At the close of a recent interview, an author shared something personal with me about one of her novels. I asked if I could relate the story here at Bildungsroman, and she granted me permission. Here now, in her own (italicized) words, is Melissa Lion.
I want to say one more thing, I'm not sure how this will fit in to your story, or if it will at all, but I was in San Diego this weekend and I took my best friend to Mount Soledad. He'd never been there despite growing up in San Diego. It was night and we took the exact route Sam takes with Farouk. It was quiet and late and I was holding my breath. We looked at the cross, at the city below us and I felt the presence of my characters. I felt Sam's heartache and desire for Farouk. I felt so still, listening for them.
We drove back down and I told my friend that this was where they were heading downhill and where I expected the stop sign, there was none. I had gotten it wrong. I told my friend that there was supposed to be a stop sign at the bottom of the hill and that Farouk would run it, that Sam's hand was pressed to the dashboard.
He said, "What happens?"
"The chapter ends," I said.
I'm in the process of saying goodbye to Southern California for good and I'm excited, but sad at the same time. I'm ready to go, but I will miss my characters. I will miss who I was in high school. That girl still lives in San Diego. She's still running after Farouk, after her father, after who she wants to be.
You may wonder why my best friend hasn't read my book. I wonder that too. I wonder why I had to buy him a copy of it two weeks ago. It's a mystery.
How can I follow that? I can't. I can simply share with you my favorite quotes from novels. These lines echo in my mind.
Swollen by Melissa Lion
"You could fill a book with the things you haven't seen." (Farouk)
"Books are already filled with them," I said, "And posters and television shows." (Sam) - Page 130
I counted in fours because if I stopped, the tears in my eyes would spill over. - Page 138
And so I waited in the library and touched the spines of the books I should have read long ago to make myself smart, to keep up with him. - Page 161
I turned the light off and listened in the silence for the voices of people I had loved within these walls. - Page 181
Upstream by Melissa Lion
And here are the things I know: Time will never be what my watch says. Time passes too fast when you just want it to stop, and time passes too slow when all you wish for is a lifetime in a minute. It'll just never be what it really is, hands moving on a clock. - Page 41
"Seriously, it takes a lot to shock me. I lived in San Francisco for nearly ten years. I grew up in L.A. Do you love girls and not boys? I'm cool with that. Did someone hit you? I'll hit him back. Does he love someone else? Well, that girl's a s___ with bad shoes." - Katherine to Martha (Marty), Page 55
She misses someone. Maybe someone in her old life. Someone I'll never know. - Page 77
And there are things I understand without needing to know. There are times in this life when the person you miss most is the person you used to be. - Page 77
I put down my pencil and rub my eyes. I want to believe that if I rub them hard enough, Dottie will disappear and come back in with a different thing to tell me. She will tell me that Sean proposed or that she finally got an A in a class and not what she is about to tell me and make my worst fears come true. - Page 91