VOL II ISSUE #2
The Woven Tale Press
(c) copyright 2013
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF: Sandra Tyler Author of Blue Glass, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and After Lydia, both published by Harcourt Brace; awarded BA from Amherst College and MFA in writing from Columbia University; professor of creative writing on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, including at Columbia University, (NY), Wesleyan University (CT), and Manhattanvill College, (NY); served as assistant editor at Ploughshares and The Paris Review literary magazines, and production freelancer for Glamour, Self, and Vogue magazines; freelance editor; Stony Brook University’s national annual fiction contest judge; a 2013 BlogHer.com Voices of the Year. http://www.awriterweavesatale.com
CONTRIBUTING EDITORS: Michael Dickel, Ph.D. A poet, fiction writer, essayist, photographer and digital artist, Dr. Dickel holds degrees in psychology, creative writing, and English literature. He has taught college, university writing and literature courses for nearly 25 years; served as the director of the Student Writing Center at the University of Minnesota and the Macalester Academic Excellence Center at Macalester College (St. Paul, MN). He co-edited Voices Israel Volume 36 (2010). His work has appeared in literary journals, anthologies, art books, and online for over 20 years, including in:THIS Literary Magazine, Eclectic Flash, Cartier Review, Pirene’s Fountain, Sketchbook, Emerging Visions Visionary Art eZine, and Poetry Midwest. His latest book of poems is Midwest / Mid-East: March 2012 Poetry Tour. http://michaeldickel.info Kelly Garriott Waite Her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Christian Science Monitor, Thunderbird Stories Project, Volume One, Valley Living, The Center for a New American Dream and in the on-line magazine, Tales From a Small Planet. Her fiction has been published in The Rose and Thorn Journal (Memory, Misplaced), in Front Row Lit (The Fullness of the Moon) and in Idea Gems Magazine (No Map and No Directions). Her works in progress have been included in the Third Sunday Blog Carnival: The Contours of a Man’s Heart and Wheezy Hart. She is the author of Downriver and The Loneliness Stories, both available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. http://writinginthemarginsburstingattheseams.blogspot.com
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Dyane Forde Author of forthcoming Rise of the Papilion Trilogy: The Purple Morrow (Book 1) http://droppedpebbles.wordpress.com Shanan Hailsip Business and fiction writer. http://www.theprocrastiwriter.com Adrienne Kerman Freelance writer and editor, her essays have appeared in multiple magazines, as well as in The Boston Globe and Washington Post. She has authored a weekly parenting column, MomsTalk, for the Boston area AOL/Patch sites. http://mintsinmymotherspurse.blogspot.com Lisa A. Kramer, Ph.D Freelance writer, editor, theatre director, and arts educator. She has published non-fiction articles in theater journals, as well articles aimed at young people for Listen Magazine. Her fiction is included in Theme-Thology: Invasion published by HDWPBooks. com. She is the director of a writers’ workshop From Stage to Page: Using Creative Dramatics to Inspire Writing. http://www.lisaakramer.com LeoNard Thompson Has published opinion editorials, weekly columns and essays, and interviewed performers, practitioners, writers, politicians and personalities. http://leeyonard.com Lynn Wohlers Awarded BFA from School of Visual Arts, NY, NY; writer for Daily Post’s Photography 101 series. lynn-wohlers.artistwebsites.com, Bluebrightly. WordPress.com
Our staff is an eclectic mix of writers and editors with keen eyes for the striking. So beware â€“ they may be culling your own site for those gems deserving to be unearthed and spotlit in The Woven Tale Press.
Editorâ€™s Note: The Woven Tale Press is a monthly culling of the creative web, exhibiting the artful and innovative. So enjoy here an eclectic mix of the literary, visual arts, photography, humorous, and offbeat. This month: The handwoven, a facade, a fish, a muse, and more
All submissions are credited by their interactive URLs; click on an URL to learn more about a contributor.
To submit go to: thewoventalepress.net
Follow the Dream Handwoven from wallpaper and scraps from previous woven pieces 1
Summer Has Passed Handwoven using fabric, wallpaper and fruit netting
Conversations With a Muse
It’s midnight, pitch-black and humid inside my bedroom. I have finally found the solace of deep, dreamless sleep, when I’m pulled into consciousness by a faint whispering. I stir. “What are you doing up, baby,” I say, assuming it’s one of my girls. “Bad dream?” With my eyes still closed, I reach out my hand to pat a little blonde head. There’s no one there, so I force my eyelids open. It’s dark, but I can see a tall, thin figure perched on the end of my bed. He’s wearing…a top hat? ￼ “It’s me,” the figure says. “But you can call me baby, sweetie.” “Ahhh. Chris… I might have known. Hold on.” Careful not to wake my husband, I open my nightstand drawer and pull out a small notebook and a book light. “Not Chris, Christopher,” he says, enunciating all the consonants. “Remember?” “Right. Sorry. Christopher. Whadya got?” “Saint Christopher, actually,” he says casually. “Saint?” I laugh. “Okay…you…your kind are beautiful creatures. And I guess it’s possible someone might mistake you for an angel, in the dark, having had something serious poured in her drink. But I’d hardly call you a saint. Anyway, do you even know who Saint Christopher is?” “Of course dear,” he says, buffing his nails against his chest. “It’s me.” “You know I think if you did a little research you’d find the irony…You know what, forget it. I’m not going to argue this at…” I glance at my digital clock on the nightstand. “12:02 am. You can pretend you’re a saint if you want. But I am not calling you Saint Christopher.” Finally my eyes adjust to the dim light and I see that Chris—er, Christopher is dressed in turn-of-the-century equestrian clothes: tight, forest-green pants, a derby, leather riding boots that come to just above the knee. I raise an eyebrow. He smirks at me. “You love it, right?” he says, lifting his hat from his head and grinning. 3
I squint and shake my head. “I don’t—“ “Mmm hmm,” he interrupts, pursing his lips. “Don’t think I don’t know about your love of horses. Not to mention your secret obsession for ridiculously tight boots. It’s just too bad it doesn’t work on them.” “What? What doesn’t work?” “Whispering,” he says, rolling his eyes. I shake my head at him in confusion. He sighs and clicks his tongue impatiently. “You can’t muse a horse.” He slides off the footboard and leans against it. I tilt my head and survey him. Somehow, even ridiculous in 18th century equestrian gear, Chris manages to look fashionable. “It works on dogs sometimes,” he says. “Cats yield varied and erratic results. But horses are like stubborn old men. They always think they know better.” ”You tried to…give a horse an idea?” I can’t stop the corner of my mouth from turning up into a half smile. I snicker. “Listen, Miss Judgmental in ripped yoga pants and….my good Hell, is that your husband’s old t-shirt?” I glance down at my pajama selection and shrug. He cringes and goes on. “The point is, don’t judge me. I had a vision: A majestic black horse cantering in the wind at night. A poem, or a story beginning, whatever…figuring that out is your forte. Anyway it sounded simply fabulous. So I wanted to try it out before I whispered it.” “That does sound lovely,” I say, scrawling notes across an empty line in my notebook. “Wait,” he says, moving next to the bed and pushing my notebook down. “Close your eyes.” He kneels in front of me in the dim light and for a small moment we look at one another. I see sparks of color erupting inside the sapphire blue rings of his eyes. Tiny torrents of light, gold, pink, and yellow and I wonder if this is what ideas look like. I wonder if he can feel them. I wonder what it means to be a Muse, and if that strange sadness I sense in him has anything to do with his career choice. Or if it was a choice at all… 4
“I said, close your eyes.” “Sorry.” I lower my eyelids and I’m met with a rush of cool night air. The pounding of hooves on earth drowns out the beating of my own heart. I’m riding without a saddle, barefoot and clutching fistfuls of the creature’s jet-black mane, strands of which are whipping against my forearms. The horse slows to a canter and I slide off, stand beside him and run my hands along his muscular neck. His silken hair shines almost blue in the moonlight. I’m drawn to the creature, can’t stop touching him. I’m beckoned by the diamonds sparkling in the velvet, black sky and the way the grass casts snake-like shadows onto my bare feet. I want to stay. I want to live here, fall into this world and never look back. But reality lies in waiting. I know it will call for me once it realizes I am gone. And eventually, I will call for it too. I open my eyes. “Wow…that was—“ “Acceptable,” he sighs. “Adequate. But it could have been brilliant. Sadly this getup was wasted on the likes of His Majesty in the manure pile out in the back field. Some creatures simply weren’t made to appreciate artistic inspiration.” “I know why she goes riding,” I say quietly, picking up my notebook and pen. “Oh? There’s a she?” Chris smiles knowingly and backs away from my bedside, leans against my desk. “Yes, a young girl. She sneaks out of her house at night and rides because it’s the only way she can’t hear her heart pounding. She’s haunted by…something. I don’t know yet.” “I’ll work on it for you,” he says. “Thanks,” I say, and smile. He smiles back. We have a mutual, unspoken understanding. The magic of being mused doesn’t stop at one suggestion. It’s the merging of enchanting ideas with familiar emotion, the melding of imagination and truth. I close the notebook and lay it on the nightstand. “What are you doing?” Chris says. “We aren’t done.” “Listen, Chris. Christopher. I really appreciate all of this effort, but it’s after midnight. My 5
kids are going to get me up early. And anyway I think I got the gist of what—” “What…the horse in the field? That wasn’t it. What do you take me for, a dolt?” “I don’t—“ “Get comfortable sweetie, I have the story idea of a lifetime for you.” He sinks to the floor and leans comfortably against the pillows I’ve tossed from my bed. “I’m already writing the story idea of a lifetime, rememb—“ “It starts like this…He’s a man with a gypsy soul who trains horses, and he’s a ghost. But not in the usual way…
Backyard Fence 6
Zero and Mona See Red...Part 1
Shade of Blue
Much Ado About Loving
5â€? x 7â€? black ink print In 2011, my wife and I visited the Monterey Bay Aquarium. We were excited to see the recently caught juvenile Great White Shark. We pushed through the human lemmings and planted ourselves in front of the thick tank glass. Before long, the Great White cruised past us. The shark was beautiful, streamlined like a torpedo, teeth sharp as a saw blade. We expected to see the shark swimming in an empty tank. Instead, the tank was teeming with tuna, manta rays and pilot fish. Most of the fish kept their distance but a few 11
dared to pass a few feet in front of the Great White’s mouth. The Great White ignored them. “Aren’t those other fish scared?” I asked my wife. “They like it,” the aging docent in the corner said. He had soft white hair, a white suit and a hand-scrawled name tag that read “Clifford.” “What do you mean,” I asked. “We used to have a tiger shark in there. After it died, the other fish started fighting, acting erratically, bumping into walls. They didn’t know who was in charge so they didn’t know how to behave. As soon as we introduced the Great White, they all calmed down. They knew their pecking order again. Animals need to have an alpha dog around. People are the same way. We need someone with bigger balls than us. Otherwise we start acting like assholes.” A couple standing nearby with a young child gave the docent a dirty look and walked away. They didn’t appreciate his salty tongue. My wife and I, on the other hand, loved it. “Does the shark have a name?” I asked. “I call him Morty because he doesn’t chew his food. He swallows it whole like my brother Morty.” My wife and I laughed. “He also shits like Morty – all over the place and when you least expect it.” The Great White propelled itself forward in a side-to-side motion. Its eyes were black, its snout covered with scars, a chunk gone from the back of its dorsal fin. “How long do Great Whites live?” I asked. “In the wild they can live up to 90 years old. In captivity, they’re screwed. If we don’t get this bastard back in the ocean he’ll be hanging on someone’s living room wall by Christmas.” “What do you feed him?” “Something alive. Great Whites don’t like dead fish. They need the thrill of the kill, lots of thrashing and blood and guts all over the place. The aquarium feeds them after
hours. They don’t want little kids crapping their pants from fright.” “Like your brother Morty.” “Yeah, like Morty.” The docent was on a roll, his patter a kind of spontaneous geezer rap interspersed with quirky bits of trivia. “In the past ten years, there have been 66 great white shark attacks on humans. Fourteen fatal. You know how many sharks we killed in that same period? More than 300 million.” “I didn’t know there were that many sharks in the ocean,” I said. “Not anymore. We kill them because we’re scared of them. In a fair fight they’d tear us apart. I keep waiting for somebody to fall in the tank and give us a real show. Broadcast the whole thing live on the internet shark cam. That’d be great for business, don’t you think?” “The Romans and the lions,” I said. “You ever hear the joke, ‘What do you do if you’re attacked by a great white?’ ” “What?” “You hit him in the snout. If that doesn’t work, try hitting him with your stump.” Suddenly, two security guards pushed through the crowd toward the docent. “Clifford,” one of the guards said. “How many times have we told you, you are not allowed in the aquarium.” They each grabbed one of the docent’s arms and escorted him away. No one was watching the Great White Shark anymore. We were all watching a more endangered creature. A great white docent whom I suddenly realized I would never see again.
Woodcuts are by their very nature brusque, harsh and bold. What makes a woodcut portrait come to life are age lines, wrinkles and weathered faces. A well-carved mature actor like Lee Marvin will translate much better than a young Audrey Hepburn (circa “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”).
Babies & Woodcuts
Recently, I was commissioned to carve a woodcut of a friend’s 15-month old son. This was my first carving of a baby. The boy is beautiful, vibrant and alive like most infants. I ventured forth eager to capture the young boy’s spirit. One month later, the boy’s father was disappointed with the result. “He looks too scary,” my friend said. “I just want to capture the feeling of a baby waking from a nap. He’s looks kinda sinister.” Obviously, I was disappointed and confused. I dove into a second carving, eliminating most of the wrinkles and crags in the baby’s face. I called upon my wife to soften the baby’s eyes. She patterned them after a young deer. This did the trick. The client was happy and the final print morphed into that of a sweet baby boy.
5” x 7” black ink print
The Whole of the Moon
“If the moon smiled, she would resemble you. You leave the same impression of something beautiful, but annihilating.” ~ Sylvia Plath As it turns out, she did have lovers other than me. Mhmm, but what is that to you? Well, she’s blaming me for everything, for our demise. Again, what is that to you? Also, she’s making people choose between us… As those types are apt to do anyway. May I ask, what is that to you? Oh! And she’s inventing in her head a “me” that I never was! As is her choice. But honestly, what is that to you? But it’s a lie! In part, yes. But I’ve still no idea, what is that to You? I don’t know. I… I don’t know. Then let go. She has made it clear she no longer wishes you to be written into her book, but that hardly means that your story is over. Dear, it’s only now just begun. In the past you’ve only seen the crescent, as was your choice. But I have always seen the whole of the moon. So write! Write your story with abandon! With glee! With love, and with confidence! Write it with My pen, and with your voice. 15
I assure you, I’ve seen the end of your tale, and I AM pleased. I am proud of you. The you that you are, and the you that you will become. The you that you already ARE becoming. I take Joy in you, and I Love you. But what of her? She has made herself no longer your concern. Forgive her. She broke her promise. As did you. Forgive her. But it hurts! Exactly. Forgive her. I will shelter and Love her as I do you, and as I do your three, and as I do your tribe. The very tribe that surrounds and comforts you. The tribe that beckons you onto your Tomorrow. Listen to them. OK. I will. So, it’s truly over then? It is.
Please, tell me… will she be OK? Her story is now hers and Mine alone. And as such Dear, what is that to you? ••• “Forgive the inexcusable because God has forgiven the inexcusable in you.” \~ C.S. Lewis
Lose This Skin Admittedly, Eustace was a prig.
But of all of the Narnia characters, he is my favorite. And not simply because he’s allowed me the opportunity to finally use the word “prig” in a post either. No, of all the characters, Eustace is my favorite because he was transformed. And unlike Edmund, he did so without even the promise of a greater good to come in the process. There was no talk of a future crown or a greater glory for Eustace, but he saw the need, and transformed anyway. He did so shortly after his old ways had turned him rather abruptly into a dragon. Assuming you haven’t read the tale (and if not, you really should), Eustace found some dragon’s loot, and in stealing a piece, he in turn became a fire breather himself when he placed it upon his wrist. His new dragon arm was much thicker than the previous boyish version, and as a result the bewitched gold could not be removed. He was stuck. Forevermore to be cursed – and alone – with his new dragon persona. As so often happens in the Narnia tales, Aslan came along and – after a bit of earnest and deserved begging from Eustace – saved him by stripping all the dragon flesh from the boy. But only after first commanding the boy to do so himself several times instead (a task that the boy tries and ultimately fails at, in each and every instance). Of all seven of the books in the Narnian Chronicles, this is the singular scene that spoke to me the most. So much so in fact, that several years ago I found myself begin17
ning to pray that I too might have the good pleasure of having my scales removed. You see, I knew that who I was, wasn’t who I was. And I knew that there was something greater within – something more true, more inline with the creation that He envisioned when first He crafted me. Of course, much like the book, I imagined that there would be a moment of pain, a tear of the flesh causing a tear to the eye, and then I would be provided with great big (((Jesus hugs))) before bounding merrily upon my new and improved way. None of that happened though. What did happen was this. First I buried my father. And then my brother’s marriage. And then I heard that I would have to do the same with my marriage as well. And then the children, The Little Things, who were in our protection had to be removed from my care as a result. And then I lost daily contact with my own children, as they stayed with their mother while I moved out. And then (and this is no small matter to people who care) my cat died. And then, in early December, I found myself restructured rather abruptly (the 3rd, at 11:02 AM, to be precise) into the world of unemployment. And finally, that resulted in me losing my car, my family health insurance coverage and my financial security. Never mind any falsetto self-worth I had foolishly built up along the way based upon these superficial achievements. And that is where I am now. And it dawns on me… All the scales have been removed. All the dragon flesh has been stripped from me. I am raw, in tears, naked and pink. I received what I prayed for, I just never realized the immensity for what it was that I wished. I am sore, and scared, and at times feeling (though I know it’s not true) terribly alone. And although there have oft been times when I simply felt the urge to go to Sleep, I am filled with the promise of a wholly new being emerging. One who will be loved by those who love without condition or expectation. Finally, and for the first time in 44 years, a “me” that is one of my own making instead of others begs to come forth. A “me” that will hopefully come closer to fulfilling the beauty of the creation that He envisioned when first He crafted me. Who Am I? I’ve no idea. But just between you, me and all these discarded, hard shorn and useless scales, I simply can not wait to finally find out.
Just a Tale
A tale begun in other days, When summer suns were glowing – A simple chime, that served to time The rhythm of our rowing – Whose echoes live in memory yet, Though envious years would say ‘forget’. (Through the Looking Glass-Lewis Carroll)
Word as a Giant 19
Images are 100% digital and mixtures of digital drawing in combination with the processing/editing features typical to the Photoshop programs.
The Modern Sisif
The Fish For the past few weeks he had spotted a large fish in its hole at the side of a rock. In the beginning he thought that the fish just went into the hole to hide from him, but after a few days he realized that the hole was the fishâ€™s home. A few times the hole seemed empty, so he guessed the fish had gone hunting unless it was hidden deep inside. Firstly, he thought how great it would be to catch it. And then he imagined the expression on her face if he were to present her with the fish. Once when he was a little boy, he saw a fisherman bringing back a huge grey, ugly fish, so large and heavy that the fish had to be loaded onto a little trolley to be pulled all the way up to the fishermanâ€™s house. The kids placed a large red carnation at the side of its head and a cloth over it, so that the fish looked like an old dancer reposing after her act. Everyone had stopped and cheered, and the fisherman became a kind of a hero for managing to catch such a monster of a thing. The boy remembered the fishermanâ€™s wife, red and shiny-cheeked, with her large bosom bouncing up and down 23
as she fussed about how was she ever going to cook such a monstrosity, when all the while she was flushing with pride at her husband’s achievement. The hole was about four to five meters down, in an area full of small rocky formations, grey and sharp. If you floated above the hole, you would soon be carried away and would have to relocate the hole all over again. He had chosen a few marks near the hole as reference points, a large cement brick and an old piece of rope. From above, it was easier to locate the hole, as the tip of the fishe’s large rock protruded above the surface and had an old rusty metal chain attached to it. But the boy was more concerned about the practicalities of how he should present her with the fish. They met every Wednesday evening at five in the village square. He was not sure if it was appropriate to bring the fish with him to the meeting, however convenient; he would not be nicely dressed, clean and smelling well. Also how should he carry the fish itself? Surely not in a plastic bag. In a basket maybe, or better in a netbag. That would be best. But would that sadden his mother, his giving such a catch to someone else other than his own family? He decided to take with him to the rocks some extra things, his clean clothes, a towel and a flask of water. This way he could rinse off after catching the fish, change clothes and then hide the old clothes, flask, trident, snorkel and the mask in the rocks to collect the next day. When he reached the spot with the rusty chain, he undressed quickly and put on his mask and snorkel. It was two o’clock and the sun would have been unbearable had it not been for some silent misty clouds shading the rocks. He left the trident on the rock with the chain. Entering the water was a relief from the hot rocks and all the dilemmas they harvested. When he dove down, the hole seemed empty. He surfaced for some air and dove again for a better look. Spotting a tree branch on the sea floor, he used it to poke inside the hole and was surprised to find that the hole was not deep at all – that the fish would not be able to hide in there entirely. He had not anticipated this, having now to wait for the fish to come back. But would it come back before four o’clock? He would not be able to leave any later than a quarter past four from the rocks or he would be late. As he hovered above the area with the sharp rocks, he began drifting away from the hole towards the deep sea. He swam back to the rock with the chain, to leave there his mask, snorkel and and trident. He swam away towards the open sea, dove deep and came up fast, spitting out water. He dove again, looking upwards at the surface– a mir24
ror, a shiny solid thing, and he rushed up to shatter it. When he looked around he saw that he was now well away from the rocks. Once back at the rocks, he put on his mask and snorkel again and this time he took his trident with him. The fish was still not there, the hole dark and grey and menacing. A crab was moving around the hole entrance as if to check it out, but reluctant to enter. The boy shivered with a cold wave of lost anticipation. He contemplated getting out for a while and waiting in the sun. But a new thought crossed his mind: Would it not be more appropriate to collect shells from the sea floor for her? He knew how much she liked shells, as she often collected them at the beach herself. He dropped the trident a meter or so away from the fish hole and began searching for shells. Around five to six meters down, he saw a beautiful large nautilus, its marks yet unaffected by salt deposits. It was bright and shiny, and for a moment he wondered whether the creature was still within it. The shell was heavy and beautiful and he swam back with it to the rock with the chain. He swam off again without checking for the fish, but was unable to find any more big shells. He found a cluster of spiky ones, more interesting for their shapes than their color, collected there as if having been eaten by an octopus. But the octopus had abandoned its nest or was out hunting. For a moment he thought he should wait for the octopus to return and that this could be an even more impressive catch. He came to his senses and remembered the fish. He picked up a handful of shells too large to swim with, and put them in the back of his swimming pants. Their sharp edges cut into his soaked skin as he returned to the rock. The fish was actually there â€“ appearing nervous as it kept popping its head in and out of the hole. The boy needed quickly to retrieve the trident laying beside the hole without scaring the fish away. He hesitated, holding the trident now poised above the hole, feeling the shells cutting into his flesh. They were definitely what she would have liked best. But he was not sure any more what he would like to give her best. Gifting her both the fish and the shells might be inappropriate, each diminishing the otherâ€™s importance. And he was meant to kill the fish as that was what he had set out to do. Not killing it would be unfair to himself and to the fish, like canceling a pre-arranged agreement. These thoughts passed quickly through his mind as he hovered above the hole. Then he took a deep breath, dove, and thrust the trident towards the hole. The trident hit the rock at the side of the hole, breaking part of the rock and lifting a cloud of grey stone and sand. He glimpsed the fish leaving the hole and in his panic delayed coming up for air. Spitting the snorkel away from his mouth, he dove quickly again. The hole now was empty. 25
Then he saw the fish hiding behind a low rock. He approached the fish from behind and with a controlled exhaling breath, took his aim. The trident left his hand and silently. It struck the fish in its spine. The fish moved its tail spasmodically but did not flap around. The boy retrieved the trident along with the fish, and returned to the rock with the chain. He got out of the water by the rock with the chain. Without his mask on when its size had been enhanced by the glass, the fish was smaller than he had imagined. He sat by the rock, numb with the cold. His fingertips were bleeding from handling the sharp shells. The shells in his pants had cut quite deep into his flesh, and he now threw them back into the water. The fish, heavy and grey, lay there, its eyes looking startled. The My daughter Aretousaâ€™s, The Fish beautiful nautilus beside it challenged the fish with its presence. He picked up the nautilus and threw it as far out as possible. He reached for his shoe and took out his watch. It was already ten minutes to five. He dried himself quickly and put on his clothes. He left all his things in an opening in the rocks. He put the fish in the net bag. It looked out of place in the bag and he thought it was getting smaller by the minute the farther away he climbed from the sea. At the very top of the rocks he stumbled on a thorny bush and fell sideways onto the net bag. He heard the spine and jaws of the fish break beneath his weight. He cursed and got up, inspecting his white shirt, wet and wrinkled now. His eyes welled with anger. He inspected the fish to see if it still looked all right. Walking fast, he felt a sorry kind of love for the fish. He wanted to present it in a way that did it justice, so that she too would see it as an offering, as part of his dedication to her. 26
He stopped dead in his tracks â€“ the fish was not gutted. He very clearly remembered that the fisherman had gutted his fish before parading it through the village and taking it to his wife. How could he not have thought of that? And why did he not have his knife with him? It was hopeless. He thought of throwing the fish away. Then he thought of keeping the fish but not giving it to her. The first he found immoral. The second he found rude. He turned around and made his way home. He would gut it there and leave it for his mother. Dragging his feet up hill, he could see her still waiting for him. Her eyes would lose their sparkle as he would not show up. Finally, she would leave. And all the while she would have no idea about the fish.
My daughter Aretousaâ€™s The Fish at Sea
Full text found here: The Fish
A multiple layer weaving, with dyed reeds. The warps were random ikat dyed. After taken off the loom, it was soaked and shaped to form the sculpture. he fringes were wrapped. Â 28
He should have been killed. A horrible thought, to be sure, as I welcome him into the room, yet I’ve no regret for thinking it. It is well-intentioned, born out of mercy. He is very young. No more than 19 or 20 years old, and I can only imagine how handsome he must have been. While I have learned to suppress my compulsion to know details, once again, beyond my control, my stomach lurches when I look at him: the ragged purple edges of his torn-away cheek, exposing broken teeth. The empty space that once held his nose. Bullets, most likely, or possibly shrapnel. It doesn’t matter. He has been rendered grotesque. Unfit to live in genteel society. His mask, made from the thinnest shell of galvanized tin and enameled paint, is finished. I lift it carefully from its hook on a wall displaying dozens of other masks like it, and gently fit the cold metal against his battle-shattered profile. He winces. “You’ll look so distinguished with glasses!” I remark lightly. “And the skin color is a perfect match! How does it feel?” Bereft of words, he simply nods.
I press into his hands a small mirror. “Go ahead,” I urge. “Take a look.” His hesitation stretches into a full minute before, haltingly, he brings the mirror up to his face. Greeted by a semblance of normal, he starts to sob. His gratitude is so deep and so sincere I can hardly bear the pain upon my heart, and in that moment, I fall in love with him. I push back my own tears. Now go, Henry! Go and have yourself a truly wonderful life! His tin face, the made-whole companion to his damaged one, is frozen. Expressionless. Except for his eyes. They dance. Standing taller, he kisses my hand, and then he’s gone. Tomorrow, another face in a seemingly endless string of faces will come to me, looking for the promise of a second chance. And I will fall in love again.