The first draft of the first book I’ve ever written is well underway. I wrote the entire thing and then discovered the beginning stinks. So big revisions are underway. I guess this is considered my second draft in that case. I’ve honestly lost track.
Like, crab picking. The first time I sat down to eat a blue crab (I’m a Marylander) I let my parents do it for me. Then as I got older I learned to do it myself. Overtime I finely tweaked the method to do it quickly and with better accuracy. Backfin with lots of meat attached? Yes, please.
Here is a snippet from chapter fourteen from Shelby’s point of view:
I close the door and turn on the shower. A hiss of water pours out striking the plastic curtain. I pick off the layers of clothing and let them fall to the floor. A crumbled greasy pile full of dust and grunge seems to have a life of its own. I wish I could throw them away before anyone witnesses the depth of my filth.
A mirror hangs over the pedestal sink, I hesitate, but I have to know how bad it is. I grip the porcelain rim and take in a deep breath before looking.
And there she is. This strange woman staring back at me. A ring of gray soot follows my hairline, my nose is red, and eyes bloodshot from lack of sleep. I reach up to untangle the braid and notice how stark white my arms are compared to my hands and face.
Who is this? My previous identity no longer applies. A case of mistaken identity, this isn’t me. This person is empty. Where did I go? The girl that was before. Was she ever really here?
“Maybe not,” I say aloud testing my connection to humanity.
This snippet alone will probably change a few more times until I’m satisfied. At this point, there are areas of the book I need to move away from and push myself forward. I cannot allow myself to get hung up on stark white vs. pale. I cannot allow myself to worry about empty vs vacant. Maybe I’ll allow myself to in the next draft, whatever number that may fall on. For now, this book needs to have a solid draft before the end of September. So I’m pushing onward.
In case you want to know how I eat my crabs, it goes like this.
A sidecar of Natty Boh, butter for occasional dipping, mallet, butter knife for hard to reach spots, the table covered in newspaper, and a pile of hot crabs.
First I take the claws off and crack them open with the mallet. Those get butter for sure. Tougher meat but still good. Next the legs are ripped off and any meat hanging on is dipped in butter or eaten without. No method here. You have to taste the white meat without butter though, so you can see how sweet it is.
Next, the back (top shell) is ripped off and lungs pulled out along with the intestines and mustard. Mustard, okay, one second. This is actually poo and some people eat it! I am not one of those people. At least not on purpose.
I break the body in half and either I use my fingers or a knife to pull out the meat in each compartment. Old Bay sticks to my fingers and burns when a shell punctures my skin. Just a hazard of the job. God bless Old Bay, if you don’t know what this spice is I recommend looking it up, also goes good on potatoes and corn.
That’s how I eat my crabs, sipping on a beer, talking with family and friends, it’s a Maryland tradition. Try some when you’re here!