Thursday, December 10, 2015

Madison's Avenue - Deleted Excerpt

Today's muse: I am trying to get back into my photography and have reinstated my blog at 365 Project. My dear friend, who is in charge of kicking my butt to continue writing and finishing Madison's Avenue, posted a photograph of an old key. Which reminded me that the muse for Madison's key is this:

365_Key on 365 Project

This is the key to my inlaws's home. The moment I saw it, it invoked mystery and famly secrets. It was the starting point for Madison's Avenue. But, as any writer will tell you, the book (and Madison's character) took me along a different path and the key scene has been deleted.

This is how it used to read:

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Madison's Avenue - Deleted Excerpt

Madison wandered back into the living room. Wine glasses, tea cups and dessert plates scattered the room. She pulled the papers from the envelope, frowned at her grandmother’s sloped handwriting.


You were small and scared when you came to live with us. It was a long time before you trusted. No surprise, given the terror you had lived through. Your grandfather and I raised you as though you were our own. Perhaps it was the fates giving us a second chance, to have something good come from such evil. I don’t know if we succeeded, but I do know that we are proud of you. We couldn’t ask for a more loving child.

It was a blessing that you couldn’t remember; we thought the life you had before was best forgotten. Now, I’m not so sure. Perhaps it is better that you understand your past and know that, despite everything, you are a strong woman. A survivor.

I cannot bear to know that you will not forgive me, forgive us, for keeping the truth from you. Even hiding behind these written words does not give me the strength to say what I need. Instead, I will do the only thing I can. I will send you home.

Open your heart and listen. Hear the whispers of the past and trust. Trust yourself, Maddy. I hope, one day, you will trust enough to forgive.


The air whooshed out of Madison’s lungs, blood thundered in her ears. She tilted the envelope; a key, heavy and old, dropped into her hand, leered up at her like a toothless Carny.

Long-forgotten memories slammed into her: the stench of stale booze and cigarettes, his rough hands pressing her down into the worn mattress.

Madison stared at the key that opened her childhood home. How could Nana expect her to forgive?