Monday, January 28, 2013

Talkin' Heads #32

TITLE: Staggerwing
GENRE: Adult Fiction

After a heartbreaking trip to Japan, WIll returns home to his mentally unstable wife Isabelle. In Japan he learned that Mariko, the young woman he believed his soulmate, with whom he envisioned a new future, considers him merely a friend.

“Three days early! You couldn’t bear to be gone from us,” Isabelle joked. “Me and my crazies.”
Will smoothed a loose curl behind her ear.

“Eleanor wasn’t too bad this time. You’ll be glad to know she got me to do a bit of yoga. I think it might be good for me, all that spiritual mumbo-jumbo.”

He nodded.

“It’s good to be back where you belong, isn’t it?”

He nodded again.

“Lovey, you’re so quiet. Are you feeling okay?” Isabelle reached high to place a dry cracked palm on his forehead. “You are a tad warm.”

“It’s just jet-lag. Such a quick back and forth. Hard on this old man’s system.”

“Go lay down then. I’ll make us some supper and get you up in an hour or so.” Isabelle’s full function mode might last a week, a month, two months.

Will pulled himself up the creaky old farmhouse steps. Walked down the drafty hallway to the bedroom. He lay atop the comforter fully clothed and stared at the ceiling.


  1. I think this dialogue does a good job to reveal Isabelle's instability and MPD. I picked that up right away. Her attempt at joking about something serious is a good way to show both her discomfort about her condition and her willingness to lighten it up for her husband. His actions reveal that her attempts aren't affecting him as she hopes, and that's great. :)

    This short bit says a lot about this relationship and the characters themselves. Excellent work!

  2. The last paragraph hits the hardest for me. I think Will is particularly well fleshed-out, perhaps because he says so little aloud, and does it all with his body language. I can't decide if I can't stand this guy for wanting to abandon his wife when things are tough, or think he's the sweetest in the world (that smoothing the loose curl seemed so intimate, so indicative of love even if he *was* trying to leave his wife).

    Isabelle is fairly well developed, but if I didn't have the lead-in I'm not sure I would say her dialogue for sure gives us the mental instability--except for the line about the crazies. Presumably Eleanor is someone who is trying to help her with treatment, so it speaks well for her character that she admits her problem and wants to address it. Also, the detail about the dry cracked palm really brought things to life for me. It almost seemed symbolic of her mental state.

    Obviously I did get a *lot* from this short bit of dialogue, so consider that a job well done!

  3. I think this is a wonderful scene. Will has come back to a personal despair, but his wife is the same. I got no sense that she was 'crazy' in this scene although you mentioned that was going through her normal phase. Unless she speaks poor english, she would tell him to go lie down.

  4. I liked the dialogue but felt thrown out of the scene in the last paragraph. I felt like there didn't need to be so much description as to him walking to his bed.