objects as yet unseen

Implacable calm of the water. No horizon line. Heat blurs the edges of the air before eight in the morning. Distant objects–hikers on the cliffs, seabirds on the harbour mole–seem too large. Everything like a film, wrapped in cameraman sublime, documentary sublime. Light, silhouettes, warmth like a perfect saturated colour, all at once. South coast as Salton Sea. Wandering dazzled between the net shops and the fish stalls, I read “locally sourced” as “locally soured”; later, have a dream in which I am a painting by Anne Redpath. My whole life has become lodged in a few daisies, some grapes in a bowl. As the dream progresses I’m in more and more paintings. Whole rooms of myself, whole shows, stretch back for years, done out in the chalky greys of degreased paint. All my objects look calm but raw. Everything seems deliberately unfinished, wilfully unseen (or as-yet-unseen). A kind of indoor weathering has taken place on every surface. Every morning the shore is full of toddlers who don’t want to go somewhere. They’re sitting down, they’re kicking their legs, they’re repeating the same couple of words fifteen times in a row. You have to admire their commitment. But eventually even these athletes of the self will find themselves reconciled to the understanding that nothing you want–or don’t want–fits your fantasy of it, leaving you free not to want anything any more.

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9 Comments

Filed under landscape, lost & found

9 responses to “objects as yet unseen

  1. I like the writing in this; it’s nice and lyrical

  2. The cliffs look like they’ve been whitewashed from a distance as if the artisan of creation frowned at them and said “I’ll just cover that up for now and pick a more interesting color later.”

  3. Chris Lites

    Very nice. Makes me want to start editing my project on the local level. A bit daunting in comparison.

  4. j

    Sorry about asking here but I don’t have a twitter account . Why did amazon cancel (it just disappeared) my Empty Space order and is there anywhere else I can order it from because now amazon says they have no copies. Sorry again.

  5. uzwi

    Hi J. Amazon cancelled your pre-order because they aren’t allowed to sell the UK edition of the book. But you can buy it just as easily from the Book Depository, here–

    http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Empty-Space-MJohn-Harrison/9780575096301

  6. j

    Thanks for that.

  7. uzwi

    My pleasure.

  8. Mike, a very happy birthday to you (Twitter account protected so you wouldn’t have seen otherwise). Hope you enjoyed the air museum. All best, MikeM

  9. whiteonesugar

    Just collected my trade paperback… It is staring at me, tempting me into a lapse of professional probity. Mind you, I was fairly excited when I collected Stonemouth and that has been a surprisingly flat waste of talent. I wonder if it was a case of too much fun too little effort for IB.