As We Are // 1

April 02, 2017

some inpsiration covers 
Here's the first chapter of the novel I am working on, As We Are (I'm planning on doing a post soon on the meaning behind the title, by the way). You might have noticed if you've been following my blog for a while, that there's a new link at the top of my homepage. That's up there because the other day my other blog moved in with Lavender & Blue. Now, I'll be posting writing-related stuff on here along with my photography and etc.
It would mean the world to mean if you commented with your thoughts and suggestions on this chapter. <3

a collage of the characters in as we are
Wherein Philippe Gets a Job

PHILIPPE STEPPED LIGHTLY down the dilapidated wooden steps leading out of a second-floor shop into the bustling streets of New York City, a hand-embroidered reticule swinging from her wrist by her side and a smug look contorting her face.  Not many these days could boast of just acquiring a job at a wealthy dressmaker’s shop.  She stopped at the bottom of the stairs which had deposited her abruptly at the edge of a thick, moving crowd of pedestrians presumably coming home from work.  Once the majority of them had passed, she took the opportunity and grasped her skirt firmly in both hands to prevent it from dragging in the grimy street, and quickly scampered across, deftly dodging heavily laden carriages and carts.  On the other side of the street, she almost immediately propelled herself into a cluster of three old ladies in brightly colored wraps and shawls.  In an instant, the corners of their doll-like mouths were turned down in disapproving frowns and their faces bore identical looks of distaste.  Philippe nervously sucked in her breath and moved away from them, down the sidewalk and up the street.  She could feel their three pairs of eyes still fixed intently on her form as she sidled away in the opposite direction, endeavoring to lengthen the distance between herself and them as quickly as possible.
The walk back to the city boarding house where she and her younger sisters were currently living was not the easiest of walks for it was uphill most of the way and the time she had been inclined to make her way home was the busiest she could have chosen.  Avoiding suspicious looking persons and staying on the curb of the sidewalk to make way for large groups of people going in the opposite direction, it was almost dusk by the time she reached the familiar boarding house.  She paused at the top of the steps in front of the door before entering finding it hard to believe that this was actually her and her sisters’ home.  Though not especially large, it was a formidable-looking place with a steep, sloping roof, scant windows, and crumbling brick walls. The dank, shadowy alleyway leading to its closed front door stank of rotten vegetables and fish, along with other unmentionable articles. The overpowering smell flooded Philippe’s delicate senses. She squared her shoulders and pushed open the door. Where had her old life gone? Why did everything always have to change just when you were so content with it?  She thought of the house she had lived in with her family eight years ago before her parents and eldest sister had been killed in a house fire.  Then she pictured her mother’s kindly face. How incongruous it was compared to the dirty impropriety of her surroundings.
As she wound her way up the many well-worn staircases to the fifth floor of the boarding house, she listened distractedly to the sounds coming from behind the doors lining the halls.  She had learned in the few months she had spent living in the boarding house that the thin plaster of the walls was but a weak excuse for a sound barrier and that all sounds inside the rooms were constantly being projected into the hallways, neighboring rooms, and even the corridors below.  
When she reached the door of the small apartment she and her sisters were renting, she paused with her hand on the knob to furtively arrange her features into its regular lines.  Opening the door, she took in the familiar surroundings.  The sun shining through the windows was beginning to grow dim as it sank below the horizon making the room look strangely surreal.  The two cots—one at the further end of the room and another beside the door; the tiny dimly-lit passageway leading to the broom closet-sized kitchen; the frail rocking chair from which up jumped twelve-year-old Anna, mending stockings, the moment Philippe opened the door.
“Philippe, you’re home! Beth, Cordelia—Philippe’s home!” exclaimed Anna.  She ran across the room to the fifteen-year-old Philippe and grasped her waist in a tight hug. Philippe stroked her sister’s silky hair, then, short of breath in the confinement of her corset and Anna’s uncomfortably secure arms, prompted Anna to let go of her.  Anna immediately started untying Philippe’s hat ribbons with quick fingers. “Did you get work?”
Philippe smiled at her sister’s enthusiasm just as Beth and Cordelia hurriedly entered the room, their faces aglow with hope. Anna’s dark blue eyes scrutinized Philippe’s face as Philippe looked down at her with something like pity and lifted a hand to caress her face.
“I’ll tell you over supper,” she said, raising her face to look at Beth and Cordelia with a bright smile. “Now help me get these confounded boots off.”
Plopping herself down in the only chair that stood in the room, a rocking chair, she held out her booted feet for assistance.  Cordelia and Anna went to Philippe, each girl applying herself diligently to the task of removing of Philippe’s boots.
“I’ll go set the table for supper since you’re home now, Philippe.” Philippe smiled up at Beth kindly, the corners of her eyes crinkling appealingly, knowing that Beth was only trying to cheer herself up as the sisters did not own even a table.  Ever since they had moved into the boarding house, they had been forced to eat sitting cross-legged on their cots.  

The sisters sat split into two groups upon their cots, silent with their eyes fixed attentively on Philippe’s face waiting for her to begin telling about her job.  There was a pause, and then Philippe parted her lips to begin.
“Well, when I left the boarding house this morning, I went first to one of the sewing factories because the manager there had told me to come back today when the factory was less busy.  When I asked to speak to him, the carrier whom I had told to tell him that I had arrived, came back with the message that he was unwilling to see me.  I hence gathered that there was no point in me coming again.  I then went to the dressmaker’s to see Madame Trowbridge.  Yesterday, she had said that she would consider my application and see if these was an open spot for me--,”
“--And she gave you the job?” interrupted Cordelia abruptly, a spoonful of peas paused before of her open mouth.  Philippe took a slow sip of water from her glass, delaying her answer and keeping her sisters in suspense.  Their eyes were wide with surprise when a moment later, she announced, “That she did, girls.”
Immediately, the room was thrown into an uproar; Beth, Anna, and Cordelia exclaiming in wild ecstasies of elation as they jumped from their respective cots and danced around the room. When they had finally quieted down and regained their seats, Philippe continued.
“I start work tomorrow.” There were more cries of delight and thankfulness as the girls took in the good news.  

“. . . and, Lord, Heavenly Father, we praise and exalt your name; you have been so good to us.  You have granted us a home and money, and most of all, each other.  We also thank you for the kind Mr. Winsor and Ms. Camille Penny, both of whom we have not heard from in weeks.  We pray, Lord, that you will bless them and be gracious to them, for the kindness and generosity which they formerly bestowed on us is unrepayable.
“Please guide us closer to you and help us to trust you even more in these trying times.  We pray this in your name, Amen.”
The four girls unclasped their hands and lifted their heads in unison.  Beth, who had said the prayer, threw a glossy golden braid over her shoulder and looked around the circle of sisters sitting on her and Philippe’s cot.
“Off to bed now, you two.  It’s past ten already and you’ve had a long day,” said Beth softly, hustling Anna and Cordelia off the bed and over to their own at the other end of the room beside the door.
“That was an awfully long prayer, Beth,” said Anna with a childishly serious look on her face.
“And why’d you pray for Frederic when we haven’t even seen him in years?” added Cordelia.
“I’m sorry, darling.  I shouldn’t have kept you up so late.  And, Cordelia dear, we saw him last month.  As to why I prayed for him, we have countless reasons to be thankful for his assistance in helping us escape the orphanage.  We want God to keep our good friend safe, don’t we?”
Cordelia inconsiderately raised an eyebrow and shrugged her shoulders.  Beth pulled back the girls’ thin bedcovers and tucked them in snugly when they had laid down.  She kissed them each on the forehead and made her way back to the other side of the room to Philippe.  Philippe stood looking out of the single window in the apartment, her forehead resting on the dirty, mud-splattered pane.  
“What a lovely night it is,” she said once Beth stood by her side and commenced staring out into the night alongside her older sister.
“It is a dear one.” Philippe smiled sweetly down at Beth who took Philippe’s chilled hand in her own and led her to the cot they shared.
“You’d better get some rest before your big day tomorrow.” The girls laid down beside each other, their faces turned in opposite directions.  Under the bedsheets, Beth’s hand again found Philippe’s, and squeezed it gently.  Philippe half sat up to blow out the candle beside the cot, then, laying back down, she turned to Beth and softly kissed her cheek.

a collage of the three main characters
Also: go check out Philippe's profile and plotline.


  1. I love the titles and the words that make it sound more detailed. I think that it is wonderful! Great job! I can't believe how wonderfully you can write, you are so talented!
    I, on the other hand, am not. I couldn't write a flimsy poem to save my life. So you are an author compared to me! THE author of SO MANY wonderful poems!
    And are those characters from....Pinterest? Lol. I noticed the little quotes in your "Be you" post were from Pinterest, how funny! I think it's fine though! 😊 I really like Pinterest and sometimes use it for my blog! =D
    <333 Paige

    1. Aww, thank you so much, Paige!! So glad you liked it. :)
      I bet you could though! Your writing on your blog is fabulous—I honestly don't think I was as mature-sounding at 12. (or wait . . . are you 13 now?) Anyhoo! :)
      It means a lot to me that you like my poems. They're definitely my weaker point . . . but I'm improving since my first poem this summer. xD
      Yes!! Pinterest is fabulous. Yes, they were! I honestly don't know what I would do without my Pinterest quotes. Lol! :D

  2. I really enjoyed this! I want more chapters!


    1. Thank you, Hailey!! It means so much to me that you liked it!!

  3. That is a fantastic title!! I always think titles are important, they are supposed to draw attention to themselves and at the same time to the book they sum up in just a few words. So great job on that!!! I am terrible when it comes to titles! I always think of titles for books I have not written but cannot for the life of me think of a title for the ones I am working on!!
    And I loved looking at the character pictures and recognizing them from movies I've seen them in!
    YOUR PEN NAME. GIRL. IT'S AWESOME. I used to have the pen name of Anna Burndam, and for a while it was Christine Washington, and I think it was Esme for a while, but I have never stuck to a GOOD one.
    Your is magnificent though!!
    As for the story itself:
    I am so serious!!! I love the characters, and I love the names and your descriptions were so vivid, I felt like I was watching it all happen! I love the relationships between the girls and the way you write is impeccable!! Your story feels like one of Louisa May Alcott's actually!!
    I may be wrong, but the story feels like you write it very carefully and well. It feels rich and I don't know why but I always feel a connection with the writer when I read a story. I see them in the back of my mind writing away and I try to see what they are thinking about and when they smile or frown. As a writer I think it's important to do that, because it helps me to get into the art and beauty of the story better.
    Anyway, rambly pambly me is done for now, GREAT JOB!!
    And post some more soon!!!!!!!!

    1. Thank you so much!! Sometimes titles can definitely be incredibly challenging . . . I'm having trouble with one for another book right now . . . but for the majority of my novels, I haven't had a ton of trouble, thank goodness. ;D
      Haha! So glad you liked them! Yeah, I think there's a War and Peace, Larkrise to Candleford, maybe more than a few Thomas Hardy's, Outlander, and definitely a Jane Austen or two. xD Plus others I don't even know what movie they're from! Pinterest is amazing. ;D
      THANK YOU! I actually really, really love it too. I've always liked finches/birds and "miss" seems so eloquent! So Miss Finch is was. ;D I haven't exactly decided what the "E" stands for yet—maybe a cool word—but I did debate upon making it for "Esther" for a while, believe it or not. xD My favorite currently is maybe "Elley".
      Anyhoo, whatever! :D
      Ooo, the name Esme is a lovely pen name! It's a good standalone name. Very regal and unique.
      Thank you so so much!! That's really encouraging.
      Glad you liked the names!! :D . . . There's actually a pretty cool story behind this book and how it was formed—but I'll save that for another day. It's long and dramatic. ;D Anyhoo, my point was that I made Philippe when I was about 11 so maybe my name choices weren't the best?! ;D Ah well.
      Louisa May Alcott was a fantastic writer. Her stories were all so vivid! Personally, though she's not one of my favorite writers, I look up to her a lot.
      Yes, I am not a particularly prolific writer and do write very carefully. To be honest, I started As We Are last January and am only on chapter ten or so. xD Of course, it's not a bad thing that I write slowly. And am meticulous with something for the first time in my life. xD So yes, very slowly and carefully and well—that's how I write. I feel like the smallest details are the most important . . . Then again, maybe my descriptions are a bit overwhelming! :D
      Wow, that's super cool!! Writers are such interesting creatures. :)
      Thanks for the ramblies! <3 <3 :D
      I will! Thank you billions for all the encouragement!

    2. Oh wow, just realized how long that reply was . . . xD

    3. Indeed they are. I find title talking with a friend helps me a LOT!! I had no idea what to call my second ever finished story, till I talked with my friend Allie and we came up with Being Pixie. (Haha no, it has nothing to do with pixies, before you ask. It's actually just a fluffy little story about a girl named Beatrix, or Pixie for short.)
      It IS!! A pity I haven't been able to be on there of late!!
      Indeed it is! Haha maybe it should be Miss Eloquent Finch!!! XD Though Esther is quite lovely too! ;P Oooh! Elley is beautiful!! I like it.
      Why thanks! I may just start using it again...
      She was that! Really?! Same here! I LOVE her books, but prefer Charlotte Bronté, or George MacDonald, or L. M. Montgomery! Gawsh we really must be twins!!
      That's really funny! I find if I THINK about it, I make up stuff about writers I would find cool, but if I just listen to those quiet yet sure thoughts, they end up being extremely accurate! Odd that. Small details are very important, but I have a hard time doing small detailed work... I write very quickly and urgently like the nazgul itself it at my heels! Uuuntill I get bored or get a new idea... :P hehe! Maybe not SUCH twinsies... :)
      I don't find them overwhelming at all! I may seem all full of praise and such but I can't help but speak my mind! Especially since you've been so kind and welcoming to my rants!! :D
      That they are... That they are...
      Hehehe thank YOU for listening!! Er, reading... :P whatever!
      Hahaha don't you worry! I enjoy not being ENTIRELY to blame for hogging the comment space!!

    4. Being Pixie is such a cute title, oh my goodness!! <3 <3 Haha, love that it's about a Beatrix. ;D
      LOL Hey, I seriously sort of like that though . . . xD
      Ugh, decisions. ;D
      You should!
      Ahh totally!! Bronte was absolutely brilliant . . . and George MacDonald along the same lines too. L. M. Montgomery is so creative. Haha, literally though—I think we might be. xD
      Lol!! Maybe not so much after all . . . :D
      Our commenting skills are hilarious!! ;D I just crack up every time I see our loooong chains of replies to each other. ;D

    5. Aw thanks!! Yes! Now you know why I have such a special devotion to praising her cuteness!! ;P Hey, let me know if she ever becomes friends with a Jonas, will you? Oh and do you have a brother named Philip?? XD
      Well I'll give you half the credit for it. Copyright, E. Eckstine hahahaha! XD XD
      Heh. Heh. Heh... :D
      Hahahahaha I crack up just thinking about it!!

  4. Whoa, the more times I read this the more times I love it! I think you really captured the girls' characters in one short chapter, especially Cordelia because I know that she's a tough one. (Lol.) ;)
    The setting was diligently done, I think you did well 'setting the stage'. Especially when new readers have no idea what's going on and so you explained it very well, gradually, but well.
    The only thing I noticed was that I found a few run-on sentences. A couple of them were crucial, but I think perhaps you could add-in a few new sentences or perhaps a semicolon. Other than that, it was spot-on!

    Amelia xxx

    1. Thank you, Amelia!! Cordelia's pretty rockin' awesome. :D
      Aww, thanks. I'm glad you liked it so much.
      Okay, fantastic! I really appreciate the suggestions! I'll go take a look . . . :D


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