I was very honored to be invited to write a new story for an anthology to be called Anna Karenina is Not Dead. The editor at Improbable Press, Atlin Merrick, wants stories that show female literary characters in a more positive light than what happened to them in the original fictional legend, story, or novel.
In my story, The Tree, the character of Lady Constance Chatterley, instead of divorcing her paralyzed husband, Baron Clifford Chatterley, and waiting for her lover, Oliver Mellors, to get his divorce, she meets a different man. His name is Aaron Smith, and he is actually a Jew named Abramowtiz. He’s a big New York City publisher and art dealer whom she again meets when she travels to Venice with her sister.
Mr. Smith comes to her assistance after Connie gets word in Venice that her lover, Oliver, and the father of her child, is killed in her husband’s coal mining pits attempting to organize them into a union. Smith becomes her lover, and he’s a Kundalini Yoga master and teaches Connie how to become more mentally and physically rejuvenated than “simply” having a simultaneous orgasm with her partner, as she had with Oliver. As the object of Tantric Yoga practice is to come as close to orgasm as possible without having an orgasm, Connie and Aaron experience a much more rewarding climax (actually, Lawrence calls it a “crisis,” so I may use that term instead). When they finally marry, Aaron and Connie will, therefore, have both ways of making love.
Here’s the beginning of my story:
Her heart was still pounding in her temples, her body was in a trance, and her freckled face was flushed with passion. That spring day, the crossing breezes were gusting through her freed, auburn hair, as Lady Constance Chatterley left her lover’s tryst with Oliver, the gamekeeper, in the forest outside the Wragby estate. She then saw a stranger, a gentlemen secluded under a tall oak, who was writing furiously in a manuscript.
Connie had been thinking about how her husband Clifford was now getting his bath from Mrs. Bolton, and she was feeling sad that she no longer did that chore. For this was a duty she had always enjoyed, when he returned from the war, paralyzed forever from the waist down, even though poor Clifford usually had shown his shy and yet kind attitude of shame and dependence. The last time she bathed him was when he said, “You may take a lover, you know. I do need an heir.” After several months of lovemaking, she now knew she was pregnant with Oliver’s child.
As Connie knew, Clifford kept his parade of intellectuals, reviewers, artists, and businessmen coming and going, in a constant stream, but she had never seen this man. He was not naked, as had been the case when she first saw her lover, Oliver, but there was something aloof and impenetrably attractive about this man, seated in the shadows of the tall oak, with his swarthy face, and right hand holding the pencil as if it were a sword of Damocles. His visage made her stop and watch him.
His long legs were crossed, in one of those poses she’d seen of East Indians in their meditative trances. The gnarled roots of the old oak, “Peter Pan,” which she’d named after the stage play by Barrie, were entwining his lower body with their phallic wildwood shapes, and it made her shiver with a secret delight. Unlike Clifford, when this man wrote, he put his entire being into the process. It wasn’t simply an egotistic and methodical puzzle to succeed. His full lips were bitten into. His forehead creases stood out from his skull like horizontal ladder rungs, perhaps going far into his creative brain. And he kept whispering words that were incomprehensible to her ears. She finally believed if she did not interrupt him, he might ignite into a blaze and set the old oak on fire.
In the actual novel, Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Constance says that she believes most women don’t just want the physical sex, and that it is “freedom from male oppression” that they really want. I plan to show how she attains this goal in her life. I got the idea from taking a grad school course on D. H. Lawrence, and I also had a vision of using the image from the Old Testament’s “Tree of Knowledge” as a symbolic standard by which Connie and Aaron learn to love each other more completely than she did with any other man. My deceased wife, Ellen, who taught Bible as Literature in college, also taught me, a non-Jew, about the implications and symbols used in Genesis. I will be using her assistance as well.
My subscribers will be able to read the completed story in this newsletter and can purchase the final anthology when it’s completed, with all the different stories included.
Here are sales websites where you can get “stocking eBook stuffers” of my latest work in stories and novels:
Get printed and audio versions at my online bookstore.
(Mystery Coloring Book)
Continuing Happy Holidays to you and yours,