"-And this?” I stroked the arrowhead she wore on her finger. Smooth as ice, instantly warm to my touch. She sank back against the tree, holding my hand.
(O heavenly softness of girls! Their necks sweet as candle wax—their weeping hair—!)
“Once,” she said, “a long time ago, there were two women. One white and one black, like the two sides of a chess board, but they were lovers. They lived a lie, a charade of master and slave. But when they were alone, it was the white who was slave and the black who was queen. They loved so deeply that their love created a wild and separate thing: a child who existed only in dreams.
And in their dreams the women would go to the child, and care for it. And the child grew strong. But the white woman began to wonder. Could such a child be truly real? She began to talk of it, in their waking hours, with her lover. Her lover, who better understood such things, warned her never to speak of it. To never speak of their blessings lest the gods overheard, and became envious. But the white woman was obsessed, she had to know. One night, she brought a knife with her into dreams, to see if the child would bleed—”
“Always with the knives, your stories.”
“Hush. So she pricked their child, and it did bleed. Skeins of blood rained down around them. The heaven of their love fell to earth, and the baby with it. This is the last of her. This was her heart. The heart of a love that was darker than onyx.”
“Their love couldn’t survive the world?”
“Their love couldn’t survive her uncertainty. She needed to believe, but ultimately, she couldn’t. So she killed it.”
“People really kill what they don’t understand.”
“People kill what frightens them. Ideas, lovers. Or they try to. But I think the essence of a thing matters more than the thing itself. Things can’t ever be truly, finally real. Because things can be disassembled, consumed. But an essence is eternal.”
“So somewhere they love each other still, is that what you mean?”
“If their love was real.” Ada looked thoughtfully up at the tree. “Ask me something else.” The air was violet against her neck, making shadows beneath her lips, her eyes. Her fur coat rustling, like late summer hay, golden in its last days before winter reaps all harvest. I felt the chill humans have felt since the beginning of time. Perhaps winter won’t come. Perhaps these days will go on forever...
But the prickling air answered, wrapping its chill around my heart.
But your winter will come.
I squeezed Ada’s hand. It was slippery, cooler now— or else mine was— and frantically said, “This one, tell me this one.” The bracelet was silver, so delicately made it appeared to be woven, of cold flowers, of bones and claws.
“In another part of this world, there was a girl who fell in love with a wolf. The wolf was bigger than a man, with hair the color of honey.
Ooo, I neglect this blog! I really don't have the blogging temperament at all....
Anyway- the above passage is from a section where Ada has begun to realize her powers, and she has a dalliance with a friend who isn't at all what she seems...
I realized the other day that I've reached 53,438 words. My goal is to round things off at about 66,000, so I'm close. Close-ish. And it wasn't that long ago that I deleted roughly 100 pages... so it's early to count chickens.
I recently finished Joyce Carol Oates' masterful Bellefleur- which would have been even better if she'd nixed a couple chapters in the middle, when the book sags just a tiny bit.
Not much new. It's been cold, great for writing. My new favorite spots are City Lights and Twenty Six Divine. We visited Savannah & Nashville.
Savannah: a little gritty, full of art and booze. Gorgeous. We met up with dear friends from Tucson who were staying nearby, visiting family.
Nashville was fantastic. Andrew's beloved childhood buddy, John, got us a great deal on our flights. We all stayed in a hotel within walking distance of downtown- we ate at Monell's famous family style chicken mansion, checked out some honky-tonks. A happy whirlwind.
Earlier this week had an awesome photoshoot with the darling Mariah Channing, restaging an Old Masters painting. Super fun, as always. I'll keep you posted.
I think the rest of today is going to be a writing in Magnolia Cemetary kind of day. Off with me.
Pauline West's first novel, EVENING’S LAND, is winner of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation Award and recipient of the Carol Marie Smith Memorial Scholarship for the NOEPE Center of Literary Arts.
Pauline West's books on Goodreads
Candlemoth: A Holy City Romance
ratings: 27 (avg rating 4.04)
ratings: 24 (avg rating 3.46)
Candlemoth Volume 2: How To Spend It
ratings: 10 (avg rating 4.40)
Candlemoth Book 3: A Twist of Fate
ratings: 6 (avg rating 4.17)
Stalker: A Gothic Thriller
ratings: 4 (avg rating 4.25)