Weekly Diary


Unusually I got up before June, who I noticed was in an earnest conversation with a tree kangaroo clinging to an eucalyptus log. The log itself was singing along to a Buddy Holly song and the kangaroo was translating a papyrus scroll of Egyptian hieroglyphics into the seemingly random movements of waves on a rippling lake – an entire family of kingfishers thus learnt the art of mummification: it is said by practicing on an entire family of rainbow trout. June and I then went out to meet a now small giant on the upper gun deck of the HMS Victory: we ate dinner as the guns rolled back and forth and then came home before the French fleet had arrived. The giant sails the seas between the land you can stand on and the land you can not.


I had to go out before breakfast (customarily of computer parts and the lightening illuminated stubble of an empty field). I went out of the door in an artificial dust storm, making my invisible way to town hand in hand with a friendly rabbit; he called himself the sandman and then called me sleep. I told him of my time as an extra in a triptych by Bosch: pushed like an enema into a dying swan – in my own world the arrows in my flesh would become Raphael and La fornarina and the swan is forever orbiting Cygnus X-1. I came home again covered in stars like the mound of flower petals that my friends the daydream dryads sleep in. I entered my studio as a toupee having a respite from a bald head and painted a face on a hat and a house on a partially opened window letting the cold air in.


June went to work, earlier than usual, while I was still in bed and enjoying a telepathic conversation with a wooly mammoth trapped in an ice sheet in Eastern Siberia. I had to go out in the elephant cold, almost coming back before I left (in a comic strip the death of the superhero would fuel his own birth; although it didn’t as I always put the comic down) – in reality I walked to town carrying my shopping and came home carrying none. I talked to sailors who stood like masts on giant turtles to circumnavigate the globe, inventing the game of oceanic golf as they did so – hard to find the balls and then hard to find the holes to putt them in. In response I invented a new art form by covering my paintings with curtains – June would subsequently dare guests to open them but no one ever did.


I got up before the raindrop hit the ground, June meanwhile had got up before the cloud was actually overhead. A picture on the wall showed a face with flower blossoms for eyes and a butterfly for a mouth (the nautilus ears having been crossed out by a member of the psychedelic exam board), the mirror however showed punctured oasis and an empty bowl. I thought I would walk across the desert in defiance but the dog wanted to retrace the steps of the man who came to the door but wouldn’t knock. I don’t like mysteries and always have to look at the floor under even the most ornamental of rugs. I then looked for the spot where the railway goes over the tunnel instead of through it. June came in much later holding a cabbage inside a butterfly chrysalis.


I rose like colourless bubbles from a deep sea vent and went to town with Atlas on my shoulder – it is said that he had the world on his but it was impossible to see because of the low dark cloud. I met a man at centre of the earth who has some of my pictures and claims they are his own. He tried to persuade me that the clouds were flat fish and I should spend all my time looking up instead of down. I emptied my pockets and gave him a thread I had removed from the embroidered moccasin of a Red Indian warrior. He emptied his and we each looked at separate scraps of paper before I left with the daughter of Aegipan and he jumped on a sleeping centaur instead of a bus – it may be true that the horns on my head will reveal the hand marks of man.


June and I got got up early and walked up the street like jigsaw pieces that look like they fit together but actually don’t. I had to catch a bus, which I compared to the inside of a shoe and caught another after changing feet and photographing the first lick of sunrise on the concrete cornet the office workers buy their quick snacks from. I met the old man and we collectively wondered if time was actually fragmented like floating continents and could could move together as well as move apart – I secretly wanted to move back to where the magma had just surfaced and I played in the field behind our house as if it was a separate world. I laid out flint nodules around a box tree, forming a circle but always leaving a space where the dreaming spirits could escape.


I dreamt that a railway engine came out of the wardrobe during the night; on hearing the sound I got out of bed like a station master finding lepers after the signalman had found Jesus – June was still asleep at the station. She eventually came downstairs via the household plumbing system, landing as a puddle on the kitchen floor just as the landlord came up the drive in what looked like a toasted sandwich. I admired the grill marks on the bonnet while the falling snow made indecipherable marks on the concrete. I thought all long words looked like peacock tail feathers and June and I took small steps to town to simultaneously have a late breakfast and early dinner. I came home while she disappeared up one sleeve of a rain coat only to come out of the other holding an umbrella.


About Gerald Shepherd

Gerald Shepherd is a painter, graphic artist, sculptor, digital/multimedia artist, photographer, writer, curator and arts administrator. He has also been involved with science art, performance art, conceptual art, installations and environments (as well as peripheral creative pursuits such as garden design).
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