Bold Turquoise

Apr 29 2011

It’s my birthday- can you do me a favor?!

Alright, so yeah… it’s my birthday.

Yup, the good old day of my birth.

Thanks for all the pushing mom!  You done good.

Anyhoo- excuse my little shout out there.  After having two children of my own I find it appropriate to give her a little credit on such a day as this.  I mean, shouldn’t the moms really be the ones getting the presents anyway?  They did all the work!

I digress.  As I mentioned, it’s my birthday, and being such I have a favor to ask of you.  It’s a big one.  One I’m scared to even mention.

You see, late last year I started working on a novel.  I got about six chapters in before all H-E-Double-hockey-sticks broke loose in my life and it got placed on the back burner.  Like, the burner at the very back that isn’t even a burner it’s just a warmer.  A burner-wanna-be.  Well, lately it has been whistling a little and gently reminding me of it’s existence, so I have been thinking about delving back into working on it.

I have this little hang-up though.  Before I spend much more time and energy on it I kinda want to know if it’s worth it.  Is it something that people will actually want to read?  Is it funny?  Relatable?  Compelling?

So, if you haven’t guessed already, this is where you come in.  (squeezing eyes shut and speaking very quickly)

I want you to tell me what you think of my novel!

Phew- I said it.  Well, I want you to tell me what you think of the prologue anyway, which I have decided to post right here and right now.  So far only my parents have read it, and tweaked it, and love it, but they’re my parents.  I consider you all to be a much truer measure of it’s potential.

Try not to be too cruel with your reviews- I’m kinda baring my soul here!  I enjoy being on stage but this is kinda like being on stage naked, so be kind with your honesty.  Ya know- speak the truth in love.  😉

Some things you should know first- it’s written in first person but isn’t autobiographical.  I mean, you kinda have to write what you know, but I do consider this a work of fiction.  Second- it’s Chick Lit.  Don’t jump in expecting any Pride and Prejudice here people!  Not that you would expect that but I think you get my gist.  It’s just supposed to be fun and engaging.

Ok.

Well, here it is.

(slowly hands over manuscript while vigorously biting lip)

The prologue of: CAKED

I hate cake.  More specifically, I hate eating cake.  Plain and simple.  I suppose most of it boils down to the texture, but even the flavor is not something I am a huge fan of most of the time.

Who cares, right?  Well, I am a pastry chef who happens to own a specialty cake shop, so this little aversion of mine can pose a bit of a problem at times.  For the longest time the taste aspect just didn’t even matter to me.  Eventually, however, I did come to the realization that not everyone feels the same way I do about this cake eating business.  Most people adore it and definitely don’t want the deliciousness of the cake they are spending good money on to be ranked last on their baker’s priority list.  After all, if it doesn’t taste good it has essentially lost it’s purpose.  What’s the point of making something entirely from edible ingredients if no one wants to eat it, right?

But, when you really boil it down, it has just never been about the eating of the cake for me, it has always been about the visual appeal.  There is nothing quite like a beautifully decorated baked confection, ordained entirely in sugar-based mediums.  If well done, it can be breathtaking and truly an art-form like no other.

I will never forget when I laid eyes on my first, bonafide, over the top, wedding cake.  I was 10 years old and in the fifth grade.  For months I had been eying the gorgeous gowns on the covers of the bridal magazines propped neatly in their display cases next to the grocery store check out line.  I desperately wanted one of those 300+ page periodicals for my very own.  I dreamed of spending countless hours pouring over it’s pages, picking the perfect dress and planning my future wedding to the knight in shining armor who was sure to sweep me off my feet!  I had it all worked out, complete with peach bridesmaid dresses and big enough hair to even put the billowing sleeves on my own gown to shame!

Eventually I asked my mom if she would get me one.  Of course she promptly replied, “No.  Kate, you have no need for that.” But come on, if we get right down to it, my wanting one of those magazines had nothing to do with need.  I was just a dreamy little girl, wanting to get lost in a little wedding fantasy.  True to form, I persisted until she finally agreed, but with conditions- I had to use my own money and I had to actually, physically walk into the store and purchase the magazine… by myself. I’m sure she thought that that final requisite would put an end to the whole thing, as I tended to cower in the face of approaching strangers for any reason, but my yearning for that silly magazine was deep and sincere. I was determined to make one of those issues mine!

Later that week she drove me to the store on the way to one of my brother’s swim lessons at the Y.  She pulled up right in front of the doors to let me run in and my heart began to quicken, more from the fear of going in by myself than the prospect of finally owning my own bridal treasure.  I took a deep breath and stepped out of the car. At last I was about to hold in my eager little hands the thing I had longed for for months and was just sure would bring me endless joy, not to mention set me on the road to being highly prepared for my future.

I must have had a gleam on my face that shown brightly enough for the entire parking lot to see as I exited the store, victorious in my task.  Shunning the idea that I could very well become carsick from sticking my nose into my magazine for the remainder of the drive, I dove in.  I am not even sure if I looked up while walking into my brother’s swim lessons.  I just remember sitting next to the indoor pool at the Y, humidity and chlorine hanging heavily in the air, completely mesmerized by the beauty of the women and their dresses.

Then I turned the page and was positively taken with something I didn’t expect, something more gorgeous than any of the dresses I had initially purchased the magazine for.  It was the most exquisite cake I had ever seen- seven tiers high, peach roses cascading down the side, and row upon row of intricate piped golden filigree. I was captivated.  A new passion had been born deep in my soul for these glorious creations and for years following I collected photos and admired shop windows anytime I came across them.

Over time I realized that not only had the puffy-sleeves-the-size-of-beach-balls trend, that was ever so popular on wedding gowns in the early nineties, fallen by the wayside but the notion of any man living up to the knight in shining armor image was simply not realistic.  Along with those dashed dreams my fervor for all things cake became clouded by the busyness of life and growing up.  My little cake scrapbook slowly collected dust and got pushed farther and farther beneath my bed by more important things like school books, purses and shoes.  My cake fascination became like any other sweet childhood fantasy- lovely, but forever held by the bonds of adolescence.

One day, however, shortly after I had graduated college with a useless degree and tumbled out of a tumultuous relationship with the only man I had ever really given my heart to, I found myself once again living with my parents for total lack of direction and any other place to go.  As I sat slumped in a ball on the floor next to my twin bed which was still covered in the leopard sheets I had so loved in high school, I sobbed for what my life had become.  I felt abandoned and ruined by love- utterly alone and hopeless.  Any prospects of a career felt void and lifeless.  Passion and drive were utterly lacking.

In an attempt to distract myself from the completely pathetic spiral I was headed down, I decided to take a little walk down memory lane, pawing through the relics from my past, scattered throughout the room.  I perused yearbooks and boxes of notes from teenage friends.  I found my junior high retainer and the love letter Brian Clemmons sent me in the second grade in which he compared my beauty to that of a dolphin.  Dust bunnies abounded as my reminiscing became something much more- I was trying to find the real me, to remember who I was and what made me tick.  It suddenly became my mission to define myself.  I wanted to figure out what brought me exultant joy and what would make me prefer to run my fingernails down a chalk board than continue with for one more second.  I wanted my yeses to be yeses and my no’s to be no’s.  I yearned to discover something I could be passionate about.  And most of all, whenever it was that I figured out exactly who I was and what I wanted to become, there was absolutely no way on God’s green earth that I was going to let any man stand in my way of being that person and getting wherever it was I was going.  Period.

It was a few days later that I came across the old composition notebook I had adorned with stamps, stickers and very elementary script baring the letters, “Kate’s Favorite Cakes.” Grabbing an old bandanna laying next to the bed, I brushed the years of dust from it’s cover, nestled myself between my sheets and delved into it’s pages.  Before long I found myself with pen in hand, jotting notes in the margins of many of the cakes I had dubbed masterpieces so many years before.  Things I liked and those I didn’t.  Ways I figured the artist had accomplished certain effects and techniques I wanted to learn.  I made note of trends which had obviously passed and had a good chuckle over what I had considered “amazing” at the ages of ten, eleven and twelve.

Three hours spent analyzing photographs led to two more investigating culinary and pastry schools.  By the end of the week I was enrolled in The Culinary and Pastry Academy of North Berkshire.  A month after that my little white Subaru Forrester, who I had affectionately dubbed “Spunky,” was packed to the brim with all of my most essential possessions, bound for Berkshire- a mere 532 miles and three states away from my family in Wisconsin, my ex what’s-his-name, and the place that only served to remind me of my near ruin and nervous breakdown.

I was breaking free, following a passion that had been founded in my heart some 13 years prior.  I was figuring out “me” and determined to succeed.

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14 thoughts on “It’s my birthday- can you do me a favor?!

  1. Britni

    First of all, HAPPY BIRTHDAY my sweet friend!! OH MY GOODNESS Mackenzie!!! I truly LOVE it! This is the kind of book I want to keep reading…I’m bummed I can’t continue! I read a lot of books each year, I CANNOT wait until this in print for me to read! PS. I was that 10 year old girl, I still have the Bridal Magazine packed up in my keepsake box at my mom’s! Wonderful!!
    Smiles,
    Britni

    Reply
  2. LINDA COLLINS

    Well its your Birthday, and you have a Grandma Linda that thinks your an excellent
    writer, beautiful, and an amazing mom, Have a beautiful Birthday, Hug yourself from me.
    Love you and may God Bless you today and everyday.
    Grandma Linda

    Reply
    1. boldturquoise Post author

      Oh thank you Grandma Linda! Wish you could be here! Thank you so much for the “gift” you sent! I got some of the cutest clothes- very “grown up!” We plan to take Roman shopping soon, and put a little towards the rest of his curriculum for next year! Thank you and I’m so glad you are following my blog!

      Reply
  3. Victoria

    I’m not much of a reader of fiction, so I may not be the best person to answer this. However, what you posted was written very well, and I’m sure it would be fun for someone to read who enjoys reading fiction. 🙂

    Reply
  4. Katie

    I enjoyed this very much, MacKenzie! I should like to find out what happens to your Kate, and how the romantic drama unfolds. Your writing is very colorful and paints a nice visual, witty and fun. I could definitely see myself enjoying this read at the beach with waves crashing in the backround. Keep going!

    Reply
    1. boldturquoise Post author

      Awww- thank you Katie! I may post one more chapter and then keep writing it. I have 6 written, 7 including the prologue and would really like to submit it to agents by the end of the year! Maybe SOMETHING can go right for me this year?

      Reply
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  6. Tiffany

    Loving it so far MacKenzie!! I loved those silly bridal magazines lol..so I can relate to Kate in the book 🙂 blessings on your new endevour <3

    Reply
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