Just posted: An Early (and rejected) chapter of Running Forward. When I was rewriting my book, one of the things I struggled with was finding a consistent voice to the story. I tried some different voices and wrote the following first chapter in first person, present tense. Though I thought it worked well for this part of the story, I had difficulty continuing the voice throughout the rest of the book.
I also decided that I didn't want to start the story here. The story did not begin with the death of my infant daughter but a week earlier when my first wife killed herself. There were too many questions that needed to be answered before I reached this part of the story.
In the end I inserted this part of the story at the tail end of chapter two. I added more detail and changed the voice to match the rest of the book.
But enough of why I didn't like it. If you want, go ahead and read it.
I sit next to my infant daughter watching her chest move up and down in sync with the whoosh of the respirator. She is two and a half months premature and weighs two pounds, six ounces. There's a tiny pink bow in her attached to her head of thick chocolate colored hair. My daughter's name is Hope.
Yesterday I made the decision to remove Hope from life support. I've been at the hospital today almost five hours and still haven't been able to bring myself to do it.
Hope shares a room with three other babies in the intensive care unit of Primary Children's Hospital. The other babies are bigger and from what I can tell, healthier. None of them are attached to as many life support devices as Hope. Not one is on a respirator. At some point during my daily visits I've seen all three awake, moving, and occasionally cooing and smiling at the nurses through their plastic incubators.
Not Hope. For the last nine days she's never opened her eyes or voluntarily moved her body.
The number of devices attached to her means she can't be kept warm in a plastic incubator like the other babies. Instead her body is heated by a bright white light. Three IV bags deliver clear concoctions of food, painkillers, and muscle relaxant one drop at a time. An electrode attached to her chest tracks her heart rate. Another checks her blood oxygen level. There are other instruments but I've forgotten what they do.