GUEST POST A Little Bit of Everything Lost – Stephanie Elliot

GUEST BLOGGER – Stephanie Elliot

The Idea for Writing A Little Bit of Everything Lost

When I first thought about writing A Little Bit of Everything Lost the idea was to write about a guy I dated in college. I had old journals filled from our time together. It had been an on-again, off-again situation. I wouldn’t even give the experience the title of ‘relationship.’ He wasn’t even a boyfriend, just someone who was around and someone I was infatuated with. He was the someone I wanted to write a story about.

When I dug into those journals a couple of decades later – thinking that there might be a story there – I discovered there wasn’t much to the story that had caused me such heartache when I was a sophomore in college. Of course, back then I thought my whole world lived and breathed that guy. Didn’t we all think that way about a guy or two when we were young and impressionable?

I guess that’s the story I wanted to tell. A story filled with longing and angst, and how it felt to want to live and breathe that one person you felt could clutch your heart and own you. That person who could say your name like no one else, look right into the depth of your soul and know exactly what you were thinking.

So I didn’t tell my story. Instead, I mixed up a few different scenarios, used the shell of some guys who I had experienced some things with, created some situations that might have caused a young Marnie to be devastated and then molded a story that I hope many woman can relate to.

And with grown-up Marnie, I wanted to let women know they don’t have to be super moms, and they don’t have to be perfect wives, and it’s okay to let go of the guilt from past or present mistakes. And that it’s definitely okay to think about a first love, because first love is an important part of everyone’s lives. And whether we know it or not, many times the actions of our pasts lead us to the perfections of our present lives.

Synopsis

At 19, Marnie plunged into first love with Joe, a guy who was completely wrong for her. Their romance was fast and exhilarating and like nothing Marnie had ever experienced or understood. Just as quickly as it began, it was over, with no explanation. He left her with unanswered questions and unexpected feelings of loss and regret, and a quiet grief she would carry with her for the next fifteen years.

When Joe returns, Marnie is a 34-year-old wife and mother to two rambunctious little boys, who is slowly healing from a devastating loss. All the emotions she suppressed from the past fifteen years surge to the surface, threatening to ruin her marriage and destroy her family. She’ll need to confront the one person who hurt her the most to realize that love and loss sometimes go hand in hand… and that you have to live with some of your toughest choices for the rest of your life.  A Little Bit of Everything Lost is part coming-of-age/part love story. It’s a story about a woman desperate to make peace with the past. It’s for all women who have ever experienced the magnitude of first love, whether it was a lasting bond or a fleeting moment. Because first love – while it might not have been the best love – is a love none of us ever forgets.

EXCERPT

Chapter Four – October 2004

“Who saw him?”

Collette was barely in the door when Marnie shot the question at her.

“What’d he look like? Was he with anyone? How long’s he in town?”

Marnie felt on the verge of a breakdown reoccurrence, and after what she’d been through the past summer, the reappearance of Joe was going to bring her to the edge.

She was so fragile, and Collette of all people had known her history, had been there when she had first met Joe, fifteen years ago, when he had stormed into her life, and created a whirlwind, changed her from being the person she might have been. And even though they had been together for just a short while, he had thrust himself upon her so abruptly and passionately, she hadn’t seen it coming. And just like that, he was gone.

Marnie’s face was flushed, she paced the room like a caged animal, plumped pillows, and wiped non-existent dust. She was a nervous wreck at the mere thought he could be back.

“So, where is he?” she asked again.

“Whoa, Marnie, how about, ‘Hey Collette, would you like some coffee?’”

“Sorry. Coffee?” And Collette followed Marnie into the kitchen where she poured one cup for Collette, cream and sugar, and one for herself, black.

“Thanks. So anyway, no one’s actually seen him yet. Fran’s mom ordered something from their family bakery last week and found out his grandmother’s turning ninety, and that the whole family’s coming into town for it. So, technically, I guess he’s not officially back yet. But he’s coming back. For the party.”

“His grandmother’s still alive? When’s the party?”

“I don’t know, around Thanksgiving maybe?”

Marnie sat with her head in her hands, the scent of coffee filling the room, steam wafting from their cups. Collette knew enough to wait quietly while Marnie let her thoughts form, the history of her past churning through her mind.

“What am I going to do?” Marnie said, more to herself than to Collette.

“What you’ve wanted to do all of these years, I suppose.” Collette said.

“I have to see him.”

Collette nodded.

“I have to tell him.”

AUTHOR BIO

Steph headshot 2014Stephanie Elliot is the author of A Little Bit of Everything Lost, What She Left Us, and the novella, The Cell Phone Lot. She is also a writer and editor and has written for a variety of newspapers, magazines and websites. In her spare time she edits manuscripts for other writers and proofs executive documents. She lives in Arizona with her husband and three children.

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