Monday, February 10, 2020

An unfinished story...

Several years ago, on this blog, I wrote about the movie "Cloud Atlas" (it was in 2013 - link to relevant post and comments:

In a comment responding to "LB", I wrote:
I love the general idea of a soul or some manner of eternal personality travelling through time... Husband and I, back in 2003/4, in England, began trying to dream up (me) and write (him) a story along such lines, using around 3 or 4 sets of situations, spread from medieval times to the years of World War II. The link, through time, would be a piece of fabric. Husband wrote a super preface to the first chapter, I did keep it, but at the moment cannot lay hands on it. Other things, such as marriage and house selling and moving to the USA got in the way of continuing that venture. I often still ponder on how such a set of tales could unfold and link up though. :-) That was one reason I was so keen to see "Cloud Atlas".

Well, just today, while tidying some papers, I came across that preface, and more! Here it is - my husband aka "anyjazz" wrote it from an idea I put forward. He said that he felt a need to make some explanation as to why the piece of fabric was so cryptic, and powerful. He's a much better creative writer than me.  We  decided to share: ideas from me, writing from himself. I love this preface. There are also some outlines of rough ideas of how the tale should unfold, but I'll keep those for another day, if anyone is interested. For now.... the preface only:  are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin. Once upon a time....


A crescent moon and a single candle spread yellow light across a small room. An ancient woman works at a loom. She works slowly with great purpose, grand design. Her fingers pull the yarn tight, knot it here, counting the cross threads, another knot there. The woman pauses, wipes the corners of her eyes. A candle and a crescent moon are little help to her near blindness. She weaves and counts by touch. She creates to the image in her mind, an image formed of seasons of watching the stars, the changing patterns of her skies.

Over years she has collected life about her. Over these years she collected the sound of the squirrel in the fresh air from the forest, the scent of the wildflowers on their spread down the side of the hill and honeybees on the breeze from the valley, the touch of the rich earth and the polished stones on the path from the hills, the taste of the spring water and wild herb. All these pieces of life she knows. All these things are in the knots and the curious weave of the strip of fabric she is creating. And something else. She pauses and smiles at the crescent moon that is now only a glow in her dimming eyes. She smiles at the stars she can no longer see but knows in her heart are there. She is following their instructions. She and the stars are creative partners in this soft band of fabric.

The flax was gathered on a late summer day. It was years ago. The linen yarn was spun slowly on evenings after the children were bathed and sleeping. The skeins of yarn were dyed in iron cauldrons of color from the wild berries from the hills and from curious red-brown earth left when a fiery stone fell from the heavens. The woman ground these colors in stone cups, blending each with care. The wild bushes and sapling trees at the edge of the small forest held the drying loops of yarn. The sun contributed subtle changes to the colors here and there.

Now after years of preparation, the last thread, the last weave, the last knot was in place. It is a lovely band of textured fabric, a unique scarf fit for royalty. The labor of her life was complete. Complete that is, except for the delivery. The creation is not for her. It never has been. She has known for a long time where the small scarf will go. She has known the color of the container, the place in the stars, the position of the sun. Exactly. And it is tomorrow.

The sun now glows above the trees at the edge of the great lawn in the front of the estate. A pale green and gold trimmed carriage waits at steps. The driver sits atop, holding the reins of a patient horse. Last night’s sleep is still in his eyes. A footman stands ready at the top step of the front landing. Behind him the carriage door stands open.

A small figure emerges from the trimmed shrubbery, approaches the carriage quietly and places something on the seat just inside the open door. Then as quickly, the figure is gone."


Wisewebwoman said...

How lovely a yarn in more ways than one. Very intriguing and beautiful writing. I can see her spinning as her life fades.

As to Cloud Atlas I loved the book (I remember it ended in West Cork on one of my favourite islands) and was a masterpiece IMO. I deliberately didn't see the movie as I liked the worlds created in my head.


anyjazz said...

It's a lovely piece we wrote. Fun to read it again. I'm glad we wrote it and kept it. Thanks for the reminder. Happy Valentine's day.

Twilight said...

Thank you, WWW and anyjazz! :) :) xx