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Desert places - shadows of echoes of memories of songs
j4
j4
Desert places
In a school Art lesson once we were asked to sketch an arrangement of chairs by drawing not the solid objects, but the spaces between them. As a practical exercise it soon grew tiresome, and resulted in a fairly unremarkable charcoal line-drawing; but as a conceptual exercise it taught me a whole new way of seeing things.

The more you look for the spaces between things, the more real they become. A tree becomes a crazy patchwork of spaces, railings become carefully-suspended panels of air, and your lover’s hands become claws of absence interlaced with his half-remembered fingers. Even when there was nothing else to believe in, you believed in the solidity of everyday things; this new vision shatters that belief.

Houses become a relentless parade of emtpy rooms. You could watch the windows explode in a bombed building and all you would see would be the shards of space between the glass. This is the triumph of form over meaning.

If you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. Your body becomes a network of nothingness: your lungs are a million gasps of air, your ribs cannot cage the slabs of void between them. Your heart is nothing but a handful of holes, and the emptiness in your mouth is shaped exactly like a cry.

The page runs white with rivers of emptiness, and these words are just a series of misshapen silences strung together like beads on a thread.
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Comments
From: kaet Date: March 15th, 2004 04:10 am (UTC) (Link)
I've a book on architecture called space is the machine which considers buildings, and cities, as their spaces and how plans are often the "inverse" of how people see them.
j4 From: j4 Date: March 15th, 2004 04:19 am (UTC) (Link)
Sounds fascinating. It seems to be out of print, can I borrow your copy some time?

(Will try the CUP shop anyway, since it's one of theirs; they might have a copy kicking around...)
From: angua Date: March 15th, 2004 05:12 am (UTC) (Link)
Just for reference (although I think you'll be out of luck)

HB sbn 052156039X
PB sbn 052164528X

Both went out of print on 11th May 2001

Ahhh working inside CUP sometimes has it's advantages :)
From: kaet Date: March 15th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Out of print? That's a scandal! :)

I did indeed buy it, originally, from your fine shop near Great St Mary's.
From: angua Date: March 15th, 2004 05:25 am (UTC) (Link)
Heh, I just looked up the possibility of including it in the digital reprint program as a title to bring back..

Unfortunately we can't in this department as it has 7 colour plates in it and we don't reproduce colour in the digital reprint programme :/

I have to say it's the first time I've almost found a random book we could have brought back though
From: kaet Date: March 15th, 2004 05:20 am (UTC) (Link)
Sure. I'll pop it round some time.
(Deleted comment)
j4 From: j4 Date: March 15th, 2004 06:27 am (UTC) (Link)
Just looked for it on all the decent booksearch sites I know -- no joy anywhere. :-(
oldbloke From: oldbloke Date: March 15th, 2004 04:45 am (UTC) (Link)
"your lover’s hands become claws of absence interlaced with his half-remembered fingers"

How long have you been writing poetry then?
j4 From: j4 Date: March 15th, 2004 04:58 am (UTC) (Link)
Most of my life, off and on. Some of the slightly less cringeworthy stuff is on the web, but even that's mostly crap teeny-angst nonsense.

Haven't written much for a while.
From: tamsinj Date: March 15th, 2004 05:45 am (UTC) (Link)
it seemed like an ordinary LJ post, but then it went around the back of my mind and *twisted*.

impressed
addedentry From: addedentry Date: March 15th, 2004 07:17 am (UTC) (Link)
YA Rachel Whiteread AICMTP
nilasae From: nilasae Date: March 15th, 2004 07:48 am (UTC) (Link)
Whoa - somehow unsettling but fascinating.
Did I tell you that I envy you for being able to write this way?
vinaigrettegirl From: vinaigrettegirl Date: March 17th, 2004 06:30 am (UTC) (Link)

generalising beyond the data

I read similar advice about seeing like a Real Artist in a book I read as an impressionable eight year old. I tried doing one of my mom's conceptual diagnostic tests that way (drawing three interlocking rings as arrangements of spaces) and she said, years later, that it was the hardest way to do that test that anyone could have devised and moreover no other child she had used it with had ever done it that way: why did I do things the hard way?

Secondly, yes, the spaces have reality, but that reality doesn't necessarily negate other realities. Yes, you have written vastly poetically. But your poetic vision isn't the sole and necessary outcome of the artistic vision of space which you learnt about. Spaces can be freeing, can be doorways, canvasses, rivers, corridors of communication. Even broken windows can let out stale air. Abysses can have eagles flying in them. Black holes contain credit cards and the housekeys to millions of houses.

And your words - as the reactions of your friends show - aren't a series of misshapen silences. You write beautifully.
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