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Darker Fables

Writing. Adventures, maybe? Exciting, definitely.

Another Month Goes By…

Another sizable absence (though I think it’s shorter than the last!), and I’m back to blogging.

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Here is a list of things which have happened during my unannounced, and unintended, hiatus:

1. Outrageous sunburn. As you can see in the photo above, Paris is sizzling. I, naïve Britisher of low expectations when it comes to summer weather, arrived here woefully unprepared for the delight that is French sunshine, and have paid for my ignorance with a ridiculous set of tan lines which make many of my outfits aesthetically nonviable.

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2. Men have also happened, in the loosest terms, which is to say I have actually conversed with some. My French is still terrible, but I am now at a level of being able to hold a very simple conversation.

Add a dash of alcohol and a loud environment in which it’s difficult to talk anyway, and I’m away. No progress onto an actual date so far, but several brief encounters, including a kind Mexican who called six times whilst I was at work (ruthless as I am, I ruled him too eager), and a handsome but sloppy Serbian who lacked subtlety, and came in pursuit of just one thing.

Dating here is different to how it is in the UK. Things are refreshingly casual, with few rules or set expectations, but this also makes for additional challenges. I am gauche, to a great extent, and also very aware of it. Maybe things will change, but I don’t think a picture-perfect Parisian romance is going to spring upon me anytime soon, and I confess, I don’t think I want it to, not yet.

In a weird twist of fate, I have moved to the City of Love, and become only more content with the unconditional freedom of being single. It’s unexpected, but I think this is what happens when you let go, in the real world. Rather than being happy enough waiting, you become happy because you are waiting.

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3. And speaking of interests, I have been writing. For the first time in a long time, my novel has a latest draft with a word count over 30,000. I have been beetling away editing it, and yesterday I ploughed on with new scenes, reintroducing an old face who has changed a great deal since his first conception. Finally, I’ve pinched back enough confidence to say this draft is starting to feel right, and I’m on track for finishing by Christmas.

So, having said what I have to say, it’s ciao for now. I’ll be back, sooner or later. I hope this time I can keep up a decent streak of regular posts!

Sunshine at Sainte-Chapelle

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So today it was bare sleeves, skirt above the knee, and walking to a soundtrack of me cursing my single pair of so uncomfortable sandals. Blistered in the blistering heat of what can only be described as summer weather, I walked, and ended up at Sainte-Chapelle, where I expected to queue, and queue some more, like the British girl I am.

The best thing about Paris, is, in my opinion, the free access to pretty much everything for under 25s in the EU. Thanks to this fantastic scheme, I have been able to visit the galleries and museums, for the most part, without spending a single euro of my limited budget.

And in this case, it meant no queuing necessary. A flip of a passport, what I like to think was a very pleasantly accented ‘merci’ (though God knows my French is still rudimentary at best), and I was in.

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I’m so glad I went. Notre-Dame and Sacre-Cœur are bigger and a trifle more grandiose (and also free for everyone to visit), but Sainte-Chapelle is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.

With the sunlight spilling through the glass in the Upper Chapel, and all the colours reflecting across the intricate tiles on the floor, it was not difficult to see why even the French Revolution saw this marvel spared.

According to the free pamphlet, much of the interior was restored after 1846, but the phenomenal windows are the original ones installed during the six year construction period of 1242-1248.

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Afterwards I did the only thing that must be done on a sunny afternoon in the city. I took a long stroll along the river, and sat in the park with my book. (The Romanovs, by Simon Sebag-Montefiore, if you want to know – look out for a review soon).

So, basically, if you’re in Paris, go to Sainte-Chapelle, especially if you’re under 25 and in the EU (there is a also reduced entry fee for young people from other parts of the world).

And if you’re not in Paris, Sainte-Chapelle is one of about 1000 things to do here, and if there is such a thing as a city made of art, this is it.

So go. You will never regret, or forget it.

Abscess

She wishes his fingers didn’t taste of bleach
when he shoves them down her throat,
and that he would dress as sharply
without word of a funeral.

And he, embodiment of an ideal
which isn’t hers, after all this time,
has no wishes. He has thrown enough
coins into the well, and after them, teeth.

La. La. La. Such a tired, monotonous song
is playing on the radio, sounding like
something sicked up to face this
new world, made of puzzles,
chewing gum in spit pools,
and photocopy couples
all wanting to be
eccentrics.

Sick of sex and the contact of conversation,
of drinking from His and Hers mugs, of
glasses and crockery from people only
interested, really, for the artisan cake,
they fall back on the bed to choke
each other. Lose consciousness,
lose the game, and the trail of
thought that wonders if, if, if
maybe this isn’t everything
or really, anything at all.

Picking scabs just to watch the blood
coursing down over their hands,
they box each other across to
opposite corners, turn
their backs, and
pretend, just
for a time,
that they are alone.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Life, times, etc.

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It will soon be summer in Paris. Already, the weather favours sandals, and I am making plans for travelling about Europe with my new friend whilst the sun is on our side. First Amsterdam, and then Cannes for the beach. After that, who knows? I’d love to see Spain and eastern Europe.

Almost two months have passed since I moved. Can you believe it?

My French is a lot better now, though I still struggle in conversation. I make a lot of mistakes, some more embarrassing than others. Last week I told a handsome Mexican that I was at work with children. I later realised I had told him I was at work with my children. Needless to say, he didn’t call again.

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I think the strangest thing is how quickly an experience like this changes you. I was a different person three months ago. Coming here, I have forced myself to be self-sufficient, to cook and to clean. I have become more practical, and in chasing my dreams, less of a dreamer.

At times I am unsure, but there is no denying my self-confidence has rocketed. In forcing myself to do things, I have proved to myself that I can do them, and even if I am the anxious type, I feel I have gained a great deal more composure.

Weathering this, I know I can handle rougher seas.

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Recently I have started to look up universities for September 2018. My plan is to become a lawyer, hopefully in the civil rights sector, which means after my MA I need to do an intense law conversion course for a year, and then apply for law school.

I am quite set on the idea of studying in London, which is one of my favourite cities, but there are many months before I need to decide. In any case, having been changed by my experiences in Paris so far, there’s no telling who I’ll be by the time comes.

Before I go, I just want to say thank you to all my followers. I find it so encouraging that you are interested in my writing. It really means a lot more than I can articulate, so thank you, all of you. Until next time! ❤

Visualisation

I came across the water,
with my life packaged up,
and all its air sucked out.

My blood flowed backwards,
but my hands were tied
to so many things I had to tear up,
cut off, and leave behind.

Cauterised, and a secularist
from my own mother’s love,
I parted the ocean to walk
in a glowing city that thrived
in the miles beneath.

Are there mermaids between the reeds
or gods at the bottom of the bowl?

Maybe, but my castle was sand,
my armour forged from glass.
All the horses ran wild,
and here I am, with a saddle in my hands.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Twin Necklaces

Won’t you please,
and I will ask this only once,
just come and dance with me?

You know I won’t pull you to your feet,
only linger, and wait for you to stand
until it becomes apparent that you won’t.

Sometimes, I admit, I’m embarrassed
to know you, and I think, occasionally,
in your eyes I’m roadkill.

It’s true I arrive with blood on my hands,
but you! You bleed through your nose
and lick it up from the floor.

Tandem, we ride the fates in reverse,
brushing hands on the long way down.
I laughed, once, where now I weep.

Darling, darling, darling…
You don’t know how much I love you.
You are the bones of saints to me.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

More Songs for Writing

Also known as Deanna has run out of poems (for now…). Here is a list of some of the songs that help me put pen to paper. Perhaps some of you will find them helpful as well. All credit to the original artists, etc.

1. Bleachers – Don’t Take the Money

This gem popped up in my recommendations, and is perfect for writing happy endings, romantic montages, or dreaming up your next big idea.

Bleachers are a recent discovery for me, but I can tell you that ‘Like a River Runs’ is also well worth a listen.

2. Ruelle – Oh My My

There is nothing quite like a dark song with a thundering drum to get me in an imaginative mood. This is song for knuckle-cracking, and pounding out that next scene.

I know very little about Ruelle, other than some of their songs have cropped up in a variety of film soundtracks, but if you like this one, ‘Game of Survival’ is also very atmospheric.

3. Oh Wonder – My Friends

If you prefer something more delicate to listen to, then look no further than this husky vocal from Oh Wonder. With a beautiful piano accompaniment, this is a good song for writing about the bittersweet.

4. MS MR – Fantasy

One of my old favourites. Ideal for jolting the mind out of a slump, and the visuals are philosophical thought-provoking, or plain weird, depending on your take.

5. Lindsey Stirling – The Arena

I’m sorry, but if you don’t like electric violin, then we can’t be friends. Lindsey Stirling’s music has, in my opinion, veered towards the commercial of late, but she boasts an impressive catalogue of songs and covers, from video game soundtracks to preppy pop pieces.

I think this is one of her best, together with ‘Master of Tides’ and ‘Roundtable Rival’. If you enjoyed Mad Max: Fury Road, the video will also appeal.

Lunacy

She lays her head down,
just there on his knee,
and all her hair is
ink spilling into
the crush of
his hands.

Breathing out, their lungs spew silver
into a dawn as cold as virgin eyes.
She goes, a wind over the hills,
and he sits alone in towers
rooted where they stand.
All is as it was, before.

Quasimodo in his prison of gargoyles and grace,
he writes a thousand letters, but none to her.
There has never been a man more literate
with less inclination to pen his feelings.
His friends do not deign to suggest
that things could be different.

And across the miles a woman sighs,
‘plaiting a dark red love-knot into
her long black hair.’ Wonder,
that wicked game, leaves
the wind whispering
inside her bones.

In her ears, the angels sing.
She, who stood holding
fast, frees the doves
and watches them
scatter up into
the clouds.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

Note: This poem is my original work, but was inspired by, and contains a quote from, Alfred Noyes’ ‘The Highwayman’. You can find the full version of his masterpiece at Poetry Foundation here.

Dear

These shadows rise,
wavering in the smoke
that ebbs from the hollows
of your eyes.

Your mouth is bleeding silver
and I…
I bind my hair in diamond nets
and choke on my mother’s pearls.

All for which I’m sorry
you already know.
Our better selves, blushing,
have died out in the cold.

Virgin, I pluck my hair,
and leave my scalp a no man’s land
of love-coloured liquid
over which to drag my nails.

This last scrap of innocence
is an insect burrowing
deep inside.

Its little teeth
grind straight through to the bone.

© Deanna Scutt, 2017

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