“Pure of soul and of flesh, she was.
One of a kind, thought the Witch.
Not half woman and half spider,
but one of Nature. Whole. Complete.”
~ Belle du Freak
Often, a writer will say that her stories write themselves; or that characters snatch the pen off her hand, deviate from her outlined plot, and run wild. This is true for many creators of tales, of poetry, of worlds…
When I wrote “Belle du Freak”, the first poem in a trilogy that grew into a quartet that is morphing into a series, I thought I was writing about a witch rescuing a spider-woman from a circus of cruelty. By the time I penned the third poem, plot and characters surprised me with a love story that’s weaving itself to life while swimming in blood and dancing on fire.
Most things about the Belle du Freak poems have been a surprise. For instance, I never named the speaker or subject. But Lorelei started referring to the spider-woman as Belle… then Sharon spoke of how much she loved Belle’s poems… After that, there was no way back: everyone called her Belle. I suspect the spider-woman is speaking into readers’ hearts. “Belle… Belle… Call me Clarabelle,” she whispers… and I hear her, too.
Clarabelle doesn’t seem to understand the meaning of passivity (or maybe she understands perfectly, and just doesn’t give a damn). Her dexterous fingers grip my pen, her chin hovers over my right shoulder, her breath is warm on my ear, her words are clear, “I was born poetry,” she says. “Force me to be prose, and we’ll both hurt.”
I believe in my Clarabelle, so the story of her life with Dee (yes, the witch has been named) will be told in free verse. Because I was a rather unskilled poet when I wrote “Belle du Freak”, I’ll start by rewriting the first three poems. I know three years isn’t such a long time, but I’ve learned so much since then… that it feels like it has been forever and three days.
Whispers, by Denton Lund