Thievery: Via Dolorosa
This month I’m doing a mentoring special to celebrate all the talented and diverse writers I’ve been lucky enough to work with through WoMentoring. Today we have one of my favourite Scottish-folklore-inspired writer, Suzy Kelly.
Six hours into her 80th birthday, and six hours before she died, Sister Mary Frances experienced her first orgasm. She awoke in the half-light, confused and open-mouthed, and with a thundering heart. After a few moments, her breathing still laboured and her muscles still tensed. Even her breasts betrayed her as they ached in time with the pulsing of her pelvic floor.
On becoming more aware, she looked up to the small wooden figure judging her from the Cross above her bed. The carved Saviour, splayed open in his own agony, sent down waves of shame. For the Lord knew hers was not the sanctioned ecstasy of Bernini’s Saint Teresa. This was something more carnal; even though it had come to her unbidden and against her will.
This month I’m doing a mentoring special to celebrate all the talented and diverse writers I’ve been lucky enough to work with through WoMentoring. Today we have the talented and generally delightful Rebecca Smith.
First life lesson. When we were little we used to crush rhododendron flowers, add water and hey presto, rhody perfume. Roses worked better of course, but roses were precious. During the summer the gardens on the estate were open to the public so we would stand on a corner of the path and wait for the slow gait of old couples. They thought my brother and I were the sweetest things they had ever seen with our shorts, muddy white t-shirts and tiny perfume bottles. We sold them for a couple of pence, collecting the coins in an old jar. Mum laughed when we showed her our profits. But she said we couldn’t expand the business. The flowers weren’t ours. Our shop floor didn’t belong to us. And, frankly, we were coercing people to buy. Running a business is tricky.
This month I’m doing a mentoring special to celebrate all the talented and diverse writers I’ve been lucky enough to work with through WoMentoring. Today we have an astrology-inspired elegy from Rebecca Harrison.
Every night, we wrote down the names of the stars which had gone. So we could watch the skies, Nora brushed the star ash from our window – our parents still called it snow. Sunset was ‘curtain close’ and then we weren’t meant to look out. So after we’d gone to bed, we lay awake listening for sleep sounds. The old space books were under our beds, but when we held them up to the window their pages had stopped matching the skies.
This month I’m doing a mentoring special to celebrate all the talented and diverse writers I’ve been lucky enough to work with through WoMentoring. Today we have a gorgeous, gory fairytale from Holly Garrow.
There were still stitches on her chest, black thorns twisting over her heart. She ran a finger over the crude threads as she looked at the thin, snowy dress waiting for her and hoped that the stitches wouldn’t show beneath it.
Bring me her heart, her stepmother had said.
And so they had.
Whatever beat in her chest now was different. She could feel it, hear it, all the time; each thump and pulse, the constant thud.
She slipped into the dress and swept her hair over her shoulder, falling like an ink-spill down her chest.
Bring me her heart.
She wondered what her stepmother had done with it. Was it now entombed in a trinket box, drained and dried and dead? Had she tossed it straight into the fire and scattered the ashes in the snow? She couldn’t shake the image of her stepmother sitting at the table, red hands and bloodied chin, sinking her lovely white teeth into her heart.
The doctor opened the door with a single sharp knock. He held out a length of red chiffon and a cream lace mask. She took them without a word and turned to the cracked, rusted mirror in the corner. She tied the silk ribbons of the mask, adjusting it around her dark eyes and draped the veil over her head, turning the world crimson.
This month I’m doing a mentoring special to celebrate all the talented and diverse writers I’ve been lucky enough to work with through WoMentoring. Today we have Emma Zetterstrom.
Annie watched her glove rollercoaster over the dunes and cursed as it disappeared into the bruised sea. From thirty feet up the wind had snatched it, and she had no chance of catching it. She’d taken it off to make the final, fiddly repairs and already her fingers were white as bone. The office had reassured her the gale would not return to land before nightfall, but from the top of the telegraph pole Annie could see the sea heaping up and spindrift forming at the peaks of the crests. They were under pressure to restore the line before another weekend passed. Trying to spot the glove she noticed a man by the waters-edge, leaning into the wind. Another daft storm-chaser, she thought.
Her first day on the job had been at the height of a scorching summer and she’d gone home with the sticky spill of creosote on her fingers and a skitter in her heart. She called it reverse altitude sickness because with each step up the pain faded. Three winters on the islands and that feeling still sustained her.