Writing Wednesday: Dancing into the Opera

I wrote last week about the Peter Pan story I’m writing for a planned anthology, involving people entering into books.  I’m planning to write at least two stories for the collection, and have started playing with the second one.  I’m not straying far from familiar territory, as I decided to send a character into The Phantom of the Opera.  But the trip will be out of familiar territory for her–Michelle has seen Webber’s Phantom, and has no idea how different Gaston Leroux’s version is!

Here’s a bit from near the beginning.


I walked along the wall and stopped at random at another shelf.  Nothing was grabbing me.  It all looked boring, boring, boring…

And then I stopped on a black book with silver lettering.  No dust jacket.  But there was the key information on the spine: The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux.

I found myself smiling involuntarily.  Now that had been a good Saturday night.  Kim and I went to see the Webber play, because her husband hates musicals and thinks only tourists go to see Webber.  Whatever, it means I get to be Kim’s theater buddy.  So we went to the play and of course I rolled my eyes for the first scene, the “rehearsal of Hannibal.”  They were trying, and it wasn’t bad dancing, but it wasn’t professional ballet either.

But then a few scenes in, he came onstage.  And he was mesmerizing.  The cloak, the mask, the singing voice—the intensity, the tragedy, the way he moved on stage.  I could sort of tell he was supposed to be the villain, that I was supposed to be rooting for the pushy nobleman.  And yeah, it wasn’t cool when he blew up at Christine, but what was she doing taking his mask off?  What kind of idiotic move was that?  Especially after he’d just laid his whole soul bare in that gorgeous “Music of the Night”…

Kim had been teasing me about it ever since, about this crush I had on the Phantom of the Opera.  But sometimes a girl likes a good crush on a fictional character.  They’re a lot less demanding, and it’s not like it means anything.

Although sometimes I wondered if Kim was right, if I spent too much time crushing on fictional characters, not enough time focusing on real men, the chance for a real relationship.  Hence this stupid blind date tonight.

Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad if I knew that after I dragged through a drink or two, I could go home and read about the Phantom of the Opera.  It wouldn’t be the play, but it would be interesting to see how it compared.  I guess I knew there was a book?

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