Scarlet

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It had been six days, seven hours twenty one minutes since she arrived. The incubation period should be over for that most victorian of diseases. It was almost a shame not to have an excuse to tighten her steel boned corset, take out her black lace parasol and lounge upon the balcony in extremis. The heat of a fractious summer evening billowed lazily through luxuriant velour drapes. There had been something gracious in the way that she had bitten her tongue, hadn’t there? Something virtuous in keeping things cordial, just a single drop of blood in her glass. If only she hadn’t mentioned the gala, perhaps her temper, and the wallpaper could have survived undisturbed. Everything still retained the heavy scent of aniseed, permeating through each fibre. What a waste of good wormwood. What a wasted night. Pushing the curtains aside, and eager to drink in the last vestiges of sunset air, she slipped outside. From here the streets looked like an intricate painting; oily veins of concrete, meandering their clogged ways to the ticking centre. She watched the technicolour smudges with legs that plied their great social evil on the streets. Too out of focus, as they were, to cause her a reaction. How many unspoken conflicts had passed these last few days, and how many, in passion, had been shattered then remade into something more delicate?
She leant against the cool metal railing and strained to hear the muffled album leaf that tumbled from inside. It wasn’t the first time that drinks were spilt in anger, but it somehow felt different. More finite. The balance had shifted. Maybe the fever was finally seeping in, two hours too late. She felt for the beaded choker around her neck and carefully unclasped it. Strands of her blond hair cruelly trapped within its mechanism. The vascular gods were demanding a sacrifice, and only obsidian would do. Inhaling slowly and rubbing the beads between her sweating fingers she faltered in her mesmerised state. Something twitched in the corner of her desolate fixation. She shivered to shake off her doubt and just as she resolved to destroy this memento, to make the offering, she felt a gentle breath on her nape and two slender, familiar arms slipped around her waist.

 

(c) Accidental Tentacles 2016

The third dimension

I’ve been trying to extend my dabbling novice creative skills into something more substantial. It has taken me a great deal of time (many years in fact) to realise that artistically speaking, I am almost always working in only two dimensions. I can paint a picture, describe a scene, show a snapshot, play a scale, but when it comes to telling a story all I seem to do is string together snippets that don’t necessarily seem to fit. I’ll provide a rich scene and then tack a twist on the end, and tell myself that’s basically a story. In short, I have hitherto lacked the foresight to bring the third dimension of time into my efforts. I believe that this, at least in part, stems from my misplaced core belief that art comes from somewhere guttural and insentient, that does not need to obey the normal laws of planning and contextual consideration. As I mentioned before I am challenging that belief and trying to push past the ideal of creative purity and dirtying my creations with consideration and positive self-criticism. A really tough lesson for me is planning. I try to make an animation…I realise immediately that I lack the equipment and skill to make what is in my head. The simplest plans are laid in ruins by the blight of poor lighting. I can’t say I’m exactly proud of the silent movie snippet above, but I’m not disappointed either. It has taught me a little about timing, lighting, and angles. But on this occaission, they don’t really work for me, because there is no story. And stories are what make this whole damned life worth living.