you’ll remember hila from her things i like right now a while back. we’ve teamed up for a cool little project where we pick a film, i create some colour comparison mash ups (be it with art, fashion, vintage…) and hila writes a short piece of fiction based on the results. i was immediately intrigued when hila suggested the idea, as it combines creative strengths from both sides – and i am in awe of anyone who can write creatively.
the first film is bright star directed by jane campion, which tells the story of the romance between fanny brawne and john keats. i paired stills from the film with paintings by edmund c. tarbell, an american impressionist who often painted portraits and scenes of his wife and children. hila’s piece of fiction follows.
fanny brawne sits in a corner and watches an ailing man duplicate words. her needle tears and reforms incisively.
she imagines a tweed suit that can be gilded with unutterable sentences. she would sew this suit as armour, lain against a rapt chest that beats irregularly with illness.
she knows her woman’s work is really a form of enlivening. an act of creation and generosity.
fanny’s watching becomes a topic of fascination for someone who reads letters meant only for her. after her mother’s death, a young girl likes to sit in the enclosed space of a torn armchair, examining the cover, the pages, the smell of a book of letters with fanny’s name. this too is an act of evasive generosity, parcelled out through distance.
she mirrors what fanny creates. in her bed at night, she lays fabric before her and rips neat squares. they cover one another like a palimpsest. what clever fingers can do is bind the trauma of experience with love.
her mother liked the quiet contemplation of needlepoint. like praying, she would say. and so her prayers come as a form of domestic reconstitution, not sublime poetry. the revenant residue of someone who will be forgotten, while words remain.
fanny feels his straining beneath clothes as she sits in corners, wrapped in chairs like a cocoon. this evasion, this bodily separation, comes together through her sharp needle, moving in, moving out.
words by hila schachar.