There are two bodies, up here on stage.
One is of cool flesh, lavender-scented. Sleek, dark hair, parted perfectly in the centre, is pulled back into a chignon, revealing the white arc of throat, the shadow formed by the sweep of her jawline as she bends her head in concentration. Black silk accentuates the pale sheen of her skin, her dress cut wide against the shoulders to reveal her collarbones, and the stretch of her swan-like throat. Slender hips cradle a spine which draws itself, erect as a candle-flame, towards the ceiling. She has arms of alabaster, impossibly long, arms of a conjuress. Her eyes are closed, her nostrils open. She breathes music into her, as if it were all she needed to exist. All senses are focused on this other body, gripped between her thighs; this body of violent swells and curves so different to her own.
I am smooth and gleaming, the light from the chandelier creating honeyed ripples on the surface of my flesh, flesh of maple. I am shaped to hold secrets. I am hollow, yet fecund. Bodies such as mine are made for the fervent embrace. Flesh such as mine will not erode easily, even from the rituals of the most devout of lovers.
My senses are so exquisitely honed that a flutter of fingers at my throat forges fire in my womb. I feel the strength of the thighs which clasp my hips, the tender determination of her hands upon my spine.
I cannot but yield up my music.
Is this how I was born into consciousness, the bow keening across my strings, animating them with music? My cords, through which I sing and speak, and feel. She calls me Seraphine, her burning one, her angel. No matter where we are in the world, I feel as if I am always here; caught in light, cradled in her arms, pivoting on a single point of pain like a ballerina, poised between grace and chaos.
She makes love to me each night on stage, each performance a fresh seduction. Together, we weave sound and silence into incantations which bewitch and benumb those who listen.
Those who come to sit in the dark and watch are nearly always men, no matter if we play in the theatres of Paris, New York or Cairo. It is when the lights are directed away from them, when lulled into the roles of mere observers, that the truth of their lives is revealed in their faces, all yearnings and disillusions. Men with hungering eyes and lonely mouths. Men with laden wallets and leaden hearts. There, in the embrace of the illuminating dark, they become my performance.
I am of wood, yet something of me is woman.
I love my mistress. But she has a heart made of wood. She does not respond to the caresses of love. It is only music that makes her soft, Bach that brings fire to her cheeks, Schumann that coaxes a languorous curve from her lips. Only for Brahms does her body quiver, her sex yielding to the vibrations of the notes through my body, becoming moist with desire. But for what? Strangely, it is I who long for the touch of a man, I who am fashioned from the finest of maple wood.
Perhaps, one night, whilst playing me in a frenzy of passion, she transferred her heart to me.
There are stories woven into the sinews of my strings. My mistress slices her bow along them like a scalpel.
But there are stories and there are secrets. The secrets I keep deep in the hollow of my body. These she shall not have.
I love my mistress. But equally, I love desire itself, the sensual energy that dances between two beings. And if I cannot be completely fulfilled myself, then to invoke desire in others is what I will do.
‘A dream, like trying to remember, breaks open words for other, hidden meanings.’
This is a curated excerpt of a story that was seeded in my psyche sixteen years ago, when I had an incredibly erotic dream. I was a cello, being played to an audience of only men, in tuxedoes. I could feel the music pouring out of me as if they were physical sensations, my whole body was full of this incredible cello music, and I woke up in the middle of some intense krias (a Tantric word, describing the movement or release of orgasmic energy through the body). I had woken up my boyfriend with my sounds and writhing, and I could still hear the music in my head, as I described the dream to him. The telling of the dream had an erotic effect on him too, and we umm … didn’t sleep for quite a while.
Over the next few days, I wrote about three pages of what the dream had evoked for me. It was the beginning of my first erotica story, and the words felt as if they were pouring out like streams of melody – but I couldn’t tie together the passages. Flash forward sixteen years, with several attempts in-between. I finally finshed it recently. Interestingly, I used almost all of the original material, but found my way into the “narrative gaps” to write a more fully-formed story.
Around the writing of a story, are often other stories.
Plots are something I used to struggle with, as a younger writer. That, I believe, is what hindered me from shaping the “scenes”, moments and characters I so strongly envisaged into stories. So, I am developing my “narrative muscle” with each story I work on – and complete.
To develop a strong sense of resilience and healthy writer-ego, I believe the completion of one’s creative ideas is crucial. Half-finished ideas have a terrible tendency to haunt you.
The defintion of a chord is:
Three or more notes that combine harmoniously.
And Chords of Desire is actually told from the perspectives of three characters: three characters that sound their own unique note on the exploration of desire, three characters bound together by its power. This excerpt is just after a short prelude that begins the story, and is from the cello Seraphine’s perspective. That initial dream, the surreal fact that I was the cello, and could think and feel, always meant she was going to be a sentient character. She could be said to embody feminne desire. Inevitably, this story weaves elements of magical realism into its narrative.
I’m still searching for a home for this story – if any editor or publisher reading it feels it might resonate with their publication, or indeed if any writer knows a place that its style would be at home in, please do feel free to comment or write me here. The full version is around 4000 words. Paid publication leads only, please.
As always, this writer very much appreciates reades who take a moment to let to me know their thoughts on how the story has connected with them.