Weekly Diary


I started the day like a small shadow lost in a shopping mall (lots of large shadows gathered round, blocking out the sun); as a kind of joke June is correspondingly portrayed as a tall tree that masks the straight lines of the horizon. After a birdsong breakfast we walked like duelists to the opposing ends of the garden, her part well ordered and tidy while mine resembles a pair of tights hurriedly cast off by a fleeing robber. We both looked when our neighbour accidentally sucked in part of his drive, pulling in a bright yellow car and then spitting it out in a dull black shade. He later did likewise to the path which had initially marched beside before meandering off as if following an elusive scent. During the late afternoon both June and I left the out of focus garden for the clarity of the house.


I surveyed the morning from scaffolding surrounding an empty space – there are no plans to build a house only a plaque with a promise written on it. I had to take the horizontal chair lift to town holding a half eaten paper bag for my breakfast; I measured my shopping and then weighed my walk home. Once inside, I painted smiles on the flight of stairs I went up and then wiped them off again when I came down; my hands full of old signs, none of which mean anything now. I put the signs in a box and marked it with another – sooner or later no one will know what this one means either. I had earlier found a photograph between the pages of a book showing two skeletons holding hands; I can’t imagine myself reading the book again. June came in holding a model of Coventry Cathedral.


I woke up feeling very ill and immediately looked at the excavations on my open and closed hands: apparently nothing of interest was found although blackbirds searched for cuneiform invertebrates and small boys sought their hierophantic pottery shards – I used to have a collection which would make mouths below marble eyes. June took the ship in rough seas route to work while I remained clinging to the rocks. I battled lighthouse storms all day, often scraping paint off the canvas rather than adding it on. When June came home I ate newly emerged magma (strawberry flavoured) and then sat as a photomontage, my multifarious silhouettes skillfully blended with the upholstery. A figure made entirely of sound came in and then went out again leaving behind multiple silences.


I still felt ill and watched from behind enemy lines as June unfurled her banner on the top of the old people’s hill. I shuffled about my studio like a toy car in a soft shoe, shaking any hands that were proffered from the real world outside (the weather was overcast with the threat of rain) and then crumpled myself into an uncomfortable chair. I imagined myself into another place where thoughts are trees and misunderstanding is a ploughed field – I stayed here until it got cold and I started to think, unsurprisingly, that people are just tenant farmers unable to calculate the true worth of their land. Sometime later June rang from the highest perch in the aviary and whistled instead of spoke; I had to think hard about my reptile terrarium reply.


I had to rise early like a bunsen burner flame in the first science lesson of the day; rushing up the pebble strewn path with rocks in my bag. I watched the bus arrive through curled hands, writing my destination on my finger nails as the lady behind me stubbed her cigarette out on the designer sunglasses of a pantomime villain. Realising I would be lost if I hid my hands in my pockets I grasped the first trapeze artist arm that dropped down before me; arriving in the safety net at the same time as a small child in a tartan duffle bag and her mother with a crowded cobweb for a face. Flower rockets flew from the refugee planted borders as the doorbell was pressed and a lady emerged with questions on one hand and answers on the other – I was very disappointed when she refused to clap.


After a quick handshake in town I caught the highwayman’s coach by The Watchman’s Arms. The driver, dressed in the clothes of a Sixteenth Century Venetian merchant refused to trade and his voice, kept in a closed top pocket, was reduced to a whisper like the rustle of boiled sweet wrappings – I fumbled in my pocket for an answer but only found small change (invariably a penny short!). I then had to wait at the second bus stop, cleverly modelled on the front paw print of a Staffordshire Bull Terrier, until the second bus slunk up unapologetically late. I met the old king as capital letters in an otherwise lower case street just before he went out for his counting house appointment – I waited in the busy motorway house as dirty overalls scurried around the bodies of working men.


June walked herself to her weekend work while I went round the house holding a package of proposals waiting for a church congregation of yesteryear to cheer. I walked the dog wearing ears borrowed from a distant cousin of our pet rabbit and then went upstairs to work encased in a plastic fish suit (it was based on a mackerel although I would have preferred a tuna). I interrogated myself in front of a vase of old fashioned light bulbs until we were both interrupted by the sudden arrival of an Egyptian Princess with some sand clock time on her hands. I jog talked with the young old lady as her cruise liner rose high above the waves and mine crashed below, mentioning in passing that all invisible ships are kept afloat by secret conversation – I then plumbed in my thoughts to my en-suite studio.


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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2 Responses to Weekly Diary

  1. Brian Hughes says:

    I’ve been to that place where thoughts are trees and misunderstanding is a ploughed field. It’s just outside Grange-over-Sands. I tripped up on shrub of reason that had that just fallen out of the postman’s head and twisted my tongue.

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