Weekly Diary


June went to work in a grease proof paper light; I walked her up the hill and then came down holding the pail of water that reflected Halley’s comet before the battle of Hastings – I told King Harold to keep his eyes closed. The morning opened like a flower moments before it is picked. I meant to slave in the Pharoah’s garden but ended up pricing rocks for a stone age jumble sale – as it turned out no one turned up as they were all watching the annual wooly mammoth derby (I never bet myself unless it is on the odds of waking up and finding time moving in reverse). June came in during an Arizona early afternoon with cactus spines covering her arms, I told her that her flowers would be pollinated by bats at night and we then went out to dinner with little people in a large restaurant.


June went out the door as thin as paper when I came downstairs with the ease of a canal boat navigating an endless series of locks. I spent my breakfast making three dimensional shapes from two dimensional ideas and was in the middle of inventing polyhedron love sonnets when a particularly attractive octagonal prism went down the road walking an eight legged dog – behind both a pillar rose into the sky with nothing at its top. Ice fingers were playing the fish pond piano as I fed the harpies in our cellophane garden. I checked on our stone age ancestors who were congregating round the mound where an inverted telescope had once allowed the sky people to see the earth. I then wrote a poem to a sub mariner’s coffin as it was propelled from a bow torpedo tube of a Churchill class submarine.


I woke with the head of a tiger, sadly close to extinction, and then thought in quantum mechanical tangles for the rest of the morning. On approaching lunch time I found I had Neptune’s trident wrapped round my neck (be careful what you say to figments of your imagination as they rise through an outmoded Edwardian plumbing system!). I imagined Athena, who I have always loved, as having very short hair and then put the telephone down on myself – I hate cold callers! I worked in my studio for the rest of the day: it is cleverly modelled on the head of a whale species found only in the seas of Europa – it is here that all whalers are pursued by whales and all hunters are hunted. I quite suddenly grew to over twenty feet tall, carefully planting cobwebs on the ceiling as I did so.


Something, which may have just been the bitterly cold wind, pressed a message to the window. I couldn’t read it until I ran a diesel-electric locomotive through the station in my brain. Nor could I write a reply until I had examined the aircraft wreckage found under the sheets of our double bed and then watched the dissipating contrails of intersecting aircraft above the new houses across the road – in the window of the nearest one a small tabby cat was busy stroking a man. I walked the dog along a path of numbers and she then walked me along a path of words; some I didn’t know although I noticed they rhymed (I thought, for the briefest moment, that art is probably only finding rhymes among words we don’t know). I was woken from this reverie when June came in dressed as a pink parakeet.


I looked out the crumpled window as June went up the road with the crumpled door in her pocket. Spirits who could have been merely mathematical equations were patrolling the top of the stairs as I climbed down the gutter pipe with my plans for the day in a sack over my shoulder. A policeman from a children’s story ran up and touched my arm – using a character from an adult’s story I then touched his. I went to town in a plastic car, stopping to fill up on Lego bricks before coming home again in a chariot pulled by feral cats – the dog was by the gate. I had time to redesign the bridge spanning the space where my imagination stops before June returned from work holding a woollen figure which had began unravelling all down the road; she called the resulting ball of wool a real person.


I got up early and left the house via a crack under the door so as not to wake the doorway sentinels – who on Fridays manifests themselves as a petrified string quartet (street lights glinting on veins of coloured minerals like solo notes among a group sound). I caught a Trojan horse outside the railway engine tavern and emerged in the wrong Troy, finally reaching my home village just as an ancient Phoenician trading ship somewhat incongruously sunk into the hillside I ran up as a very young child (I would like to say that I ran down it again as an older one but I strongly suspect I am still young and climbing). I talked to the king of the village about old roads that reminded us both of strands of light coloured hair and then of ribbons who, unfortunately, can no longer tie them.


June went out the door with her legs pushed through the hull of a small boat – I said she would sink before we both flew to the railway station. Here we met a family of little birds – one of which, I joked, looked like a little cat. I watched the train dissolve like a water soluble Aspirin before climbing up the embankment balancing as many pieces of Mayan architecture on my head as possible. The dog and I walked each other to the disused cottage and back: at night I would imagine wistful faces looking out but in daylight all I could see was a featureless emptiness. On my return I worked like a nurse in my wounded studio: a landscape materialising within a portrait – among brightly coloured flowers, broken branches suggested the buried bones of Black Death victims from Europe during the Middle Ages.


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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