the m john harrison blog

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To write anything you have to let go & descend floatily & yet at vast speed through terraced self-awareness, layer by layer, directly into a canyon wider at the top narrower deep down. No one ever hits the bottom anyway, a non-physics fact which I think Milton & others may have missed out on when they said the word “fall”. There really is nowhere to go, only the flutter of your clothes in the turbulence, which I take it base jumpers know more about than most.

If I had a familiar it would resemble less a nervous exotic animal than a chipped enamel sink. You would not find it on my shoulder but in its natural environment at the bottom of a derelict canal in the industrial Midlands. Our connection would be the source of my special powers, which would neither mimic nor metaphorise its qualities but be unmistakably sink-related. I would feel no emotion towards it even when events caused us to be separated and tortured. A sink can feel nothing. That is the baseline or default quality of a sink. But wherever I went I would know that out there, bedded beneath the slow black water, never more than a mile or two from my present location, its energies focussed, site-specific and calm, there my sink would be.

The Russians sent tortoises into space in 1968. You couldn’t make it up. All I remember from the time is being bitterly frustrated when no one came back from low earth orbit as a walking cactus & had to be incinerated after they infested the Houses of Parliament.

street etiquette

Two people get out of their cars, slam the doors and greet each other– “Orright?” –in unison but an octave apart. The knack of “Orright?” is to pitch it as if the other person is at the far end of the village, even when they’re three feet away. It should sound cheerful, with a little musical lilt, but also imply that you have errands.

wrong

Affront the idea of narrative or affront the idea of people, never both. If you affront one of those systems of belief (that story is possible, central & worthwhile, & that character is fixed enough to generate “motive” & not the constantly shifting product of relations at another level) the commentariat will simply assume you’re incompetent or mad. But affront both & they’re up on the roof in an instant, wearing some kind of old sleepwear, ringing the bell & warning this little Texas town, “Wrong! Oh! Wrong!” while you try to sneak away like a fake Mexican wrestler on a stolen horse in the night, someone who has unsuccessfully bet against himself & the system he once loved etc etc.

empty space, what it means

Catherine Malabou: “a ground is also an abyss, and at this very moment when I was building this ground, I was also saying farewell to it.”

#1 in a series of found explanations.

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