Telegraph Road: a Treatise on Being Broken

“I’ve run every red light on memory lane
I’ve seen desperation explode into flames
And I don’t want to see it again…”
Mark Knoffler – Telegraph Road

It’s Tuesday and that means a new correspondence over at Post Marked: Piper’s Reach. We’re back to Ella-Louise this week and the darkness which has been scratching and whining, finally bolts through the crack between the door and jamb.

When Ella-Louise arrived on my doorstep in January with bulging suitcases of emotional baggage I had an inkling she was troubled (I’m quick, aren’t I?). I saw glimpses of her past in the early weeks; people she’d lost, the jobs she’d worked and what she’d done out of duty which almost killed her. But it took writing the 22nd February letter to see Ella-Louise wasn’t troubled–she was broken, and the extent of the damage.

My descent into the dark with her started when I tried to work out why Ella-Louise hated Grace Wyatt so much: more than a teenage tiff and much more than competition over Jude. Ella-Louise’s seething hatred is the kind which doesn’t mellow with time. What on earth could have happened to make her feel like that?

What came out surprised me, but no spoilers, other than to say when you read the letter you’ll understand Grace’s part in Ella-Louise’s departure from Pipers Reach in 1992.

Adam always said there was beauty in the brokenness of Ella-Louise… with distance I can see it. Even if I still feel the razor blades of Ella-Louise’s past flowing through me, down my fingers and into the ink staining the page. Where Ella-Louise took me for three weeks–I haven’t been to such a desolate place before with a character. Felt such raw depth of grief, confusion and regret all underpinned with hopelessness. A kind of warped destiny: once soiled, always soiled.

I see now how Ella-Louise’s darkness mirrors my own last year.  I shouldn’t find it surprising that in January she found her way to me. She didn’t come with promises of adventure or escapism. In fact it was a case of what you see, is what you get. No bells, whistles and certainly no satin bows let along the ability to exchange or get my money back.

Together we’ve traveled the road back to wellness. Found our place in the world again. In May 2012, we’re both in a better place. I’m not sure if it is art imitating life, or life imitating art here. Either way, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter. For once it’s all about the destination and not the journey.

But in the world of Pipers Reach it is still February. Summer. Ella-Louise’s first crashing steps out of the safety of the tentative, newly-forged connection with Jude. The 22nd February missive is the start of Ella-Louise’s descent. Like Inna into the Underworld Ella-Louise will be stripped of everything, she will be forced to face up to a past she’s been running from and will be left naked, hanging on hooks of her own fashioning to decay and die. And you’ll be there to bear witness to it across the next three weeks.


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