Thursday, May 16, 2013

unlikely origami

I’ve spent a few recent Mondays drinking cheap tea and making notes in a slightly sticky seafront cafĂ©.  There are windows to my left and right.  I can look out to sea - and see a tide that is heaving and groaning, and like me seems to still be chewing over a recent conversation.  I can look to my right and notice one yellowed globe among all the lights.  I can look further inland and see a blue scaffolding net chopping in the wind.  I can get lost for a while in the archipelago of rust on the serviette holder and realise a phrase like that will always have far too many syllables to work in haiku!  

And then I can be surprised when a character from a haiku I wrote ten years ago walks through the door.  

you fold my face in half
and slide me under the leg
of your wobbly chair

There she is – the folded woman from my photo.  A scar stretched taut across her cheek – smoothed with flesh-coloured filler – but clear from ear to chin.  One third of her portrait tucked back on itself.  Once used to give a millimetre boost to someone who needed it.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

circles in the sand

Sharing creative space has more benefits than drawbacks.  It allows for unexpected eddies of idea to flow back and forth across a table, across a room.  While I hold pen she holds hook or needle.  Sentences tangle across my page while woollen circles come to life in her hands.

I see the things she has made in ways other than she intended.  My writer’s eye turns them into creatures from beneath the sea - sponges and anemones.  Unlikely lichens crusting strange trees.  

I see pieces that draw in on themselves and others that sprawl, refusing to have a uniform outline.  I see ones that are dense and others that are wiling to let light through.  I realise that all of these accusations can be levelled at my writing.  The  company of her crocheted clouds keeps me warm.

Before too long my first word doily is taking shape on my page.  I turn the paper as I work.  My letters are stitches, my phrases chains.  I start off neater than I finish.  My written hand loses meaning – the words become mere wiggled lines of ink.  And in this form even my errors start to appeal.  A wonky letter or a word repeated where it shouldn’t be – my equivalent of a dropped stitch, a loose section. 

From a distance, like an overheard conversation, only the pattern vaguely recognisable – but as you draw closer, words and perhaps meaning start to take shape.