In Stained Glass a 50s-something reporter, who has been jaded by overexposure to media hype and is cynical about every aspect of his wretched life, is given an assignment by his aging mother to complete the memoir of his great-great-grandfather Christopher Dryden. In the early 1870s Christopher had been sent on a mission to the boisterous Gold Rush town of Barkerville, BC, where a fund-raising campaign to install a stained glass window behind the alter of St. Saviour's Anglican Church (flickr image at right by jmegjmeg) turned into a heated controversy when it was revealed that the anonymous donor, who was covering most of the cost for the painted glass, was none other than the owner of the town's most notorious brothel...

Friday, May 28, 2010

From Anna's Diary - How do I love thee?

I don’t know how this is possible, but I find myself drawn to this man, this priest, Christopher Dryden. How can anything whole and healthy survive between us? I have led such a life that, even to tell it would shock him to the core. As for him, he leads a life I would find dreadfully boring. It’s all routines and ritual and sacrifice.

But still, I must admit to an unavoidable attraction. It has something to do with his pure convictions, and the way he looks at me, not as a woman so much as a work of art. I’m tired of being looked at as a woman, as an available woman, as a woman that miners can resort to when their passions must be relieved. I do want to leave this life of bondage to men’s crude lusts. But if that were my sole attraction to Christopher I would squash it underfoot.

The odd thing is, despite all his talk of creeds and salvation and eternal damnation, he has already forgiven me my sins without my having bowed to any of it. I can tell by the way he looks at me that Christopher cannot bear to condemn me to perdition. I am a torment to him, and a balm, and love being his perpetual contradiction in the flesh. In a peculiar way his perplexity delights me because it makes him fallible as well as pure. I do not want to destroy his faith, but am not content to leave it unchallenged. For in my heart I know he desires me as something more than an ideal, and I think he will be a lover such as I have never known.

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