Saturday, May 28, 2005

Gleaning Images

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

I have never been known for my 'sketching abilities'. This is a skill had been well and truly hidden under my apron. A number of patrons have shared terrible experiences about people making scathing comments about their art. One story that is etched into my memory is from the person whose mother destroyed here Art Work because it was not appropriate

Well no one even bothered to be scathing about mine. I was deemed useless in this department so I have never attempted to express myself with a pencil or paint for that matter. My husband, Darryl in contrast is quite the artist and has drawn from time to time. About fifteen years ago when we were on holidays he was sketching and I had a mad burst and sketched people. Suddenly I realised that I could actually create something that resembled something, so long as I had something to guide me. But I never bothered to go on with it and have not sketched since.

Anita Marie Moscoso's stories have fascinated me mainly because I have never taken any interest in the twilight zone and horror. Then recently she sent me her story 'Going to Croatan' and I was intrigued by her idea and said that I could see what was happening and that I had a desire to sketch. When she pleaded with me to do a sketch I thought 'right'! Now I have gone and opened my mouth far too wide.

So I checked out the internet and found various images that matched what she was saying. I did feel rather ghoulish when I put corpses into the search engine but sure enough - up came some corpses. I pulled up odd images of doors and rooms and ghoulish votives and other weird stuff and then propped myself up in bed with my sharpened grey lead and eraser and well, what you see is the completed sketches, based on stuff she had written.

Darryl of course sees these images and thinks I have lost it completely. He sees Amazon parcels arriving with books like Dead Men Do Tell Tales and Ship Fever and my references about poisons and alchemy and shakes his head and looks disturbed. Interestingly enough it does not really disturb him too much and I half suspect he thinks it is all a bit intriguing.

It took some courage for me to actually put those images on the blog and I felt weird when Anita said her husband and family liked them, but it took even more courage to 'really' show them to anyone.

I should have known that the folks at Soul Food would be supportive.

Going to Croatan - The First Part of the Journey
by Anita Marie Moscosso
Illustrations by Heather Blakey

Years ago, before they walked into oblivion someone turned back and left this message carved on a tree, " gone to Croatan ".

Now it's my turn, tonight I'm going to Croatan; I'm going to Croatan to avenge my own murder.

My name Is Livia Cotard and once I owned a little bookshop at the Marina on the Duwamish Bay.

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Duwamish Bay by Heather Blakey

In the front of my shop you would find books sought after by collectors from all over the world. Rare first editions, bound sets, atlases, maps, and a variety of other books that were prized by collectors for their illustrations.

The front of my store is separated from the back by a large imposing oak door. Its hinges are leather and its locks and tumblers are made of wood.

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The Imposing Oak Door by Heather Blakey

This is where my real store is; this is where I conduct my real trade.

The room behind this door is a very comfortable library. The walls lined ceiling to floor bookcases. One case has a glass door, the second had an iron gate and others were left open.

Each case held over 100 volumes.

The books were crafted by an unusual group of Authors and had been written for a very exotic group of clients. These were famous one of a kind horror stories among this group of readers and they would spare no expense in collecting them.

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The Authors by Heather Blakey

This is how these little treasures were created.

If the Authors were to arrive at a home for a story they always came hours before a funeral and they were never turned away. After a small ceremony involving salt and scented oils they were left alone with the Dead and their work would begin. The Authors would take blank sheets of parchment; sometimes strips of linen or thin sheets of copper, gold and in later years paper and place them over the chest of a dead person. Then the Author would place their hand over the corpse's stilled heart and the story would be recorded.

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Authors at Work by Heather Blakey

It was said you could hear the scratching sounds of what was assumed to be pen to parchment and that no matter how much you were tempted that you should never try to catch one of these Authors at work. Not unless you wanted to end up bound in one of those books too.

When they were finished what was recorded on these pages were all the sins and evil that the dead person ever committed. Page after page would hold horrible dark stories and horrific illustrations. Brought forward by the Author's skilled hand, images and words and flashes of smell and sound would be captured then interpreted by the Author and burned onto the pages.

The Authors always left a gift for the stories. Sometimes they left gold or jewels, potions in bottles and sometimes money.

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The Croatan Treasury by Heather Blakey

After they left these homes the Authors would take these pages and bind them, and place them in libraries in homes not fit for human habitation.

To read the complete story Go To Croatan


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