I use the app Loop Journal, and one day it invited me to begin a story with this sentance. The rest is history and took me 10 minutes. XD
” ‘Suddenly the door opens itself…’ That’s a rubbish way to start any book,” Sidney grumbled to himself. The line was mercilessly hacked out, and he tried to start again. It was a chilly blue and peach evening in late fall, and Sidney Meyhew, late of Kings Cross, was now merely late at turning in a new first chapter to his who-dun-it. Ghostwriting is never glamorous work, especially not for sweaty asthmatic British transplants who find themselves in Boring City, Michigan after London proved inconquerable.
But Sidney had a dream.
He wanted to write an epic modern novel, detailing the pathos and ecstasy of one man’s journey into becoming the woman he always wanted to be. He wanted to write a first hand account of the life of a transwoman and how she finds love after finding herself. The only problem with this dream, the problem which kept dragging him out of bed to beat his head against the floor, was the fact that he didn’t know the first thing about transwomen. How did you spot one? Was it polite to ask? Were they all simplified drag queens? What would he need to do to gain access to the inner sanctum of a diva’s precious journey of burgeoning womanhood? And why, ye gods, did he have to have THIS inescapable idea as the impetus for his magnum opus?
The thorny prickles of these various conundrums had lately been driving Sidney to the conclusion that it was all going to boil down to one thing: fitting in.
To meet a transwoman, he was going to have to become one himself.
If asked, he couldn’t tell you how he’d arrived at this conclusion.
But just this evening, banging away on an old DOS computer his gran kept on her draughty porch, it was the biggest thing on his mind.
Not consciously, you understand.
No, consciously he was dealing with the agony of sweating in 50 degree weather, being outside because Gran was cooking cabbage again, and trying to make his book behave and make sense.
But subconsciously, the Rolodex of his mind was ticking methodically over his options and pragmatically continuing to arrive at the same conclusion. To write his book, he had to know. To know, he must ask. To ask, he must not look stupid. To avoid stupidity, he must fit in. To fit in, he had to become a woman.
I’m sure by this point my reader will be wondering why Sidney did not choose to write the book about himself, but I am merely his biographer, not his apologist. If you ask me, it was damn silly of him not to recognize this as soon as you did.
Perhaps it was because Sidney Augustus Meyhew was, at the moment, the antithesis of elegant transwomanhood. Picture if you will, and if you’d prefer not to I entirely understand, a man well past 30 but not entirely ready to concede to 40 and frantically reaching for the brakes.
Hairy legs, pale and fidgety, stumping out from underneath billowy cotton drawers in a faded print. Pudgy and double curved, stomach meticulously tucked inside, an undershirt sagging for the floor struggles bravely against the forces of gravity and cheaply labored cotton. Grandad’s old maroon dressing gown keeps the neighbors from complaining from the back, and from the front there is only the dull glow of the computer to witness the sloping tragedy of a sad and manly clavicle in full bushy bloom, with a chin mysteriously free of even a shadow of hair. The fact that his cheeks were as smooth as a woman’s sometimes gave Sidney a bit of theatrical excitement toward his aforementiomed plot, until he realized that from the neck down he resembled a wire brush put through a bark chipper. Morosely then, notice with Sidney his sparse eyebrows and Roman nose, watery hazel eyes, and surprisingly luxuriant bouffant of ginger hair. From the neck up he really could have swung it, he thought. He’d seen women at the market, some of them no better looking than he!
But as for the walking carpet that was the rest of him…
This is why he stuck to ghostwriting.