Sunday, April 14, 2013

Blackwood

From The History of Bluebeard; image from WikiCommons


No collection of fairytales would be complete without a take on "Bluebeard."  The story of the murderous husband and his too-curious wife faded into obscurity for many years before coming back to light in college classes and among feminist debates.  Now, if you know the story of "Bluebeard," you've probably read Angela Carter's version in The Bloody Chamber.  

I opted to travel in a different direction, in part because so much has already been said before on the topic.  The hero of my story is a young gay man, caught in the web of an enigmatic artist -- but, for all his vulnerabilities, our hero has some secrets of his own.

The idea for "Blackwood" originally came to me in 2005, when I was reading and discussing the Robert Browning poem "My Last Duchess."  I drew a parallel in my mind between that poem and the tale of Bluebeard, and the idea of a Bluebeard story set between an artist and his models stuck with me ever since.

Here's a snippet:

“The thing about art,” he tells me, “is it's a way to make sense of life. You can take things in this world and alter them – twist and cut and shape the to be the way you want. With art, you become a god. You recreate the universe in your own image.”
“Is that what you're doing to me?” I ask. “Building me in your image?”
He smiles, a shy twitch of his whiskers, and goes back to work. “Would you like that”
“Yes,” I say, breathlessly, not sure anymore what I'm agreeing to.
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