He had lived in the rectory for over 35 years. When he had arrived to take care of the parish, people had soon introduced him to their daughters for he was young, unmarried, of a well known family. But … Continue reading
The shallow hole the boy had dug became deeper with time as he scooped out the red colored clay the ground was made of. He filtered it through his hands, taking out stones, sticks, decomposed leaves and roots. Punching and smoothing it he compacted the clay to one block, thus slowly building up a monolith from clay. He devoted great care to this process, making sure that he would have a structurally sound mass with which to work. Over the course of building hundreds of small people from mud he had gotten quite skilled at this craft. Only when he was content with the sound that a slap against the block produced, a deep, saturated thud, would he proceed to sculpt. With deliberate slowness he worked from the general form to the details. Many times a form had collapsed when he had tried to overemphasize a movement or had placed the limbs too far outside the center of gravity. In the beginning he had tried to use sticks to support an arm reaching out or a leg stepping forward and though technically that solution had worked he didn’t like that the figure now seemed to defy the laws of gravity that nature put on the material and form. It was thus almost impossible by the mere use of sticks and clay alone to sculpt an outreached limb that looked natural. So he had returned to work from the inner core of the material and to rather hint at a movement that – though invisible – the eye would project into the empty space. He was always intrigued by what he could see without seeing it. He liked the way his sculptures randomly related to one another, all he had to do was to quietly look at both sculptures and discover this relationship of forms. Something deep inside him stirred when he looked at his creations and their silent endurance. He could see the form of the space in between two physical forms, it was nothing and yet visible if one cared to look, it changed constantly, stretched and diminished, even disappeared. It was actually easier for him to comprehend the properties of this in between space than the form itself. You could get out of the trajectory of any moving object if you controlled that space. If you made that space in between adhere to your inner voice you did not need sticks to build a figure. Why, you barely needed your hands, all you had to do was to look long and hard, look at the clay monolith and make some slight adjustments. Soon his people were crouching, stretching, running, turning. He took great pleasure from this.
His father began to take notice too. One night when he had returned home from the workshop the little garden patch had first caught his attention. In the twilight the clay sculptures his son had build in the afternoon had a strange quality of perfection. There were seven fresh sculptures, six of them crouching on the ground, the seventh a small figure in flight, emerging out of a block of brick-colored earth, running.
From a distance it had seemed that all sculptures possessed distinct personalities and bore individual facial features. Something about these features seemed oddly familiar to the stonemason. Upon closer inspection he realized though that the impression of an actually sculpted face dissipated from a nearer perspective – but reinstated itself the moment he stepped back like a magical trick. The inability to confirm his initial finding, to come closer to the truth, was intriguing to him. He asked himself how a not yet six year old child could have created such a sophisticated illusion. He didn’t ever doubt that the impression was created deliberately. He studied the people his son had made for a long time. Inside the house the light from the boy’s bedroom shone dimly through the drawn curtains.
“I will be back.” Was it even meant to be a promise or rather the a mere, impulsive expression of an intent? The gargoyle pondered this question over many days, even weeks after the mason had left. He remembered the … Continue reading
He was but a gargoyle, a stone image. How the gift of sentient observation had come to him he did not know any more than man knew where the soul originated. From his place on the roof he observed … Continue reading
For the stonemason in particular the death of his stillborn son felt like a betrayal. It was as if he had livd in the never acknowledged faith that his profession granted him some kind of special reprieve from death, that someone had agreed to that it was not to occur in his private life as long as he continued to carve memorials for the dead, and that this someone now had let him down. He was an atheist in the service of the church and loosing his unborn child felt like a disciplinary measure for his godlessness. Like many atheists he had a system of inner convictions that replaced religion. He did not believe in a creator, an organizer, a final judge, and yet he felt like he had fallen from grace.
Iris quietly lived in the shadow of their loss, simply mourning and nourishing the inconceivable thought that they should now never know him, their son, certainly not by the way of a new pregnancy as friends and relatives suggested. These well-meaning people did not realize that the depth of her grief was rooted in the very circumstances that they thought would alleviate the loss – the fact that neither she nor anybody else had ever seen this child alive; that it had in fact never been born in the true sense as he had died in utero. Her grief was that her child had lived, if ever so briefly, unknown to her, and that she would never know it. She sat at the kitchen table with her encyclopedia and with a three hair sable brush paint stamp-sized paintings on miniature panels of oak wood while thinking about all the small things she would not ever know about her son. She wouldn’t know his face. She wouldn’t know the sound of his voice. She would never hear him laugh. She would never hold him in her arms. And yet he had lived.
I’d like to think of drawing as of transforming raw data with my pen to “mean” a specific thing and not another though it is not in the nature of data to actually be one specific thing to the exclusion of all other possible “things” (meaning, manifested form, reality) in all their variations (written and unwritten) any more than a child’s building block used in a fleeting structure soon to be knocked over is identical with that intended structure’s purpose or “meaning”. A building block stays a building block, a zero stays a zero and a one stays a one no matter what it is used to communicate. It assumes a participating function in the meaning of one thing ( and not another ) but it also creates that one thing without adopting its separate ( separate from other possible thing’s) nature simply by describing it. The “thing” actually has no separate ( from other possible thing’s) nature – it is but a description of the configuration of the raw data (building blocks) at a specific moment from a specific perspective. So that, at any given moment, any thing, rearranged, could be (and is) any other thing, idea, let’s call it “book”, existing or non-existing, written and unwritten, in all possible variations. I assume that would upon further reflection have to be one of the conclusions drawn of the cosmology principle but I am getting a bit out of my depth here.
All we ever do in life is to assume a specific perspective to describe what is really a homogeneous distribution of raw data – each one of us is, with other words, but a specific, erratic close up view of that homogeneous distribution. We have no separate nature. The “separateness” of our nature not only of one thing to the exclusion of all other possible things but also of the experiencing “conscience”, the “I” to the exclusion of all other possible perspective’s (you, the other) is clearly illusional, possibly delusional.
It is Borges’ library that makes another appearance in this drawing meditation. One of the themes that is never far off my mind. How does our mind chooses the images that are essential for its own comprehension of the world? How come an image such as Borges library can be so powerful that it assumes an reality of its own, in an alternate universe not so far of our own house number? Just try a different key, open a small door you have never quite paid attention to before and beyond you will find the octagonal library with all possible version of all possible books, written and unwritten … my kind of paradise.
It can’t be helped, I guess, but once in the twelve nights Yggdrasil is bound to show up. I do not observe Ragnarök, I do not live by the old Norse Tales nor by their subscription into a modern … Continue reading
the shadows were moving slowly, swaying like branches in a light breeze or high buildings on a windy day. to detect purpose in these gentle movements required a slight degree of paranoia, and yet there was no apparent natural cause to explain the shift of the shadows away from their corresponding objects and towards the center of the village like water draining from upset glasses.
finally, there were just a bits of shadow left, like drops in a sink adhering to the enamel by their surface tension. these droplets of shadow were sparkling like rainbows, no grayness reflected. the air was still and non-expectant, noon in a depressed small town, and the realization that the world was without shadows had not yet sunk in. in a dirty jeep, parked close to the village center, a woman lit a marlboro
even those who had dismissed the shadows as inessential, felt disconcerted when the birds ceased to sing. on the morning of the third day, after a dawn without luminosity had given way to dull day light, small insects began their crawling procession towards the centers that had swallowed the shadows.
and someone laughed at the gray man in his wrinkle free woolen suit who solicited signatures on retro-active insurance policies. “one day only”, he implored, “an amazing offer”, but they shooed him away while watching the myriad of tiny, scarlet colored spiders tie a living ribbon between the outskirts of the village and the shadow drain.
and yet, the spiders said, too easily do you accept that we form a living ribbon, and wander into oblivion. one by one. what to your eyes a living ribbon is, to ours is a band of pain, and joy, and hope against all odds.