In order to celebrate the summer solstice (since I can’t make it to Stonehenge and I would probably never find the place anyway) I’d like to draw attention to some more stuff I’ve been working on.
#1 – My latest fling with some verse*
*Now has its own page on this site: “Meta-lite”
#2 – An extract from my new work-in-progress short story “Spin”, inspired by the legend of Arachne:
Before I really understand what I’ve taken on, I am unceremoniously set to work at the loom, with a different, much lower, stool to sit upon for the purpose.
I really have to reign in my recurring impulse to embellish the tapestry in my own way. I am given strict instructions not to “deviate” from the pattern. She has it all planned out for the big day. I look at the picture, already becoming clear to see, of a young devout man, and a young devout woman – separately – imploring the gods to grant them a wish I cannot decipher from the clues provided here. This is followed by a cluster of young men and women enjoying each other’s company in an entirely wholesome way, then a flock of birds soaring over a field of wheat and grain. The tapestry ends, rather abruptly, over the face of a young maiden (I don’t know if it’s the same one as the first one but she has a different expression on her face), and this is where I have to take over and finish the tapestry. It is around this point that I realise that I have not actually been provided with a “pattern”, per se, but the instructions were explicit nonetheless, to finish the tapestry in a way that is fitting. They have obviously credited me with barely enough common sense to finish the pattern more or less by repeating what has come before.
Each time I return to the tapestry, I re-evaluate what I have to do next, and it changes only a little each time. Mostly, I try to recreate what has come before – groups of young men and women enjoying a chaste gathering, flocks of birds, trees and bushes, houses, basically anything inoffensive.
I begin by finishing the girl’s face and body. She is perhaps too symmetrical to be realistic but better that than imperfect – or ugly.
I soon find that this is too easy, but at the same time it’s too hard, too boring to do this all day every day. The temptation to alter the pattern, to add my own flourish, is getting stronger each time I sit down to face the loom once again. I fantasise about making the silliest and boldest changes to the tapestry; having the young man yawning whilst praying, the young woman’s strand of hair coming a little loose, the lambs bouncing around the field, the birds “depositing” on the house below, one of the young men giving a sneaky pinch to one of the young women… but each impulse I only barely manage to suppress, falling in line with the prescribed pattern.
This task has taken a few days, as I’ve been called away from the project several times to attend to some other chore in the house. I am going to give myself the gift of something of my own.
I set to work, barely thinking about each motion I go through in my sequence which I’ve taken many years to learn to perfection.
Eventually the tiny threads converge to make a rainbow-like string, strong enough to catch the light, yet delicate enough that I barely felt it when I placed it along my wrist, allowing myself to imagine what it would be like to be allowed to wear such a thing, such a thing that wouldn’t snap and flutter away if caught on something.
It just barely covers the mark made upon my wrist many years ago, which although faded with time. It is now covered with something of my own making. Almost. Not quite.
Happy pagan dancing!