Swylce

Musings and Writing of GG Alexander

Savage Writing: Primavera

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“Waiting for Spring” was the task. Glen kept saying ‘That was really sweet’ at the end of every piece I read out, and I don’t feel my pieces are very sweet, so I wrote this to prove him wrong! Naturally he wasn’t there the week I read this out…Partly inspired by Graham’s work as well, since I really admire it.

I’m not too happy with some of the writing but in a way I think it needs this stiltedness. We’ll see if I want to edit it more.

The statue has been in the garden for three days now. Grace’s mum has told the police but they don’t recognise it, let alone know where it was stolen from. ‘Must be a prank,’ she’s said. ‘Or some form of modern art. They’re one and the same these days.’

‘Modern art is not art,’ Grace has said with all the confidence that two years of art class at school has given her, and all the certainty inherent in teenage opinions.

That statue, though, is art. White stone carved wondrously smooth; it is as if she sprung out of rock of her own will, that figure. A woman holding her head to the sky, blank eyes gazing at the heavens, flowing hair over rounded breasts, flowing gown and a hand clutching a gently swollen belly. The other arm carries a spilling bouquet. She has all the blank beauty of a master artist’s vision, but something in her expression screams of ecstasy, or fear. Maybe her eyelids are too wide apart. Maybe it’s because Crazy May from next door keeps coming into their garden to stare at her.

‘Just leave her,’ Grace’s mother has said. ‘She’s no harm. Besides, she won’t be here much longer anyway.’

Today is the first of May, and Grace is alone in the living room while her mother is at work. It’s no bank holiday for her either, since she has a mountain of coursework due in that week. The old clock in the hall starts to ping the hour, and at the hedge that serparates the two gardens, May appears.

She walks as if she’s crossing worlds: eyes unblinking, arms at her side, walking through the bushes and not over or round them. She is in front of the statue by the seventh toll.

Grace, irritated that she’s been distracted by the old biddy, turns on the television and flicks to the news at noon, hopeful that the dire messages from around the world will put her two essays and twenty questions in perspective. She starts reading about Van Gogh, easily tuning out the report of a bombing in Far-Away-istan, but unable to ignore the two figures outside the window, standing as still as each other. She sighs and closes her book.

It is blustery cold outside, and there hasn’t been a lick of sunshine for weeks. May’s white cardigan and yellowed nightie are flapping about with wild abandon, jerking away from her body like a dog trying to escape its leash.

‘Aren’t you cold?’ Grace asks, hugging her four Primark-thin layers to her chest.

‘She’s waiting,’ May says. ‘She’s waiting.’

‘Do you want a jumper?’

‘Primavera,’ May says, eyes stuck on the statue. ‘Personification of Spring. She gives birth to the new world.’

Grace rolls her eyes.

‘Look, do you not even want to come inside? Or have some tea?’

‘Spring is late this year,’ May says, eyes widening.

Fine, Grace thinks, see if I care if you die of pneumonia, you stupid old bat. She goes back inside and flips open her art book again. The stiff pages turn themselves to Boticelli. One of the women in these paintings is placed in the centre, staring out at the viewer, an ambiguously perceptive, knowing look in her eyes as they meet Grace’s. She sighs, flips the page away – and that’s when the TV volume jumps up high and the screams make her start. Another bomb somewhere – the BBC reporter tries to conceal the panic in his voice – Grace swears at the TV for its interruption, looks around for the remote, and a second scream, so close it seems right by her ear, stops her movement.

She jumps up, looks out the widow, but a sudden beam of sulight blinds her and she shields her eyes. A rumble, a multitude of cracks, an explosion of rock – then the light fades enough for her to look. She runs outside without thinking, while the TV is screeching at her, ‘Mayday, Mayday, Mayday!’

Mrs May MacIntyre from next door is lying motionless on the ground in a slanted beam of sunlight, eyes wide and blank, her expression caught between terror and ecstasy. With green and white robes, honey-golden hair, and pink petals dripping from her arm, the other figure turns and fixes Grace with an ambiguously perceptive, knowing look in her blue and brown eyes.

She looks up, and the Primavera looks down at her.

——

‘So, does she take place of the old woman, or…?’ Graham asked.

‘I dunno. It’s like she has to destroy the old world before she can make the new one,’ I said, when I actually had no real idea, and rather relished it, given that I’m prone to writing novels which require explaining EVERYTHING.

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Written by G.J.

14/06/2012 at 8:06 pm

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