“Who The Bleep is Harry?”

Who the Bleep is Harry?

I keep a red moleskin notebook for all of my scribblings and novel ideas (literally and figuratively). It’s half-full of half-sentences or half-finished thoughts. It’s all over the place, but creatively, I have better luck physically handwriting (or rewriting) things before sitting down at my computer, so that I have a store of pages to use as a jumping-off point.

I’ve written before about my frustrating in attempting to decipher unfinished thoughts, so imagine my reaction when I discovered, while flipping back a few pages in my notebook, an entire page dedicated to a character I can’t even remember. I read and reread it, and while I like this passage, I cannot for the life of me figure out who the fuck Harry is or why I started writing about him. What role was he going to play? Was he going to be important? I have no idea!

Here, let’s see if you guys can make sense of this for me:

Auctions are spectator sports as much as they are flagrant shows of wealth, both masked by a facade of indifference. The more important bidders sent representatives or bid by phone, while the audience quietly surveyed one another under the guise of polite interest, when in truth they were speculating as to the presence of Mrs. So-and-so, quickly calculating which painting or buyer a particular person signified. Sylvie knew that the attendance of, say, someone like Harry deJong, an impressively slight wisp of a man who could be counted on for a bold ascot and who had a shrill, tinkling laughing, meant that the former –or even, perhaps, the current– First Lady had her eye on a lot in the sale. But that was only if he sat in the first few rows; if he chose a seat along the side, or nearer the back, or even more telling, seemed subdued, his interests that particular evening were more international. That was a blanket term for any buyer with oil money to spend, rich sheiks with expensive Parisian penthouses, or American diplomats with more money than taste. Harry could be seen at nearly every evening sale at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s, and his bidding pattern was so perfectly honed and subtle it was impossible to really tell what he was after. It drove the dealers at both houses crazy.

“Oh, it’s been too long,” Sylvie said to Harry, taking him lightly by the shouldrs and kissing him on both cheeks. She had to bend slightly to reach him, but for his part Harry seemed not at all embarrassed. Tonight, he wore a shocking swath of purple silk around his neck, coordinated with–

And then it just ends! Like I had a stroke mid-sentence. I can attribute my cluelessness about Harry and this passage to the fact that I took an eight month break from writing; of course my brain is a little fuzzy on the details, I haven’t touched this notebook in almost a year (I am so ashamed). Let this be a lesson, self! Writing is like any other habit. If you don’t practice, you end up confusing the shit out of yourself when you try to pick it back up.

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July 20, 2015 / life / dog / LEAVE A COMMENT / 10

10 comments

  • My first thought when I saw the title was, “Is it like one of those conversations on Tumblr where somebody starts talking about Harry, and others wonder if it’s Harry Potter, Prince Harry, or Harry Styles?”

    Back to your extract, it makes perfect sense to me. So this Harry is literally and figuratively a colourful character?

    • Haha, oh Tumblr! None of those Harrys, though if it were any of them, it would’ve been Potter. My favorite Harry! xo

  • Interesting thoughts and perspective. And great lessons indeed. Greetings!

    • Thanks! xo

  • Harry is one Harry deJong. He’s a slight wisp of a man who always wears a bold ascot. Pretentious ass. Oh, you remember him. He’s a little person with the most annoying shrill, tinkling laugh. Wherever you sit, Harry’s loud mouth is right behind you at both Sotheby’s and Christie’s. He drives the dealers at both houses crazy. Surely you remember him from your time at Sotheby’s. Almost put my back out bending over to accept a kiss from him the other evening.

    • I could kiss you for this flawless comment. xo

  • HAHA! That goes in the “save for later” category. You can resuscitate him in your next novel

    • Ha! That’s a great category, indeed. xo

  • That sounds both frustrating and exciting. Given the fact that you say you haven’t written for awhile maybe this would be a fun place to jump in and try to figure out who Harry was or is? He definitely sounds like someone. Like a piece of the puzzle. And given “her” description of his affinity for loud ascots maybe he is a bit of of frenemy? Friend or foe, or both? I just hope you keep him! I am even more intrigued now. XO

  • That’s so funny! Maybe Harry will come back in a “Eureka” moment someday?