Léna's Lit.Life

Léna (me): Lit, as in literature, Lit, as in light, Lit, as in a little kooky: Life.

"Well, the question is, what do you want to believe? Do you want to live in a world where things are possible, or in one where they aren't?" Cin, Edges.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Girls Write Now Rules! CHAPTERS reading

I'll repeat myself until the cows come home: I wish that I had something like Girls Write Now in my life when I was a teenager, and at the same time, I am so moved that I am able to give of myself, and be a part of this wonderful organization. To help girls find their voice and show them that they matter, that they can take themselves seriously as writers - that's freakin' priceless. It inspires ME, because I need to hear those things too!

It was a perfect evening to be downtown. I got off the subway and walked through Rockefeller Center, amongst the tourists were peppered with several Tibetan monks (as his holiness the Dalai Lama is in town).

Meg got her chance to shine tonight at the reading, and we basked in the glory of sharing our words. How wonderful to have Meg's first reading be at the Center for Fiction! (And I finally got to meet her parents and older sister!)

Morgan Baden EMCee'D the evening, and Maud Newton, the curator of the series, introduced the guest author, Marie Mockett who held us all spellbound reading from her novel, Picking Bones from Ash. (And of course I bought a copy!) All writers/readers tonight were phenomenal, their poems and memoirs touching my core with their authenticity. Meg and I were the eighth mentor/mentee pair in the line up, following a fantastic duo who played their guitars and sang a song they had co-written about having a crush on a (bad) teacher. Meg and I were able to make folks laugh with an excerpt from THE HOW-TO GUIDE FOR INHABITING TWO-LEGGED ANIMALS, a piece we co-wrote and later edited during one of our HOT NOTEBOOK sessions. (We always play, having realized that this is therapeutic and elevates our mood. Try it with a friend - give yourselves the same prompt, and then switch notebooks every five minutes. You'll be surprised by the outcome!

Here, with Meg's permission, I am posting our story.

By Marjorie Hopkins and Léna Roy

She opened the door and stood in the dark hallway, squinting as if
turning her eyes to mere slits would somehow improve her vision.


A ghost of a smirk made its way to my almost lips as I hovered against the
wall, sinking into the shadows and drinking in her every move. I had been
waiting for a human for too long, yearning for the physical boundary of a two
legged animal. But she stayed standing, frozen. Come inside dear.

As if she heard my thoughts, she took a step.

That’s right.

Now close the door. Shut out the light. We need darkness.

She had stepped in, but the door remained open.

I let out an impatient sigh, releasing my exasperation into the stale hallway
air. I froze. Had I made any noise? Did she hear my wind? Could she smell
my breath? The girl bit her lip.

“Hello?” She finally spoke. I dared not take in another breath. “Is anyone
there?” Her other foot clunked forward and the door swung shut behind her. I

I had her now. At least, according to THE HOW-TO GUIDE FOR
INHABITING TWO-LEGGED ANIMALS I should. You should know this
was my first time.

Rule #10: optimum conditions for host entry entail darkness and closed doors,
sealing you in together with your host.

Funny word, host. It implies that these beings are willing, wanting you to
come on in and stay a while. But who knew? Maybe mine would be grateful
after all.

For too long I had been trapped in the ether, dodging in and out of cats, mice,
flies, gnats. You name it. I had watched her for the past couple of days, a
fourteen year old girl, pale and thin with a penchant for libraries and for living
other lives. Wasn’t that the truth about the world of books? I followed her
home last night and slipped through a crack in the window.

Rule #1: When it comes to humans, you have to live in the host’s abode for 24
hours before you can live in their bodies. Otherwise the transformation doesn’t

She crept down the hallway to her mother’s room and opened the door. Her
mother was lost in depression; my girl vulnerable, scared. She needs me just as
much as I need her.

I heard her murmur. A low, husky, raspy voice croaked in response. Another
few minutes and the girl was tiptoeing back into the hallways, tears glistening
in her eyes. It was time. I sprang towards the girl, as if I had arms to pull her
into a comforting embrace. She yelped in surprise at the sudden sensation. It
was working!

I was inside and we were falling backwards, her head cracking on the floor. She
was unconscious as I settled into the left temporal lobe. Left temporal lobe?
That was a mistake, that controlled memory . . . I should have been in the
frontal lobe, I would be overwhelmed .

. . Rule #15 : Do not enter back of head. How did I get there? I struggled to
move but the memories were taking over.

Her entire life circled around my head, grainy and clear images floating
before my eyes in a whirlwind of memory. Different faces, emotions, songs,
lives. I met her mother before the devastation of mental illness. I lived through
the characters in her books. I saw her family, her relatives, I fell off a bike
when I was three. I dropped an ice cream cone at the county fair. I became shy,
reserved, unnoticeable, unhappy.

And suddenly I was back in the darkened hallway, lying against the wooden
floor, brown hair splayed across my face.

I exhaled slowly, face rearranging itself in an expression of pure shock.
Human emotions were always very draining. (Asccording to the guide book.)
Memories,images…it was never something a spirit could expect. And being
solid. That was also an adjustment.

Everything was purely mechanical from there – breathe in, breathe out,
remember how to balance, stretch muscles, don’t try to walk through walls…

"Is somebody there?" She whispered. Was she talking? That was NOT
supposed to happen. Hosts and widges were not supposed to interact. I'm in
the wrong part of the brain. Again: "Is somebody there?" Oh hell.

"Right here," I answer.


"Inside your head," I wince and she winces too.

"I'm losing my mind, aren't I?" She muttered. Then, "How did you get there?
Here? I am crazy, aren't I? It doesn't matter. Are you good or bad?"

The philosophy of the guide book leapt to mind. "There's no such thing," I
recited. “It depends on your perspective.”


  1. Thanks Jen - Wowza is a great word - I've been using Zoinks, but I think in this case, Wowza is much more apropos!

  2. Love it! A big THANK YOU to you and Meg for sharing your fantastic story.

  3. BIG smiles . . . it makes me happy! (Plus Meg was thrilled that you asked us to post it Kristi!)

  4. Please tell Meg that based on this story I think she has tons of talent and potential, and she's way ahead of the game (for what my opinion is worth...) Thank you again!