I Wish I Was The Moon


Last time with Helene Troy: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/2012/05/28/donttakemeforgrante/

A small piece of broken tile sliced into Helene’s left big toe as she stepped from her small, dingy shower. She was too tired to curse the poor condition of her apartment. She stopped the trickle of blood by stepping into her towel after dropping it to the floor. She hopped naked to her small black backpack next to her bed and pulled out a band-aid. Being a guitar player, she was used to damaged hands and fingers. Helene’s cell phone danced on her bed. She rolled her eyes, sat on her bed and answered.

“Can Leney come out and play?”

It was her ex-boyfriend Case. His band, The Golden Apples, were signed to a major label and experiencing the initial flashes of fame. She sighed into the phone. Music and crowd noise competed with Case’s deep voice.

“Leney, you okay? Your band is here at The Odyssey! Well, two of them! I think Sadie’s on her way! Darcy and Mara said you’re mad at them! Relax, okay, you’re the greatest opening act in New York City!”

Helene finished the band-aid application and pulled the bed sheet over her. She felt stupid, thinking Case could see her, naked, through the phone.

“Case Hill, go do your rock star thing on some groupies. I’m not interested. Tell Sadie to go back home. She deserves better than that crowd.”

Before she could hang up, she heard Case scream into the phone.

“I miss you Leney! Good luck Thursday!”

She flipped the phone closed and hunted a pair of white cotton panties and Television Marquee Moon t-shirt. After running a comb through her long, wet, wavy brown hair she picked up her acoustic guitar and the half empty bottle of Bushmills whiskey then headed to the tiny patio connected to her apartment. Helene sat down in a white plastic chair and glimpsed the crescent moon peering over the sunset. A swig of whiskey soothed her throat.

“I guess it’s supposed to be this hard. But I don’t have to enjoy it.”

She strummed the guitar and played with lyrics from earlier in the day’s band practice.

“Take me to dinner, take me to bed, take me to the moon

Just show me a place, other than the hard and the rock

I need something different, and I need it soon

Just make it some place that curses the clock”

Helene stopped and stared into the sky. Her fascination with the moon started in kindergarten when she thought she wanted to become an astronaut. The stress of the band and her frustration with not being further along as a musician overwhelmed her. She wiped tears from her eyes and stretched her bare legs over the white plastic table. She started playing Neko Case’s I Wish I Was The Moon. More tears streamed as she finished the opening verse.

****blogger’s note****

This is a new story episode from the reworked opening chapters of The Ballad of Helene troy, my novel work in progress. You can find the rest of the story, so far, here: https://lancemyblogcanbeatupyourblog.wordpress.com/the-ballad-of-helene-troy/ This also coincides with Write On Edge’s Red Writing Hood “to the moon” exercise: http://writeonedge.com/2012/06/red-writing-hood-link-up-to-the-moon/

I’m likely headed to see one of my favorite artists, Neko Case, next month. I hope she does this song. It’s perfect for this piece. Here’s I Wish I Was The Moon.


53 thoughts on “I Wish I Was The Moon

  1. I felt a little sorry for Helene, all by herself in her apartment. It’s difficult to be upbeat about anything when you are so very tired, and there’s more than damaged hands and fingers in this tale.

    My only question is about this phrase: “the crescent moon peering over the sunset”. It seems a little off to me. Would the moon rise and the sun set in the same spot?

    • hmmm, two nights ago, around 8:45, here where i live I saw the Moon over the sun. maybe i’m wrong. i suck at astronomy. i’ll ask my 8 year old. she wants to be an astronaut

  2. In general, I like this piece. I feel Helene’s sadness and angst. I like the inclusion of the Neko Case song. I’d never heard it before, but now I love it.

    Concrit: Silly girly thing: she should comb her wet hair, as brushing wet hair causes split ends 😉 – “She dropped her towel to the floor and stepped into it to stop the trickle of blood.” – Third paragraph has a typo in ‘crowd’ – And the final paragraph feels cluttered together. It doesn’t fit the flow of the rest of the piece. I feel like the fact about her wanting to be an astronaut as a child is just kind of thrown in there. – “Take ME to dinner…”

  3. I really feel her struggle here. I like how you pointed out the moon over the sunset. I always tell my kids that the moon was really excited to come out that night when they can see it before the sun goes down. Same thing happens in the morning sometimes too. 😛

  4. This really does show Helene’s more vulnerable side, which is going to be a nice contrast to her sometimes self-destructive streak we see later.

    A little thing — I wouldn’t use Case’s full name two times so close together. I’d keep the dialogue one and cut the “Hill” out of the section where you introduce him.

  5. TheKirCorner

    I love when you introduce me to new music, I read the lyrics and was “meh” and then I listened…wow, what a gorgeous song. It keeps me reminding me of Mazzy Stars “Fade into You”

    that said, I like when Leney is vulnerable, when she shows me that underneath it all she’s a girl with a dream and a heart and a WISH big enough to take her to the places she wants to go. I loved the lyrics to her song , (I want to steal them for Gathering Buttercups LOL) but I also love that she is going after those dreams of hers, come hell or high water.

    “It’s not easy Leney, but IS going to be worth it” Promise.

  6. my only major critique was that use of Case’s full name so many times. You do that sometimes 🙂 It’s one of those niggly things that will hopefully get cleaned up when you go through the final major revisions/edits once the entire book is done. Similarly is how you almost always describe Leney’s hair. You won’t need to re-emphisize that it is long, brown, etc through out the book. A reader will already be familiar with her appearance if you take care of that stuff near the beginning.

    I think the best part of this whole story is how the music from real life intertwine with Leney’s rise and all the crap she deals with. If you are reasonably familiar with the music it adds so much to the emotions involved.

    • yeah…i was wanting this to seem like a stand alone piece for some reason so i added adjectives. good points though. thank for the last compliment. its what im trying to do with every post.

  7. I am a songwriter, and can totally relate to the characters. By the way, lyrics and poetry are not the same – lyrics without melody/music often don’t make any sense rhythmically. And with music… with music a lot of things in life start making much more sense:).

  8. Lance, I love the way your judicious use of details creates a sense of reality in your writing. Little things like this: “… and stretched her bare legs over the white plastic table.” You paint a very realistic picture for your readers.

  9. i totally stole that little thing from my wife and daughters. they suddnely become modest when they’re on the phone. its something i’ve noticed over the years. I think its hilarious but sweet.

    thanks for the compliments

  10. Hi Lance. I need to catch up on your story! In this segment, I agree with Rox, about the last paragraph (and the comb!). I liked the cell phone that “danced” on the bed and that she feels funny talking naked on the phone, as though the caller could see her (so true).

    • can i use “blood on the tile, moonlight on the fire escape” for a Helene song?

      im going to see Neko on july 20. come to georgia and go with me. bring marian and vic.

  11. This may seem like a weird little detail to jump out at me, but this line really got to me, “Relax, okay, you’re the greatest opening act in New York City!” It’s so left handed. Helene wants to take over the world not be the best opening act! It’s like being told you’re a great runner up, the best second place finisher ever. Ugh. It makes me dislike Case INSTANTLY.

    PS: Your comment on my post about Henry–very perceptive. I don’t want to give too much away, let’s just say your daughters should definitely have you meet the guys they date.

  12. Once again – great addition to Helene’s story. Her sense of fatigue and defeat show through so clearly in her actions. I hope she eventually gets her happy ending somehow with all she’s been through!

  13. You had me with the title of this one…and despite the reality, you captured the magic of the moon…I like when the tough one gets real…can be a hard transition to make…you handled it seamlessly

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