This week we’re discussing chapters 7-12 of Clipped Wings by Helena Hunting. There are lots of interesting things that happen in these chapters, so dive in with us, and then we’ll share a little q and a time with Helena.
Why do you think Hayden is so adamant on putting his art on Tenley’s body? Do you think he’s pushing Tenley? Why or why not?
Tamie: I agree Elena…I think it’s a way of claiming her. We already know he feels a possessiveness towards her, and his ink on her body is a forever imprint. On the one hand it speaks to him as an artist. He understands that the design has huge meaning for her, and he wants to be the one that helps her realize it. On the other hand it also means he’ll be spending a large amount of time with her, and because of the placement she’ll be exposed and vulnerable in a way. I don’t think he can handle the thought of someone other than himself being in that position with her. No, he’s not pushing her at all. In fact, he tries to get her to back down from the idea at first. When he sees that won’t happen he’s adamant about being the one to do it.
Elena: No, I don’t think he’s pushing her, even though, as I said before, I do think he can be quite overwhelming. But this is one of the reasons why I like him so much. He wants Tenley badly, and he’s not afraid of showing it. I believe this is why he wants her to have his art on her body — it’d feel like an imprint. In some ways, she would be his.
What do you think of the tattoo Tenley wants Hayden to put on her body? Were you taken aback, as Hayden is, by the fact that she wants it as a back piece?
Elena: As soon as the tattooed was described, I couldn’t help but think that it’s beautiful and really impressive. It must have huge significance for Tenley and hide a deep meaning. Yes, I was a bit taken aback that she wants it as a back piece, considering how much this is going to hurt. But Tenley seems determined and that doesn’t surprise me. She doesn’t seem like the type of girl who backs down.
Tamie: As described it’s absolutely amazing. Obviously with such a massive and detailed piece it ‘s something that Tenley feels will be that catharsis that Hayden talked about earlier. I wasn’t quite as surprised as Hayden, but I think that’s because we the readers are privy to more information about what’s happened to Tenley at this point. I get the significance of the tattoo…the symbolism it represents to her in ways that he can’t understand completely at this point.
Tenley seems to agree with Hayden on “physical pain as a release for the emotional.” Thoughts?
Tamie: It makes sense to me. I certainly think it’s a healthier way to deal with it than say “cutting” is. People deal with emotional pain in vastly different and countless ways. Hayden is a perfect example of that because he’s used a lot of different coping mechanisms…the body modifications/art, the drinking and drugs, the meaningless sex, and now he uses control. “In the midst of all the chao I found a way to manage the pain. Order had a calming effect. There was peace in perfection. Ultimate control over everything in my life, from the way my condo was set up to the people I chose to affiliate with, made living bearable.”
Elena: I had never looked at it that way, but I guess there’s some truth to it.
Tenley reveals to her friend Sarah what happened to her…Discuss…
Elena: That was so painful. Honestly, I never imagined something so tragic could have happened to her. My heart ached so badly for her. I’m glad she was able to find some relief by talking to Sara about it. Sara seems a good friend, one you can rely on and that can help you.
Tamie: Heartbreaking and devastating really says it all doesn’t it? The survivor’s guilt she feels is as well. To have survived what she has both physically, mentally, and emotionally speaks to her strength even though there’s still such a fragility about her.
In chapter 12 Hayden and Tenley share a passionate moment, but Hayden refuses to go any further and Tenley seems upset. What do you think of their respective behavior and the reasons behind it? Discuss.
Tamie: Honestly, my very first thought was…YES! YES! YES! What a dilemma and a battle it was for Hayden to stop, but I think stopping was really the right thing to do as much as he didn’t want to. I understand Tenley’s reaction. Hayden didn’t really do a good job of explaining why they needed to “dial it down”, and she felt rejected. I’m definitely not sorry it happened because the attraction between the two of them has been driving me just as crazy as it has for them. I just wish it had ended better. As for Tenley…it’s completely understandable why she didn’t get it and was hurt. In her shoes I’d have reacted exactly the same way.
Elena: That was quite the passionate moment…I thought Hayden would have gone for it. I didn’t expect he would stop, to be honest. But I think that he’s afraid of opening up to someone and letting her see through him. This is why he stops, in my opinion. He’s not ready to let another person mark him so deeply, no matter how much he wants her. As for Tenley, I can completely understand why she is disappointed. I mean, he’s Hayden after all…And I’m sure she has already feelings for him too. She’s just not ready to admit it yet.
Your favorite quote(s):
Elena: “Touching her made me feel high. Like she was plugged into me or was plugging me in. I wanted to know what it would feel like to have my hands on her. Everywhere. I severed the contact in order to regain control of my brain.”
Tamie: “It made me want to hug her, or jump her, or whatever. I was such a fucking mess over this girl.”
“Touching her made me feel high. Like she was plugged into me or was plugging me in. I wanted to know what it would feel like to have my hands on her. Everywhere. I severed the contact in order to regain control of my brain.”
“That I’m going to lure you back to my place and keep you there forever so you can bake those cupcakes every day for the rest of my life.”
“You’re asking me for a full back tattoo. Which means you’re going to be naked from the waist up, alone with me in a room, for the better part of twenty hours, and you’ve got hang-ups about dropping trou’ for a little one above your pubic bone?”
Your favorite scene(s):
Tamie: Chapter 12
Elena: Chapter 12.
Now for that Q and A with Helena…
Both Mary Jo and Steph had a similar question: Hayden and Tenley have the most tragic backstories. I really enjoy how much they both are moving away from the past even though I didn’t like finding out their tragedies. Where did Hayden and Tenley come from?
There were a couple of accidents which made the news that stayed with me. They were the kind of accident that give you immediate goosebumps. Later, I found myself thinking about them while engaged in mundane tasks–like doing the dishes–and I couldn’t get them out of my head. One accident involved a bride and groom who were on their way to their wedding. The bride and her bridal party were in one car and the groom and the groomsmen were in a different vehicle, which is typical of traditional weddings. A tractor trailer jackknifed and took out the groom’s limo. Everyone in the vehicle died, leaving a devastated bride at the altar. There was another similar incident where a church collapsed during a wedding. There were six hundred people inside and most of them didn’t survive.
What I couldn’t stop thinking about was how the survivors went on. I think it’s easy to say “Oh, they’re so lucky to be alive.” But in truth, the aftermath of surviving something like that would be life altering and painful to overcome. That kind of extreme trauma made me want to explore how a person could experience something so devastating and go on living with purpose.Only someone who had experienced a similar level of trauma could truly understand that person. So I created Hayden to mirror Tenley’s trauma. It’s Hayden’s ability to commiserate with her pain that allows him to finally let down the walls he’s built to keep people out.
As passionate, driven people, I felt art was the best way for these two lost souls to connect. The act of tattooing gave them a way get to know each other on an intimate level, beyond their physical attraction.
Lila asked: Where did you get the name Tenley? I’ve never heard it before.
I heard it somewhere, maybe on the news, and fell in love with the name. I thought it was different and interesting and fit the character in this story well.
From Elena: What’s the trait you love the most about Hayden and Tenley?
Tenley, in spite of some of her poor decision making skills and her unfortunate choices, Tenley is a very strong person. She’s feisty, and when she moves to Chicago she’s finally able to discover who she really is and embrace the parts of her that she was afraid to before.
Hayden is such a sensitive soul. People like him have to develop coping strategies to manage their emotions. He feels things intensely and because of that, when he loses his parents he essentially shuts down his emotions to cope with the loss. When Tenley arrives he finds himself at a turning point, where the rigid structure of his life is no longer enough, and he finally begins to see the value in letting down his guard. It makes him vulnerable, and that vulnerability is something to admire.
Thanks to those who joined in last week’s discussion. We really love reading your thoughts, and invite everyone to leave theirs. Also, we welcome you to leave more questions for Helena to answer next week, so go to it peeps! 🙂
Thanks to Helena for everything ❤
Tamie and Elena