the evening approached. Mr. Cook smiled at her as she walked into his cabin and handed him the draft of corrections she had made.

'You know Glenn, if I could I would praise your dedication but I don't want to inflate your ego so I hope you get the message', he said and winked at her.

She smiled at him. He wasn't so bad after all. He was just a boss.


'And yea… tomorrow I want you to be here on time. We have a lady… what's her name? Yes, Julia Andrews coming in. She wants to have a book written and I would like you to have a talk with her. You're on this assignment.'

'But that's not my job. That's Hall's department', she said.

'I know. Thanks for reminding me. But I think you should be writing this book. She has an interesting story to tell. You'll love it when you hear it. Trust me Glenn. You want to write this book.'


Glenn smiled again. Had Mr. Cook somehow read her thoughts this afternoon? She thought he had.

'Yes, ok. I'll be on time.'


~ Sanz

Officially blogging at


  1. just one suggestion : english name, n buying Taj mahal ??? u missed here sanz !! otherwise its good :)

  2. actually its very good !! :D


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