Measure twice, cut once III

I wove the fabric for the princess’s wedding gown, so I know it’s perfect, but for one small flaw.

I wove it over the winter, a special commission. Pure white, reflecting the colours of the world. I didn’t use white thread, though – I used the soft grey wool from a lamb’s throat, jaybird feathers, words torn from old love letters, wisps of grass, dried violets, a single thread of my own brown hair. As I wove, I whispered old words over them, san fold songs – songs of snow and ice, of clouds and gulls and seafoam. I made white through my own will.

I sew the wedding gown, knowing the princess will look like a rose flowering in the snow. The prince will turn and look at her, and his face will light up – as it lit up when he used to look at me.

I smile as I stitch, embroidering the snowy cloth with flowers – roses, lilies, snowdrops. When it’s finished, there’s just that one flaw – that single thread of my hair, dancing across the train. I leave it there, just to remind him of me.

Ok, this is the third draft of this small story, for Tanya Cliff’s Writer’s Workshop at GoDogGo cafe.  This week we’re thinking about our opening – using a single sentence or paragraph to introduce character and conflict.

This means I’ve had to sacrifice my best sentence, but you have to kill your babies in this game.

 

GoDogGo – measure twice, cut once #2

Even blindfolded, I could tell what fabric I’m cutting from the sound it makes. This is heavy, made to drape like snow across a girl’s hips. I know, because I wove it.

I wove it over the winter, a special commission. Pure white, reflecting the colours of the world. I didn’t use white thread, though – I used the soft grey wool from a lamb’s throat, jaybird feathers, words torn from old love letters, wisps of grass, dried violets, a single thread of my own brown hair. As I wove, I whispered old words over them, san fold songs – songs of snow and ice, of clouds and gulls and seafoam. I made white through my own will.

Now I’m sewing a wedding gown for a princess. She will look like a rose flowering in the snow. The prince will turn and look at her, and his face will light up, as it lit up when he used to look at me.

I smile as I stitch. I embroider this smooth, white cloth with snowdrops and lilies, with white roses and lily-of-the valley. When it’s finished, there’s only one flaw – that single thread of my hair, dancing across the train. I leave it there, just to remind him of me.

This is for the Writing Workshop Challenge at GoDogGo Cafe, facilitated by Tanya Cliff. I posted version I of this a week (ish) ago. We’ve been asked to reduce our word count by at least 10%. That meant I needed to lose 22 words. I’ve cut it down by 23. It’s hard, because I think this piece depends on the piling up of images – and I’m not a very good editor. However, I’m learning.

Measure twice, cut once.

Even if I was blindfolded, I could tell what fabric I’m cutting from the sound it makes. This one is heavy, expensive, made to drape like water or snow across a girl’s hips. I know, because I wove it.

I wove it over the winter, a special commission. Pure white, reflecting back the colours of the world. I didn’t use white thread, though – I used the soft grey wool from a lamb’s throat, feathers from a jay, words torn tenderly from the love letters he sent me, whisps of grass, dried violets, a single thread of my own brown hair. I wove them carefully, whispering the old words over them, singing the old songs – songs of snow and ice, of white clouds, of gulls, of sea-foam. I made them white through my own will.

And now, I’m cutting and stitching, to make a wedding gown for a princess. She will look like a rose flowering in the snow. The prince will turn and look at her, and his face will light up, the way it used to light up when he saw me.

I smile as I stitch, a mistress at work. I embroider the smooth white cloth with snowdrops and lilies, with white roses and lily of the valley. When it’s finished, there’s only one flaw – that single thread of my hair, dancing on the surface of the train. I leave it there, just to remind him of me.

Over at Go Dog Go, Tanya Cliffis hosting a series of writing workshops. She’s given us a theme – Measure Twice, Cut Once – and asks us to put up a first draft this week, to be worked on over the next few weeks.

This is my first draft. I think my pronouns are probably a bit baggy, and I’m not sure how easy it is to work out who is who. But it’s a first draft, so I’m not being too fussy.

The heads of Cerberus

One head laughs, one growls, one bites –
past, present, future –
all those mystic, magic threesomes,

passing an eye amongst themselves

unspooling fate

one head grants wishes, one entangles,
one undoes – the third’s the charm

and we are slamming through the myths now
and the old magic

and one head snarls, one snaps,
one whimpers

and on the other side of this
is somewhere grey and dull
and all the dead whispering
their secrets to each other,
none of them listening,
only muttering, a tide of sound,
like waves rolling on a shingle beach
where there are no birds
nothing but pebbles
water rounded
stretching out

and on the other side of this
is the darkness of forgetting
words slipping from your grasp
the strange mystery of zips
the art of buttoning and unbuttoning
the murmur of a knife blade

and one head sighs, one shakes, one weeps

 

I’m vaguely keeping up with these prompts. Pick them up at the GoDogGo Cafe, and say thank you to Christine for putting them up.

10-5-2019