Tuesday, 13 December 2011

My Parents

Born in 1947. Born in 1954. Started living under an assumed name five years before I was born. Inherited three different surnames from three different men. Married twice. Never married.  Has lived abroad since his youth. Still lives where she grew up. Left school at 15 to work in a glass factory. Left home at 18 and got married. Told his parents he was going on an archeological dig and ended up in Greece. Didn't talk with her parents for years. Sees her mother, now, almost every day. Saw his mother face-to-face three times in thirty years. Has eight brothers and sisters. Has two sisters and a brother who died. Lives on the coast. Lives in the suburbs. 
Met, once, thirty two years ago, in the lobby of Western Pest Control.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Day's Divinity

 Brando in Cannes, 1950s

OLD MAN (CONT’D)
In her bare feet she would come to me. She would fold herself against me, like that, her shape to mine, under the sheets. And I felt her there...Yes, and then I realised: she’d been out, at some point, out in the morning light. Blue morning twilight, that haze before dawn. Bright, but blue in the shade, that frail and fragile blue. That sheen of...not frost or dew, nothing so romantic as that--but simple condensation, darkening, dampening things. The shadows, all wet...And, somehow, yes, I could tell all this from the way that she felt against me, the way that she smelled. It was on her, her skin. Proof that she’d been out, you see. I could tell that she’d gone and then come back again to me...She was a very light sleeper, of course, and she would often wake at ungodly hours. Out of bed at five or six a.m., depending on the light. Maybe making herself a slice of toast, cups of tea.


 Florence Peterson, 1909

OLD MAN (CONT’D)
But the extraordinary thing...the miraculous thing...I realised...was that these weren’t my sensations...No, they weren’t mine...As I lay there with her: I was only half-awake, my face buried in the pillows and the crumpled bedding, but I suddenly felt that morning out there, the whole wide world, just as she must have felt it...moments before...outside in the open air...It was hers, you see. All hers. The prickling wet of the lawn, the sun miraculously rising, the day gradually warming. Yet, I could somehow feel it, in the arches of her feet, at the small of her back...I had pulled her close by this point, and I remember thinking to myself, guiltily, holding my breath: I don’t deserve this--any of this, this life that she was sharing. With me, for god’s sake. Me. (Pause.) Lying there, lying there with her lying next to me, I naturally said nothing. But, god, how I felt. Everything. Everything I was not.

Silence.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Correction

 Ravi Shankar in a paisley scarf

Read this in the NYT and thought it was funny (I have a strange sense of humour maybe...)
"Correction: October 29, 2011

The Books of The Times review on Tuesday recounted an anecdote in Ms. Tomalin’s book in which Dostoyevsky told of meeting Dickens. While others have also written of such a meeting and of a letter in which Dostoyevsky was said to have described it, some scholars have questioned the authenticity of the letter and whether the meeting ever occurred."

A picture I took forever ago in Devon...maybe. 

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Addressing the Infinite

There used to be a television programme I used to watch as a boy, called Read, Write, and Draw. Vincent Price was the host, and he must have been over eighty at the time. I couldn’t have been more than twelve. 


I watched it religiously. Not that it was on at any particular time. I would catch it, when flipping channels in the afternoon, or mid-morning if I stayed home sick from school. 

The set of Read, Write, and Draw was dressed to look like a kitchen for some reason, and old Vincent Price would be standing there in an apron, or a smock. The premise of the show was always obscure to me, other than the fact it did involve reading, writing, and drawing. Vincent would read stories aloud, in that familiar, haunting voice of his; he would then ask children to send in more stories for him to read—and after every story he would assign whoever was watching to draw him a picture, using the story he had just read as the inspiration, and to please send it in. Once every episode he would take time to present these drawings, holding them up to the camera and describing what he saw in the scrawls of crayon and magic marker: here is a cat, and here is George Washington and the cherry tree, and here is a firetruck. His hands would shake. He would always read out the children’s names and their ages too, before unveiling a drawing. Tobias, age 6. Bridget, age 10. And his hands would shake.

I would always wonder at this point whether I was the only one watching. I would always wonder if Vincent Price himself hadn’t made these drawings alone, with his shaky hands, shortly before the cameras began to roll.  


At the end of every episode he would read out a Florida address where this was all apparently filmed, and where his audience were meant to send in their pictures. And he would read the address very purposefully, taking almost dramatic pauses after every word, then each number of the zip code. The assumption being, I thought, that children everywhere were in front of their TV screens, crayon or magic marker in hand, taking this address down. 

I never did. I never took down the address or sent a drawing for Vincent to hold up to the camera. But I watched the show religiously. Meaning that I would watch and listen to the very end, always to the very end, every time I caught Vincent Price standing alone in that kitchen. Feeling guilty if I didn’t bear witness, feeling that I needed to understand, feeling that this was important but not quite understanding why.

Monday, 12 September 2011

All Things

Just a nice little image I found while on my current George Harrison binge...Everything at the moment seems to make me crave (along with cigarettes, coffee, love, rain, river-swimming, conversations in the park, books, beaches, beautiful skies, a little peace, a little visible breath) chilled-out domesticity...
Isn't it a pity?
Now, isn't it a shame?
How we break each other's hearts
And cause each other pain?
How we take each other's love
Without thinking anymore?
Forgetting to give back
Isn't it a pity?

Some things take so long
But how do I explain?
When not too many people
Can see we're all the same
And because of all their tears
Their eyes can't hope to see
The beauty that surrounds them
Isn't it a pity?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Museums and Women and Other Stories

Something about the cooling down of early Autumn has me not only remembering, sensually, newly sharpened pencils and eraser rinds and the eucalyptus leaves that used to shush me on my way to school--it also recalls the invariably foggy days I would be taken to Golden Gate Park as a boy. Specifically, if the September weather happens to be on the cusp of rain, it brings to mind wandering aimlessly through labyrinthine halls in the Academy of Sciences. The moody light and the cool, quiet corridors with their carpeted floors. The place has since been redeveloped, marble-floors put in, and most of the displays modernized. I've tried finding a picture of the way I remember the Simson African Hall looking back in the Eighties--dark, like a long abandoned airport lobby. At the far end, there was a Saharan scene that gradually, almost imperceptibly, would change from daylight to night, the sounds of the wildlife changing with it. But no pictures exist. It seems they've all be erased...But the stuffed animals remain, frozen in time.

MARY (CONT’D)
...It’s funny, because I myself did it for a time. For a time, you know, I assisted in a museum, as a kind of internship for things to come. Waiting for the kingdom. In my official looking uniform. Black, with pleats in the skirt, and with Mary Janes....This was before Oxford...And the museum: it was very--What’s the word, now? Such a lovely, lovely, spacious word. What is it? Like a maze. (Pause, then with a soft-I) Labyrinthine. (Hard-I this time) Labyrinthine. A labyrinthine museum, with labyrinthine galleries. Floors, upper and lower. And always, I’d be stationed in the basement. All the way down. Out of sight, out of...you know. Surrounded by all these forgotten relics, belongings and old bones nobody ever, ever came to visit...

She waits. She looks around for more visitors.
 
MARY (CONT’D)
Once in awhile we might get the missing link of an alligator chain down there: children who’d gone missing, strays wandering around, all holding hands, or linked arm in arm, and I would have to pretend. To look after them, I mean. Like I was their tour guide and these were my, you know, my charges...

She stands
.
VOICE (O.S.)
Mary.
Long pause. Again she awaits interruption, a voice from above.

MARY (CONT’D)
And I remember they used to forget, some nights, about me. Some nights, the people at the museum would just...leave me behind. Forgetting....The lights would go black and then I’d hear the locks...With my torch, I would wander around alone, waiting for something, I know not what, to just happen....And I soon found this big luxurious bed down there on the basement floor with me. An old four-poster, I’m talking about, built for kings and queens. And it was this that finally proved my undoing....I used to fall asleep there whenever I got left behind, you know, pulling the big thick heavy curtains all around me. Shutting out the world that had shut me out. Promising myself I’d somehow be renewed in the night, restorated. Dreaming, maybe, that I might awake, yes awake in some other place and time when I opened those velvet curtains again. But one morning I managed to oversleep and that was that. They found me. I ran away. I got sacked...(Pause.) I wasn’t even being paid, so what did it matter? I was just passing the time before I was due at Oxford. I didn’t really care, not really. This was only just the beginning, this stint of mine at the museum. Haven’t thought about it in years...  
  
(This is from an 'experimental' play I just finished... with apologies to Mrs Basil E. Frankenweiler) 

Monday, 5 September 2011

Gib ein kleines Zeichen

Courtesy of Nathalia Terza

He started with fairytales, these little stories he’d make up for imaginary children, younger versions of himself, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t maybe try doing the same. Just begin with wonder, begin with unformed dreams, and work your way back: this, I suppose, is the first thing I learned from him. I’m not sure if the image is his or mine anymore, but I see my beginning, here, writing this all down, rather like digging in the undergrowth, getting at the roots underneath. Or, just as likely (this one is definitely his) closing your eyes underwater and, in that darkness, sensing the magic play of light, groping for it.


There was something in the walls of the house. I’d only been there a night, maybe two, when I decided there was something creeping through the wall space, in those underappreciated gaps between one room and the next: a flutter along the hallway skirting, a thump inside a cupboard, whispers in the ceilings and hardwood floors. Infrequent but noticeable, these weren’t even sounds so much as sensations, shifts in atmosphere. There was something invisible in the house’s anatomy, I realised, more than just the usual insulation and plumbing, and it was shifting around. It seemed to follow me around the house. I imagined, at times, the wallpaper rippling with goosebumps. I’d be sitting there, alone in this big empty stranger’s house, and I’d suddenly get startled by some little change in the room’s ambience. I’d look up from whatever I was doing (reading, most likely, struggling to absorb words on the page) and I’d wait. I’d wait like anyone does who’s about to be caught. It was like some sort of private seance: I’d stare up at the ceiling or over at the bookcase, just waiting for whatever was inside the walls to come out and reveal itself. I’d sit there listening, and in that re-focussed silence, that distillation of quiet, I always thought I could hear something or someone listening back. Then, just as quick as it had arrived, it would disappear, and the silence would again lose its flicker of personality. 

The first few times it happened, I forgot about it, as anyone would, putting it down to old houses on the edge of the city and returning to my heartbreak, my dizzy spells, my reading, my whole nervous enterprise. But it kept on happening. That invisible presence kept returning, kept sidling up on me unawares. It was frustrating. I’d hear its little noises, my awareness would bridle, and I’d look around desperately trying to locate it—but still, nothing. Just this tight-lipped house, and the tail of a Felix the Cat clock in the far off kitchen ticking away. The eyes, I'd imagine, going back and forth, back and forth.

 Courtesy of Nathalia Tereza

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Soulful Resonances

Today I awoke and opened a novel that I completed nearly 2 years ago and haven't looked at for some time. It fell open to page 165, and this was the paragraph I read...

 
He recognised that Susanna's presence was still trailing through him electrically. What he really wanted, now, was to prolong the sense that he was still with her, caught up with her story, that their lives hadn't now gone their separate directions. Her dextrously long-fingered hand had, at one point, slid to him from the opposite side of the kitchen table, helping to emphasise something she was saying, and though she hadn't reached him where he was sitting, she had come close. He could still see her hand there, lying slender and flat before him. It hadn't touched him, but something inside him certainly had been, and was still resonating. He almost felt he had just learned, in remedial fashion, some new style of being-with-a-woman.  (from Transatlantic)

Sunday, 3 July 2011

White Nights

'But how beautiful people are when they are gay and happy! How brimful of love their hearts are! It's as though they wanted to pour their hearts into the heart of another human being, as though they wanted the whole world to be gay and laugh with them.'--Dostoyevsky, 'White Nights'

Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Upstairs Room

A new play.


I've been busy and, also, taking a breather at the same time (this involved, incidentally, quitting cigarettes and coffee). But I will try and start writing here again, sometime soon. As of right now, all the time I used to reserve for the odd blog post has been given to jumping in rivers, primarily at night.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Little Dreams, Little Earthquakes

Sleep and I have long been in an abusive relationship. We need counseling. We don't communicate, we linger in separate rooms until it's rather late. Nor have affairs with cigarettes and enumerable cups of coffee helped the matter.

Often, lately, I'll awake on the verge of settling down under the sheets, on the cusp of some dream, and I feel myself shaking slightly, My heart racing, my entire body full of little tremors. Like an inability to let myself go entirely, to sink, hanging onto wakefulness with one last digit and flailing above the abyss.

Interesting that people typically reach for the same metaphor--falling--to describe both the act of sleep and those initial, reckless pangs of love. Both can have the significance of a leap of faith, a hope that you will come out the other side complete, intact.
Interestingly, I've don't think I experience these little earthquakes, these trains passing through the tunnels of sleep when I'm sleeping with someone close by (otherwise, they would have surely told me)...

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Browsing for Love

The first of two new plays I've written, both of which are being produced over the next seven weeks...As I mentioned last time, this one's about two book-festishists who meet in a bookshop (she works there, he's just browsing) and then fall madly, etc, etc.

The Albion Beatnik, Walton Street, Oxford, from 31st May-2nd June. Tickets are £5.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Starbursts

There are currently two photography books I want (I'm currently rehearsing a play about people wanting books, although the books themselves are just symbols for more oceanic desires). 
The great Hatje Cantz publishers put out a book last year called Starburst: Color Photography in America 1970-1980. The above image by Mitch Epstein is on the cover. Consider it a celebration of Kodachrome that includes the likes of obvious entries like Stephen Shore and William Christenberry.
In the meantime, Hatje Cantz has come out with a new monograph of Fred Herzog's amazing work from the early Sixties, when hardly anyone was doing 'street' photography in colour.
I've been poring over these pages in the Blackwells Art and Poster shop in Broad Street, embarrassed because I can't afford them and I instead have to make due with sitting on a stoop in the photography corner and trying to absorb the imagery.


Incidentally, Starbursts were a candy I rather liked when I was young and it occurs to me now that they might not exist in their original form anymore. Which would be sad. Each cube of taffy was wrapped perfectly in its out color-themed envelope. A little parcel, or present, you could save individually. My favourite, if I remember right, was always the yellows. I wonder, now, what strange and Proustian memories would come hurtling back to me were I to taste one again. Visits to the swimming pool, most likely...Hiding on the playground...All those quiet, sacramental moments we soon forget by never really lose.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Lonesome Lights

An excerpt from my exhibition essay:


Lonesome Lights
When I was a boy, my father lived in a blue beach house with a long deck. Along the railing, one Christmas, he wound a long, heavily bulbed string of Christmas lights. For nearly a decade afterwards there they remained, features of the house. This always felt a little sad to me: the lights would only ever get switched on for occasions or moments my father would deem special, on summer nights or on foggy afternoons.

Each bulb was about the size of a wine cork, just big enough to grasp entirely in your hand. Their flaking green, red, and blue enamel, subject for so long to Californian weather systems, had forsaken its gleam. They were rough to the touch, I remember. A third of them, maybe, fizzled rather than burned as normal lights do, and a handful were shattered entirely. However, these lights still held for me a shoddy magic all their own. Freed from their festive purpose, they took on a paradoxical effect, a dull splendor, a crummy sacredness.

I’m still sensitive to that memory: the melancholy of those busted-up Christmas lights, redeemed somehow by their tired, hungry resilience.  I feel a pang whenever I think about them. 


Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Sudden Walk

'When it seems we have finally decided to stay home of an evening, have slipped into our smoking jackets, are sitting at a lit table after supper, and have taken out some piece of work or game at the conclusion of which we customarily go to bed, when the weather outside is inclement, which makes it perfectly understandable that we are staying at home, when we have been sitting quietly at our table for so long that our going out would provoke general astonishment , when the stairwell is dark and the front gate is bolted, and when, in spite of it all, in a sudden access of restlessness, we get up, change into a jacket, and straightaway look ready to go out, and after a brief round of goodbyes actually do so, leaving behind a great or lesser amount of irritation depending on the noise we make closing the front door behind us, when we find ourselves down on the street, with limbs that respond to the unexpected freedom they have come into with particular suppleness, when by this one decision we feel all the decisiveness in us mobilized, when we recognize with uncommon clarity that we have more energy than we need to accomplish and to withstand the most abrupt changes, and when in this mood we walk down the longest streets--then for the duration of that evening we have escaped our family once and for all, so it drifts into vapourousness, whereas we ourselves, as indisputable and sharp and black as a silhouette, smacking the backs of our thighs, come into our true nature. 
And all this may even be accentuated if, at this late hour, we go to seek out some friend, to see how he is doing.' Franz Kafka 1913

This first picture, of the vase, was taken in late November, inside a Greek restaurant. The last photo was taken strolling down beside the Botanic Gardens last month, before the blossoms had come out, the wisteria bloomed.

I currently have a cold, and I'm having to soak up the first real spell of summery Oxford weather through a scarf. Yet, somehow, the idea of a sudden walk in the middle of night sounds very very appealing. All this late sunlight has been making for lilac evenings. Lonely twilight pooling with possibility.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Autochrome

I need to do some more research into this, but it is beginning to dawn on me that Autochrome Lumiere (an early colour photography process using glass plates and dyed potato starch) may have everything that film photography strives for. The above picture was taken on Christmas Day 1913 by Mervyn O'Gorman, an enigmatic aviator and balloonist. The fact this is a young woman, a skyline, a beach, a lovely red parka, a breath, and a moment nearly 100 years behind us (and yet so sumptuously present) astounds me. It makes me, myself, breath more heavily, feel myself here looking at this faraway world as if through a telescope, across galaxies. 
The two plates above and below are examples of the wonderful Heinrich Kuhn's work circa 1910. It is said he was desperate to make photography as respectable as painting. Personally, I think he went a step further and unraveled a kind of impressionism out of everyday life. It offers almost instant nostalgia to see the way the lawns and meadows always blur in his photographs.  
O'Gorman's model was named Catherine and she may have been his daughter, or his niece, no one is certain. Recently she appeared on the early UK editions of Kazuo Ishiguro's Never Let Me Go.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Lightfools

Photography Exhibition I've put together with friends. It opens on the 14th at 7.30. All welcome.

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools

  
When I used to ask my grandfather, an old retired paleontologist, what my grandmother was like when he met her, because I loved my grandmother more than anyone alive on earth, he would always respond with a question of his own. 'Which time?' he would ask. Later, when I was much older, he would liken his answer to those overlain cave paintings he'd seen--entwined lion tails or horses flank by flank--carbon dated whole millennia apart. The fact was, my grandparents had met, fleetingly, a number of times before settling on one another, before impressing themselves fully into each others lives. Afterwards, always remembering one another fondly, but never quite managing an actual relationship, at least not in the traditional sense. For years and years they were more like acquaintances, stumbling past each other, wielding various obstacles like so many rain-dampened parcels: other people they happened to be dating at the time, mean geographical differences, conflicting job opportunities. They would meet, take a breath together, then be on their way again. A whole narrative of quickly taken coffees, nervous updates, and pregnant pauses. Awkward farewells at bus stops, postcard gestures. But still, still, the lingering in the memory, the smiles and the adoration they kept to heart. Once, grandfather told me, he had spotted her faraway in the British Museum, between the mummies and papyri, and felt as though he could marry her there and then, right in that cool and hallowed room: but the marriage, in fact, didn't happen for another decade, in Sienna of all places. Sometimes I think of them, these separate people, still young, still yet to become themselves and lying in their separate beds at night, worlds apart, and yet their future lives so entwined, the souls of one another burning secretly somewhere on the horizon. Their love, extended and timeless, like caves waiting to be discovered, pyramids lying in wait. 

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Plumblossom Pauses


So less heartbreak...Sunday calm, missing trains up north, moving house, writing plays, and surviving long nights behind the bar. This is my life at the moment.

Packing and unpacking again, for the second time in six months, I realised with some relief that this new room, this new bed, are my own. Since 2009, I've been an interloper in other people's homes, lodging existentially, and now I finally have my own space again. My own space. A space I can look forward to returning to at the end of a night.

(Even as my books lay around me in disarray and my picture frames remain stacked on the dresser.)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Miss November, Forever Ago

Sometimes, I take portraits but (like the invisible boy) only when no one's looking...




Saturday, 26 March 2011

Everything

Less heartbreaking thoughts will follow shortly. That's a promise...

But I was just floored tonight by this interview with Ingmar Bergman, late in his life. It was from Swedish television, so these are just the subtitles. But still...Literature, I think, strives for this kind of truth, this kind of open-hearted disclosure. He has just been asked how he feels about death, and this is how he answers...

We had an agreement, we even used to joke about it...

I would die first.

Ingrid would sit with me and hold my hand. Ingrid would be the last person I saw. She was going to take over everything on Fåro and everything was to go on as before.

And then this happened...Probably the cruelest thing to befall me in my life and which has crippled me. Ingrid suddenly died.

Not suddenly, it took a year.

To go on living now is for me so utterly irrelevant. I try...I try to fill in the gaps in my knowledge. I try to keep my life in order. I keep set hours. I get up at six in the morning. I work methodically until noon. Then there's the theatre. I try to maintain a strict order.

To me...To me life itself is a heavy burden. That I'm never going to see Ingrid again...is to me deeply distressing. It's a dreadful thought.

You see, I really felt that Ingrid was still there. I had an uninterrupted conversation going on with her. She wasn't altogether gone, she was still near.

But then my notions of life and death as existence and non-existence clashed violently. That means I'll never again see Ingrid.

Then Erland [Josephson] and I had a good conversation about it, which meant an awful lot to me.

Erland asked: "What are your thoughts on the matter?" I said: "I'm very doubtful at the moment...But I think I'll see Ingrid again." Because I do believe in other realities, I always have. I think I'll meet Ingrid again. And Erland wisely replied: "So affirm that belief."

And that's what I've been doing. I'm not actually afraid of dying.



Erland Josephson and Liv Ullman in Saraband, Bergman's last film

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Late Night Freudian Slips


Today I gave a two hour lecture on literature and Oxford to the loveliest group of Japanese mature-students. Their kindness overwhelmed me, especially considering all that their country has recently been through. Then, later today at work, postcards for the relief effort, with the phrase 'I Heart Japan' in Japanese characters (all except the heart, that is, which had a little map of the islands instead).

Carrying around all this information in my head for the past 48 hours, I'm now spent and seriously tired, and yet I've been staring at this picture for the last ten minutes on my bed, utterly mesmerized, in a sleepy haze. It's a photo by Clifford Coffin, showing a very young Lucian Freud in his studio. It's in the placement of his hands, his eyes, that shadow falling softly on his face: something startling and wild and yet very very serene. Dark and gentle as a moonlit night. It is easily, without a doubt, one of the most impressive portraits I've ever seen...

I may use it in a book one day, probably soon.

This is a detail from Freud's Girl with a Cat taken by me on my last visit to the Tate. The girl who was standing beside me as I took it, afterwards lifted her hand, as in the picture, and smiled at me. I didn't know her.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Knowing Your Bones

Words I read the other day, a little lost, a little caffeinated, and made me think of someone faraway, quite suddenly, quietly working, and of myself, what it is we must try to do:

'There is something you find interesting, for a reason hard to explain. It is hard to explain because you have never read it on any page...



'There you begin. You were made and set here to give voice to this, your own astonishment. "The most demanding part of living a lifetime as an artist is the strict discipline of forcing oneself to work steadfastly along the nerve of one's own most intimate sensitivity." Anne Truitt, the sculptor, said this. Thoreau said it another way: know your own bone. "Pursue, keep up with, circle round and round your life...Know your own bone: gnaw at it, bury it, unearth it, and gnaw at it still..."

'The body of literature, with its limits and edges, exists outside some people and inside others. Only after the writer lets literature shape her can she perhaps shape literature. In working-class France, when an apprentice got hurt, or when he got tired, the experienced workers said, "It is the trade entering his body." The art must enter the body, too.

'A painter cannot use paint like glue or screws to fasten down the world...You adapt yourself, Paul Klee said, to the contents of the paintbox. Adapting yourself to the contents of the paintbox, he said, is more important than nature and its study. The painter, in other words, does not fit paints to the world. He most certainly does not fit the world to himself. He fits himself to the paint. The self is the servant who bears the paintbox and its inherited contents...




'Push it. Examine all things intensely and relentlessly. Probe and search each object in a piece of art. Do not leave it, do not course over it, as if it were understood, but instead follow it down until you see in it the mystery of its own specificity and strength....

'Admire the world for never ending on you--as you would admire and opponent, without taking your eyes from him, or walking away...



Then this last thing, this last revolutionary thought, which left me breathless, sitting there with my mug of coffee and the daylight churning over the street, clouds racing like eyes over a page:

'
One of the few things I know about writing is this: spend it all, shoot it, play it, lose it, all right away, every time. Do not hoard what seems good for a later place in the book, or for another book; give it, give it all, give it now...[Otherwise] anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.'

All quotes from Chapter Five of The Writing Life by Annie Dillard.

[Untitled Drawings by Louise Bourgeois. Book, entitled Wound, by Anish Kapoor]

Sunday, 20 March 2011

They Say It's Spring


Today, the first day of a new season, and the light suddenly changes and the clocks prepare to jump. (Dreams last night of running a marathon, down old streets, miraculously faster than I ever dreamed my legs could carry me.)

Pictures by Huldero and Geraud