Wednesday, 17 February 2021

#WEPff FEBRUARY - 'Woman in Gold', Inspired by 'THE KISS', Gustav Klimt.

Hello! Welcome to WEP 2021, the Year of Art. We begin with Klimt's THE KISS.



My entry today is taken from my to-be-published-in-2021 novel, Paris Dreams. We at WEP often share how many writers who've written a flash fiction for WEP go on to write a full-length novel. 

My story grew from a flash fiction Her Final Day that I wrote for #Fridayflash before the idea of WEP was born. It grew first into a short story of 3,000 words, then kept growing until I had 104,000 words, too much. So with help from my writer friends, it's now down to 100,000 words and I'm cutting more before it goes on pre-order. 

So, if you've toyed with the idea of writing for WEP, join me and many others who have turned flash fiction into a novel. And if you have a similar story, please share in comments.

For this excerpt, I cut down a 3,000 word chapter to 1,000 words, deleting, rearranging, massaging it to suit the challenge. It's the chapter which has references to Klimt so it suited the art theme. 

I hope you get the context and enjoy...


 

T

oday is the day I move into Apartment 5A of rue des Martyrs Residences in Montmartre. I’ve been too busy with coursework at the Paris Institut of Fashion to give much thought to moving day.

The day is here. Ready or not.

Raphael passes me a takeaway coffee and we toast each other. ‘Are you okay, Sassy?’ He puts a hand on my shoulder and watches me, no doubt afraid I’m going to have a meltdown.

‘It’s all good.’ I remember my exhilaration the evening I moved in and the good times I’ve shared here with Raphael since. ‘I’m both excited and nostalgic.’

He frowns, no doubt uneasy that he’s done the wrong thing convincing me to move. Throwing his empty cup into the trash, he says, ‘Let’s get into it then.’ He heaves my sewing machine from the worktable.

Tossing my cup, I grab a box of fabric samples and lead Raphael downstairs. I race ahead to the door, stepping aside to let Raphael stagger past and set my sewing machine onto the dining table. Walking across the shiny retro black and white diagonal tiles, I spy the marble fireplace with baroque trims. I put down my box. ‘Phew. This apartment is beyond gorgeous.’

‘That’s the reaction I wanted.’ He takes my hand. ‘Let’s do the tour.’

Everywhere I look there’s something amazing. ‘Wow, Raphael,’ I keep repeating. I’m staggered at how the rooms sparkle with early morning light shining through the large floor to ceiling windows and how the French doors climb up to the ceiling to pick out the adorable plaster cupids and the bunches of grapes dripping from the corners of the luscious molding. ‘I love it. Oh, those black wooden beams are fabulous against the white ceiling.’ I can’t resist rubbing my palm over the walls. With the suede effect designed by Raphael, the walls are white and soft as cheese. ‘These walls are a masterpiece.’

 ‘I knew you’d love them. Let’s go onto the balcony.’ He walks me past the opulent chaise he’s installed near the windows, opens the doors and with a flourish of his hand, ushers me outside.

Paris is spread at our feet. The sun turns the terracotta rooftops golden and there’s an even better view of the Eiffel Tower than from the attic. ‘Wow. We’ll share an evening drink and watch the sunset.’ I rub my hand over the scrolled steel tabletop and admire the chairs with plump black and white cushions. ‘How much furniture did you buy? I owe you.’

‘It’s a house-warming present. If you don’t like something, it can be returned.’

I grip the balcony rails and try not to resent him for buying furniture without checking with me. But his choices are perfect. Of course. He’s an artist. ‘You’ve made great choices. It feels like home. Thanks.’ I hug him and think how much I love Raphael and Paris. His generosity is not an act of control like my father’s back in New York, rather an act of love. But I would have liked black and pink checked cushion covers. Just saying.

Raphael kisses my forehead. ‘I love doing things for you.’

‘You’ve outdone yourself.’ Back inside, I marvel at the pièce de resistance, the opulent Louis X1V inspired bedroom with its luxuriant burgundy cover fringed with gold which wouldn’t be out of place at Versailles. ‘Raphael, it’s heaven.’ I turn and embrace him. ‘We’ll watch the Eiffel Tower twinkle from the bed.’

He gives me a wicked smile, takes a curl of my hair and twists it around his finger. ‘I want to see more than the Eiffel Tower twinkle.’

I take a deep breath. ‘As much as I love my attic, this apartment is brilliant.’ I want to run wild and whoop around this new space.

‘When we finish bringing down your things, Sassy, I’ll hang some art.’

***

I watch him hang a huge oil on the living room wall.

‘“The Four Seasons of Paris”,’ he says with a sweep of his hand, ‘a Raphael Valentine original.’

I stand on tiptoe and kiss his cheek. ‘OhMyGod. It’s stunning.’ It’s a polyptych, four gorgeous gold-edged panels. Pink flowered trees line the Champs-Elysées in spring with us sitting on a bench facing the Eiffel Tower; the Hotel de Ville beach with our easily recognizable figures embracing after playing volleyball represents summer; autumn leaves fall near the Pont des Arts where we’re picnicking on a golden rug; winter sees me wearing a long red coat walking through the snow beside the Seine towards Raphael. I’ve yet to experience a Paris spring or winter. Winter is coming. I hope it’s as beautiful as his painting promises. I’d better buy a red coat.

‘You don’t mind me choosing art for you?’ Raphael squeezes my shoulder.

My eyes flicker from panel to panel then back again. ‘Not at all. This,’ I hold out my hand, ‘is truly amazing.’ I wrap my arm around his waist. ‘I’m impressed how the brush work is more Monet than Dali, but I see a glimpse of Klimt’s “Woman in Gold” in your metallic rendition of summer.’

He grins. ‘Maybe I’m entering my “Golden Phase.” I love the way Klimt used gold, which is how I see you, my love, pure gold. You’ll be my Adele Bloch-Bauer 1.’ He spins me around and kisses me. He takes my hand and leads me to the chaise longue with its red velvet and gold trim.

 ‘This chaise is my favorite piece of furniture. I’ve used it to pose my muses. Just kidding.’ He sits me on the chaise and I have fun reclining like a glamorous muse against the padded end, fluffing out my long blonde hair, one arm behind my head like Klimt's muse, Emilie Floge. ‘You’re my muse, Sassy. I’m inspired to paint like never before, my own woman in gold.’

Despite my misgivings, how well we’re getting along. I’m his muse. He’s my muse. Inspired by him, I’ll create fashion which will bring Paris to its knees.

How many women are lucky enough to have a lover like Raphael before them on their knees?

 

WORDS: 1014

FCA


Go HERE to read more entries! Or click on my sidebar!

If it's too late for you to be inspired by 'The Kiss', please consider WEP in April for our next art challenge:



You can see how diverse our challenges are.

Thanks for coming by, reading and commenting,




Wednesday, 3 February 2021

#IWSG post, February 3, 2021. Launching into the New Year. All about blogging ...

Hello everyone! Welcome to 2021! Is this going to be your year? Do you have exciting things planned? I definitely do and a lot of my plans are thanks to the friendships I've made in the blogging world.


Alex's awesome co-hosts for the February 3 posting of the IWSG are Louise - Fundy Blue , Jennifer Lane, Mary Aalgaard, Patsy Collins at Womagwriter, and Nancy Gideon!


February 3 question - Blogging is often more than just sharing stories. It’s often the start of special friendships and relationships. Have you made any friends through the blogosphere?

Question:  Have I made any friends through the blogosphere?


Have I made friends in the blogging world? You bet! I've been blogging since 2007 with a travel blog, which morphed into a writing blog. I wonder how many thousands of words I've published here? As Ray Bradbury said and I paraphrase, get the millions of bad words out before you write good words. By taking my time publishing, I hope I've already used up my "bad words".

Which brings me to blogging friends. Wonderful people like Yolanda Renee, Michael di Gesu, Donna Hole, who've all critiqued my work. Then there's Joy Campbell from the old days of blogging who continues to inspire me with her productivity, to Pat Garcia who's a standout friend in the new days of blogging and kindly read my first vampire book and said wonderful things about it.

Those who've been around the blogging world for ages would probably agree that 10 years or so ago was it's Golden Age, where friendships were formed, knowledge was gained, we helped each other by reading each other's work etc etc. 

Many have abandoned the blogging world for the more instant gratification of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc etc. I'm on all those, sporadically I admit, but to me I think the time spent blogging is more rewarding. I say that as an unpublished (except for a 2015 vampire novella) author. Maybe I'll change my mind when I throw myself into the frenetic self-publishing world. I'll let you know.

I've yearned to meet these special bloggers. Nas Dean was my earliest blogger friend who invited me to Fiji for 6 weeks to house sit while she and her husband Rajesh traveled to America. While there I wrote a Fijian romance which is rather pathetic but I might pick it up one day. And I wrote a horror story for Entangled Publishing, which was my first attempt at horror and was rejected of course. 

Lynda Young is another blogger I've met. She moved up from Sydney to Brisbane and we met in cafes when we could and encouraged each other to publish. Well, we know Lynda did ...

I've often thought of getting Donna, Michael and Yolanda together, but that would be some task, especially in these days of covid. Australians aren't allowed to travel overseas for starters. Michael and I have talked of meeting in Paris, but that may be a long way into the future now. But blogger friends don't have to see each other face to face to remain friends. Pat Garcia and I tried to organize a meeting when I was in Paris in 2019 and she lives in Germany. Nothing worked out, sadly, but I live in hopes that one day in the future we'll meet. 

Of course, there are many blogger friends I haven't mentioned. You know who you are. There's the WEP team, Olga, Nilanjana, Laura (I've already mentioned Yolanda). There are WEP members who I interact with such as the delightful Elephant's Child, a fellow Aussie who stepped in last year as an admin and helped out when needed. Space does not allow me to sing praises to you all, but know I love and value you, each and every one. 

***

Now here's a friendship group who support each other. The wonderful world of WEP (Write...Edit...Publish) where we have formed many friendships. If you've never written for this online writing community, February would be a good time to start with our first challenge, The Kiss. (All arty prompts for 2021!) See my sidebar!



Thanks for hanging with me. Hopefully see you on February 17 when the WEP entries go live. Be in it to win a critique on your work!



                                                                                                           who will soon be publishing as