Fanny Brawne sits in a corner and watches an ailing man duplicate words. Her needle tears and reforms incisively.
She imagines a tweed suit that can be gilded with unutterable sentences. She would sew this suit as armour, lain against a rapt chest that beats irregularly with illness.
She knows her woman’s work is really a form of enlivening. An act of creation and generosity.
Fanny’s watching becomes a topic of fascination for someone who reads letters meant only for her. After her mother’s death, a young girl likes to sit in the enclosed space of a torn armchair, examining the cover, the pages, the smell of a book of letters with Fanny’s name. This too is an act of evasive generosity, parcelled out through distance.
She mirrors what Fanny creates. In her bed at night, she lays fabric before her and rips neat squares. They cover one another like a palimpsest. What clever fingers can do is bind the trauma of experience with love.
Her mother liked the quiet contemplation of needlepoint. Like praying, she would say. And so her prayers come as a form of domestic reconstitution, not sublime poetry. The revenant residue of someone who will be forgotten, while words remain.
Fanny feels his straining beneath clothes as she sits in corners, wrapped in chairs like a cocoon. This evasion, this bodily separation, comes together through her sharp needle, moving in, moving out.
* * * * *
Welcome to my new little series with Diana from Miss Moss. We've partnered up to combine images with words in a regular monthly feature on our respective blogs called The Comparisons Project. I've always talked about how film and images inspire me to create fiction, and I've been wanting to put this theory to the test. I'm so glad Diana has agreed to join forces with me in this little project, as I find her images and colour comparisons to be some of the most inspiring things I've ever come across on the net. We both hope you enjoy this series, which will be based on a different film/television series each month. Diana will provide the beautiful images, while I'll provide the words. I can already feel my creativity perking.
All images are by Miss Moss, created using stills from Jane Campion's Bright Star and the paintings of Edmund Tarbell. All words are by me, Hila Shachar. Re-blogging is welcome, but please give proper credit when doing so.
Paintings from top to bottom: The Blue Veil (1899) by Edmund Tarbell; Across the Room (1899) by Edmund Tarbell; Girl Reading (1909) by Edmund Tarbell; Mother and Mary (1922) by Edmund Tarbell; My daughter Josephine (1915) by Edmund Tarbell; New England Interior (1906) by Edmund Tarbell; The Sisters (1921) by Edmund Tarbell; Mary Reading (1915-1916) by Edmund Tarbell.
P.S. There are only four more days to vote for me in the Sydney Writers' Centre blog competition!