The Joy of Rewrites (pt. 1)

Aug 11, 2014 | Writing

So, I’m in the middle of rewrites and chapter 3 is on deck.  I have been stuck on this section of conversation since Friday:

Kai nodded, uncomfortable and embarrassed.

“You and that troublesome sense of honor. You want them to respect you,” he gestured with his head implying The City’s residents, “and then you do something like this. You’re not some rookie, or fledgling, Kai. Do I need to remind you that you represent me when I send you on these jobs? I rely on you. Personally, I don’t care about appearances, about protocol – you know this. But they do. I understand that you feel it honorable to be responsible where others wouldn’t. When you represent only yourself, you are allowed to behave anyway you choose. But you can’t bring it to The City and expect to have your way. Best to learn that now, before Court, than during. You want to be respected, then give them someone to respect.”

Kai had kept his eyes focused on the woman throughout. “I can’t change who I am, Te.”

If that was what I wanted to say, it would be fine. The problem is that it’s not. It’s wrong, wrong, wrong!  I spent the weekend trying to figure out why it’s wrong.

Book pages posted alongside each other on a wall.
Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

So I asked myself: What am I doing here? What’s going on in this section? Answer: Kai fucked up, and Te needs to address that. (He did – right?)  But it wasn’t until an ecstatic “Aha!” moment during my workout this morning that I realized I was asking the wrong question.

True, Kai had done a job for Te and mildly fucked it up. For some reason, I thought it was important for Te to address that as Kai’s employer. This is where I missed the point. Why? Because their primary relationship is NOT boss vs. employee. It was right in front of me, and I completely missed it.

First and foremost they are friends.  I can even acknowledge that Te has a big brother/mentor vibe goin’ on. While Te cares somewhat that the job wasn’t completed smoothly – he cares more about why. He cares that Kai is off his game. Coming at it from that perspective changes the conversation completely.

Kai nodded, uncomfortable and embarrassed.

“What’s going on, Kai?” He paused for an answer. When none came he turned toward Kai, giving him his full attention. “This is not like you. Is it the blood? If you need more…”

“No!” Kai interrupted, he couldn’t do that again. His eyes flicked toward Te, then back to the woman in the bed. “I’m fine.”

Te’s frown and crossed arms said he believed otherwise.

Kai knew he didn’t have a good or satisfactory answer. “She’s an innocent.”

Te, still unconvinced, shook his head, “You and that troublesome sense of honor. You want them to respect you,” he gestured with his head implying The City’s residents, “and then you do something like this.”

Kai raised his eyes to the big angel. “I can’t change who I am, Te.”

I like this better.  I wanted to acknowledge Te’s concern – he knows something’s up, but wants Kai to acknowledge it and ask for his help.  I also wanted Te to remind Kai that his actions are contrary to his desires – kind of an “I told you so”. (Which now that I think about it, may be more my ego than Te’s character.  I need to examine that. Dammit.)  In any case the conversation, by no means over, can move on smoothly from here.

There’s a good chance that I’ll futz with it some more, but at least I can leave it here without it nagging at me.  I bitch, but I actually enjoy doing the rewrites.   I enjoy lining up my intentions with what I’ve put on paper (or in this case, typed in a computer).


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