shoes are wet. I can feel the canvas tighten as my feet begin to
swell, soaking up the salt water. It has happened again and
this time it is much, much more burdensome.
can't be fifteen or twenty minutes since I stepped out onto the
dry cobbles, breathing in the sweet evening air and wiping, fruitlessly,
at the dust that still covers my shirt and trousers.
walk to the only local store that stays open this late is a short
one but the evening was magical. I was glad that I'd been forced
out into it. It occurred to me that on some days the very essence
of every real reason there is to keep going hangs as vapour in the
air outside one's door. You could easily stay inside, but it will
be sheer luck, not your work, that brings you through till morning.
This was just a passing thought. I doubt I really believe it.
crossed the threshold from the false Victoriana of the cobbled Mews
and stepped onto paved reality. The quiet corner strewn, as usual,
with used prophylactics and the crumpled elbows of well-finished
roaches. Reality kicks in hard beyond my street. But the whispering
through the leaves of the trees above was party to the reality this
evening, and much bigger and more imposing than the rubbish on the
periphery. I followed the trunk of the tree to my left with my eyes,
inwardly embarrassed that I couldn't identify it. I know my wood
as slabs and blocks. I know it by grain and hardness and its reaction
to certain stains. When I saw the cherries, hanging in richly coloured
pairs like perfect metaphors for nothing but themselves, I pulled
one pair and stripped each from their stones with my teeth. Absolutely
ripe. Sad that I shouldn't have noticed the tree before, but I was
happy now. I compared the taste on my tongue with the smell of the
dust on my shoulder. How different, but I wouldn't want to choose
I was back where I've been all month. Alongside her. She has me,
like they all have, completely in her grip. And it won't loosen,
save for a minutes breath in the evening air, until the last cloth
of wax is soaked into her skin and the client has delivered the
client this time is not, as you might expect on seeing her, the
museum. The museum is a noble home for my creatures, but the pay
is poor. And to be honest the constant niggling of the 'experts'
over details does raise my hackles, despite its obvious import.
No, she is destined to decorate a restaurant in New York. Seafood-Fusion
or some-such nonsense. I really don't care. As soon as I heard what
they wanted I positively jumped at the chance, the hefty cheque
nothing but a bonus.
in the aisles of the store my mind's hands were running over the
curve of her mid section. My dust-masked reflection in the huge
eyes that I could not resist waxing to a premature shine. Cherry
is not the easiest wood to work with, especially for a piece with
a section as complex as her front end. But I have the tools, and
a wish to prove to myself that I can control the Cherry even at
such a large scale. She'll last forever too.
rich resinous smell of her is imbedded in my nostrils. This fact
alone would be enough to keep her foremost in my mind, but it is
not that. It is simply that she is my work and when I make things
it is like growing new limbs for a laboratory, or gestating a wooden
litter. I am eventually able to give them up at least, but not until
they are absolutely finished. Until then they loom even larger in
my mind than in their actual physical presence. It is my obsession
that I blame for the emptiness of my bed and the ragged sadness
wrapped in letters and photographs in my drawer. It is as likely
that it is my salvation. What do those without such an obsession
blame it on? I suppose they find something or other.
I did need the provisions I wouldn't have made the trip to the store
were it not for the fact that one of my more inventive finishing
processes requires the combination of Aluminium foil and a blowlamp.
My discovery of the ragged, inch long strip of foil left on the
roll in my kitchen caused me to notice that I was completely without
food for the evening meal. I would have gone hungry had there been
a full roll.
I blearily skimmed through the store, picking out my usual basics
and treats. Sure of, but resigned to, the fact that I probably wouldn't
get more than a days worth of food out of the trip and that the
rest of the ingredients, they had seemed a good idea at the time,
would turn out to be incompatible with one another. The provision
gathering part of my brain is used to being cramped into a corner
by one huge wooden thing or another.
Federal hill on the return journey I think it did cross my mind.
Could it happen again? If it really had happened the first time,
then surely there was nothing to stand in its way a second. I was
getting better, and this was about the stage in the project.
cobbles were wet on my return.
here I sit on my doorstep, water pouring around me through the cracks,
waiting for the thrashing inside to stop. Glad that, since it is
the weekend and the houses mostly working studios, there is nobody
else at home on the street. The Condor, called forth with whatever
random totemic force my work has become possessed of, had passed
away in just a few hours and she had been air breathing. The damage
had been minor that time.
what of the Squid?
work on the Condor had not been full scale, but the corpse that
I'd bagged and dragged away had been.
can't last long in there, but Architeuthis Dux, the Giant Squid,
is reported to be capable of 59ft, 1,9580lb. And that's just conservative
speculation. My mind flashes the circular saw detailing of Architeuthis
suckers and those spikes on the tentacle clubs. They had been a
lot of fun in the carving. I surprise even myself by worrying about
the damage possible to my wooden original.
ground beneath me is darkening.