Conquering Venus Prologue

For here there is no place that does not see you. You must change your life. -- Rilke

In his dreams he can remember her name. From the shadowy first glimpses when she was peripheral, on the edge of a crowd or morphing into a friend or family member, to the day the plane lifted off from Memphis Airport bound for London and her face and body finally synchronized in mid-flight slumber. Upon waking, her image remains sharp and clear, but her name slips into the ether of his subconscious.

She is older, but stunning, like a French movie star; her mouth down-turned at the corners, dark eyes, hair long and blonde. She has a place now, too, not just random locations in unrelated dreams, but a balcony over a street. She appears, a palm raised in what seems like greeting, until she begins tracing her lifeline, a delicate finger circling the pad under her thumb, the mound of Venus. I don’t know what you mean, -----, he says with frustration. She smiles and rests her hands on the railing, their whiteness shocking against the black metal, and on the back of her left hand, between the thumb and index finger, is a tattoo of small interlocking crosses. He knows this marking, knows it like the back of his own hand, because in the summer of 1995 as Martin Page stares at himself in the mirror of his London hotel room, he can see the same tattoo inked into his skin – a South American symbol meaning “equal but opposite” - and her name is on the tip of his tongue.

Conquering Venus: A Novel by Collin Kelley, coming August 2009 from Vanilla Heart Publishing. Pre-order now at


Anonymous said…
Some nice images; I'm guessing the prologue is first person and then the novel is "remembered" in past? Nice device.

There's a parallelism error in the first sentence of the second paragraph (it should be structured "her mouth A, eyes B, hair C") which evidently escaped the editor (grammatical parallelism can be evasive, alas)...
Anonymous said…
May not be parallel but it has a stream of consciousness and dreamy quality. Dreams are not parallel so why should this be? This read like poetry to me and I trust Collin is going to give us something unexpected.

ButtonHole said…
I like the sentence as it stands. Collin probably knows what a stickler I am for the Queen's English, but creative writing has a much wider range of possibilies. Check out Faulkner, e.g. If we're going to quibble parrallelism, we can also nix that semicolon there that creates a fragment. But let's NOT!

And I'll bet Collin also knows how MUCH I love that opening Rilke!
Collin Kelley said…
Thank you, BH.

I think Gavin hit it on the head. The entire book is like a dream, so everything is not parallel. There's a dose of magical realism at the half-way point that I'm sure some people won't like, and I even took the liberty of re-routing the Paris metro to suit my needs. It IS fiction, so I felt free to do anything.

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