Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Tender morsels and sacrificial flowers

'Mistress says she doesn’t want to be draped in such a sombre colour when she conceives. She is superstitious, I take it, and believes that wearing such a colour would likely result in another fatality. It is the colour of death, to be sure. Like black spot. But my, she is small, and I cannot imagine how a girlish frame such as hers could house a child bent on growing. When she holds it in her arms after it has left her womb, it will be too large for her and she will fail beneath its weight. However did she stay strong enough when caring for her other boisterous children? She brings to mind a porcelain vase: her skin is white and chilled but it is her frailty that makes the association. One year, in the kitchen, I bent my heavy head so low to provoke the master. I bent so low that I tipped over, saturated in water, and the porcelain vase I was displayed in shattered on the windowsill. I can hear the strain in her strange babblings. She will tip.'
                       extract from my short story 'Sacrificial Flowers'
*  *  *
I am preoccupied with pregnancy right now, literally and metaphorically speaking. I conceived of the idea for 'Sacrificial Flowers' when watching the period drama Crimson Petal and the White, a story also preoccupied with madness and childbirth. Why are these themes linked so tightly, like a phantom umbilical cord between mother and child? It is as if something that grows inside women becomes them instantaneously. The heart beats harder and faster as it now beats for two; or it splits from the pressure, and becomes siamese. And if we lose that precious Other we miscarry a part of ourselves - a part of our reason. We can feel pain for a time, and mourn a child that never came to be, only to become stronger for our pain and experience and move on. Or we tip. 
I love both cover art so...
...I'm displaying both
I'm reading Tender Morsels again. It is my favourite book in the world. Based upon the Brother's Grimm fairytale 'Snow White and Rose Red', it explores the duality of beauty and cruelty, and how they exist side by side upon this earth. It is the parallels, the tension, of dark and light that interests me. One cannot be without the other. We cannot be complete if we are eternally happy, and indeed we do not realise we are happy until we experience sorrow. Aside from that, her style of writing is amazing - perfect. Margo Lanagan can write about the most distressing things whilst being gently comic, and vice versa. When not reading and writing, I've been listening to Hector Zazou and Katie Jane Garside. 'Symphony of Ghosts' is on repeat in my head. It is gentle and lulling, and I am ready for sleep. Nuh-night...N xxx

No comments:

Post a Comment