Saturday, July 9, 2016

Something I've been working on

I've been working on a story that is inspired by Anne Boleyn and the book Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman.  This is some of the beginning of what I have so far.   It's just a rough draft so it won't be very perfect.  I've had a rather a block about it lately because I don't know what direction I want it to go.  I'm going to spend time this summer working on a different direction and see how it goes.  I'll keep you updated.

I had a lot of typos I had to fix just today.  I'm rusty with the process of editing.

 There are events that happen in every woman's life that are entirely due to the people Providence Forces them to meet.  The first and most prominent verb any woman ever learns is "Force".  It is learned before the new life even has the ability to speak.  Their mother Forces them out of their womb, their first breath of air is caught, and their world is forever changed.  Their world, my world, my gaze, encompasses Force, both as steady and as dependable as the orbit of the Earth I watch day in and day out from my own little perch in Heaven.  Orbiting, the lunar cycle, the push and pull of the tide, the magnetism that saturates inside and outside our brief Earthly forms live for this one word called "Force". 

I only ever wanted simple things for my life. I grew up a commoner with a considerably comfortable lifestyle, but that wasn't enough for my father. I do not think that ambition is a sin, however, using your child or children as a chess piece is. I was guilty of it myself, and having to look at my Elizabeth on Earth while I was in my Heaven made it impossible for a long time for me to forgive myself of it.

I was raised to believe that a woman's existence was nothing more than a never-ending three way tango with Providence and Force.  Every Earth day I am in my castle on a cloud reflecting on days past while still witnessing and trying to sort at white-heat the moments, the events, and for the better part of a century, the pursuits of the only woman who's tango has ever meant anything to me.  The woman I more often than not did not acknowledge enough during the brief time I was tethered to the Earth myself. Force and my own hot temper drove me to the sentencing that caused yet another innocent child's mother to be ripped from their grasp at such a young age that it is unlikely she will ever had any memories of me.  That is what breaks my heart the most, even now when I have no heart to break.  My heart lies underneath some unmarked grave that is easily passed by and for so long with no afterthought.  Years went by and before I knew it my heart became a tourist attraction, and in all likelihood that is how it will remain.  Time moves so quickly here I had only caught a glimpse of it in my peripheral vision on one rather gray yet soulful Earth day. That woman I used to follow like a shadow finally joined me and my castle casually mentioned that I seemed to be developing a fan club.

"Momma", Elizabeth called from the far corner of the Seeing room, "it looks like a film is going to be made about you!" 

The Seeing room is the room where you can look through any part of an Earth day you wish outside the window of the castle.  We all have and are allotted our own versions of Heaven is one's soul is lucky enough to be handed to Jesus Christ and allowed to walk through the pearly Gates.  As I knelt at the scaffold, murmured my prayers and awaited the subtle sword of my well-versed and expensive executioner, I built mine in my mind.  It is a castle that is an exact replica of Hampton Court, built with platinum brick and accented with Aurora Borealis crystals. I have tenants comprised of all of the people who had ever served me on Earth before and after the Tyrant took hold. We all maintain the castle ourselves and there is no hierarchy in my Heaven.  I created a Seeing room so that I could look after what and who was important to me in my human days and their kin.  I also needed a quiet and soothing place where I could quench my thirst for learning the new ways of the world I was Forced to leave behind. I modify it according to the times: right now one window has the latest model of a telescope so that all may watch specific events, which is where my daughter was perched.

Is that so, pet?” I mused as I helped a maid of mine that I had watched die of the sweating sickness set up afternoon tea.

My sister Mary entered to help our servant with the jasmine tea and our favorite teatime nibbles. Mary always makes my favorite pumpkin pasties as well as Elizabeth's favorite: Rigo Jancsi's chocolate slices. At the time of her death, Elizabeth had rotted her teeth virtually out of her head, but in Heaven, she was permanently a young woman, her skin radiant and clear as the milk sitting in a small china pitcher with our tea set. Seeing how insecure she was while I was up in my Castle with no way to quell her constant need to compete with other women, especially later her cousin Mary Stuart, always sent a sharp pang in my heart. No pang was sharper, however, then watching her stick to her decision to never wed and secretly long for that Dudley fellow until the day she died. Honestly whether or not she was truly a “virgin queen” is not something I will ever discuss publicly one way or the other, because I died for my right for a woman to be ahead of her time, and after my death, that includes when she decides to give up her maidenhead. I have seen too much since the head that was once atop my neck was struck away in one fell swoop to do what the women of the 21st century seem to have deemed “slut shaming”. Force should not play a role in a woman's sex life, and it is ridiculous that even today white men still seem to assume they have a right to put their laws on a woman's bodies and to brainwash those same women and their sons and other people's sons in to thinking that life begins at conception when in my day life did not begin until the first time you felt the baby move, or “quicken”, as we called it. A baby that never moved inside the womb, even if they were born alive and healthy, was said to have been conceived without a soul.

“Who is behind this particular film, Bess?” I asked her.

Well it seems that historical fiction is frightfully chic lately, so it is based off of a book from that genre, The Other Boleyn Girl. I have not read it but I know it is loosely based off of the events that happened when Aunt Mary got to Grandpa Tudor first. This very pretty girl Natalie Portman is to play you, even though she is not as French in her ways nor as busty.”

I snorted a laugh at that and grinned at Mary. Such nonsense was long ago water under the bridge between us, and after I had pointed out what “Grandpa Tudor” had looked like at the time of his death, it made it all the more easier to laugh about it, and more importantly, at him.

“Yes, it is still amazing what one can come up with after the invention of electricity and now the enormous budgets for cinematography and costume design,” said Elizabeth. Suddenly she squealed “She is here!”

I already knew who was coming up the walk. Elizabeth only got this excited when Jeanne was coming for tea. Jeanne was known on Earth primarily by her nickname, “Joan of Arc”, but in this realm she is known just as herself. She isn't just a favorite around here because of the fact that she's French, but because of the fact that we both have so much in common and she fell in love with myself and my daughter the minute she had laid eyes on us. She knew what is was like to be a female visionary that was stamped down like a bug. Her demise was obviously much more painful than mine, but her mark cannot compare to the one that I was so desperate to leave in my day. She is a Saint, while I have a tile somewhere you can easily walk right over. The day I crossed over she had been one of the first to welcome me and acclimate me to my new surroundings. She had walked swiftly up to me after I had crossed the gates and wrapped me in a soft, downy blanket, the way the servants to those so-called ambulances do when someone has gone into “shock”, as they call it.

Which was the perfect word to describe the moment. It was just cold shock. I did not feel like a person, I could not feel the weight of flesh and bone as I moved anymore: I felt like the shock of a cold, unmuddied lake in the middle of a field near our house that Mary and I used to swim in when we were children.  My eyes were glazed, the color was just starting to return to my skin, and I had a choker made of a red silk ribbon around my neck. I raised my fingers to it and struggled to take it off, but it would not budge. I could not make out where I was because my eyes were still blurred, as if they were still contained with the tears that filled them while I was on my knees before nearly the entire court and citizens of my country waiting for the stroke of the blade that I was allegedly not supposed to feel.  She had greeted me with a blanket and said for me to lean on her, that she wasn't going anywhere. She could tell I could not even see straight, let alone see the forest for the trees.

"I have been watching you, dear, very closely, and I know you will need a friend, not just to get yourself adjusted, but you will need a friend, period.  Someone you can count on."  

She had her arm over my shoulder and was walking me through the street as she talked.  My vision was coming back to me, and I realized that I was in London again.  A New London.  It was spotlessly clean and smelled of lilacs.  I can't even imagine the England I left behind now because all I can do when I watch the Real London is smell lilacs.  When I had left there were no sewers, they had not been invented yet.  The smell of it all along with the primitive forms of hygiene could make the city downright impossible for me to bear whenever the weather was hot.  I look at how the Real London has changed, even though it was completely the same it has become something entirely different at the same time.  I look at it constantly and realized a long time ago that I am forever Forced to see it through new eyes when I least expect it.  I would have thought that being up here as one age bleeds into the next that hindsight would be the source of such shock, but it is always right in front of me. 

 Perhaps that is my downfall. Always being surprised at seeing everything catch up to me all at once instead of taking the time to process the details, the nuances. Spitting words out before thinking about the ramifications first is how I lost my head to begin with, after all.

Walking along with Joan all I could think about was the lilacs. It was not a sickly sweet odor that you could get from pollen, it was like breathing in a wine from one of the most exclusive vintages you could possibly get your hands on.  At first it reminded me of the wines that Henry would sometimes share with me after I finally succumbed to his advances.  He would spend a small fortune for the wines he would bring on the picnics we took on the times I went hunting with him.  This scent, however, had no trace of the refinement or snobbery that a king like Henry was always so desperate to cling to. It was heady and intoxicating at first. It was a fresh hit of opium without all of the unnerving side effects to the body. I didn't realize that Jeanne had been looking at me the whole time, her smile getting bigger as she saw that my eyes were finally focused on her.

“It gets you rather drunk at first, does it not?” she purred with her velvety French accent. I noticed that my posture was changing the farther we walked. My spine was much more straight and my stride much sharper. I looked at her and realized that I was seeing the flecks of gold that covered every inch of her skin. It wasn't glitter, it was like she had been rolling around in a bath filled with crumbled gold leaf and whatever had managed to stay on her skin had become embedded like shrapnel.

She noticed that I was staring at her and whispered “This is what happens when you burn.”

It knocked me out of my reverie and my hand when straight to my throat.

“That is what happens when you have an appointment with the executioners ax, Cherie.”

I swallowed and felt the fabric move under my fingers.

“Don't play with it Cherie, especially not at first,” Jeanne said in the same hushed tone. I suppose she was trying to draw as little attention to me as possible, due to the crowd that had formed around us. I peered around and from the looks on everyone's faces, they knew who I was.

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