Weekly Diary


I got up as a weather forecast and met June as the early morning news. I went out into the garden with a mouthful of rock and spat out a flower bed. I had to prepare the garden for the arrival of a sea monster – making sure that the speaking trees were ready for a storm of words and random numbers. June was busy indoors making cakes for King Alfred to burn. After all the people I had ever wanted to be had walked to the end of the pier and looked down I came in like a high tide. By then June had curled up into a monosyllabic word (although a polysyllabic dinner was talking to itself in the oven). I decided to wear a transistor radio instead of clothes – only to be told off for continually changing channels. I later thought a long number had entered the house but found only a decimal point.


I woke up as many times as a cartoon character in the night. The wind was plaiting itself into the hair of an Anglo-Saxon princess and the usually whispering trees were shouting obscenities – I went back to bed leaving a silhouette of concern in the window light. When I finally got up in my sedimentary rock suit I found the multifarious entities that live in the garden had remained safe. As the metamorphic sky brightened I made a promise to the hidden people to meet them inside my own head – the film crew were already prepared. I looked at the spaces they had once occupied and wondered if time could be measured with elastic bands. I looked up from this thought and saw a man walk down the road with several belts round his waist; none of which appeared to be holding up his trousers.


I woke up in a strange room in an even stranger house. June was downstairs talking to an open cupboard; she shut the door quickly when I descended the stairs with an apricot fairy in my hands. When I gave it to her it had changed into a peach and family of sub-temporal snakes made a series of exclamation marks on the unreality of the wooden floor. I would have waited for a series of question marks to appear but the dog had already put on her reading glasses and was studying a map. I pulled a place off the paper and we suddenly found ourselves there – it was only when the clouds formed bookends for an extended line of unread books that I realised it was a long walk back. When we finally got in I found June sat on a shelf with the cupboard now talking to her.


June stood in the bedroom as the end point of feline evolution (in my science days I never thought that evolution was that linear) while I went downstairs hearing the constant drip of dirty clothes hitting the bedroom floor. Be both coalesced as wet paint on the ceiling of a railway carriage with a little prince and princess below. We painted a multicoloured line beside a neutral grey river, overlapping like the neurons that make thoughts and sometimes stopping as silver and golden figures moved up and down the periodic table. We had a meal in the dorsal turret of a Lancaster bomber before coming home via the bomb bay, hitting the ground as the light faded and a small group of Edwardian craftsmen crawled out of various holes in the floor and walked to whatever had become of their homes.


As usual for a day that begins with a gargoyle balancing on the rim of a teacup I left the house early, an aerial pinned to my lapel and a television handkerchief in my pocket. I gave the man sat in an over ripe vegetable marrow my money and he spat out several numbers and a white dove of paper which I caught before I or it could fly away – I knew I wouldn’t go far but doves sometimes become peregrine falcons. After shopping in a blue whale carcass awaiting resurrection I boarded a long tongue and sprung back into a cavernous mouth. The chameleon was toasting a fire alarm and we sat down in a wind tunnel and made up words out of smoke. The lizard king left before I had climbed a tree but after a tree had climbed me. When it had reached the roof we knew everything was safe.


I woke in a sea – there was a lifeguard on the windowsill but he was looking the other way. I pronounced all liquid as coincidence and then brought all distant things close and banished all close things to the other side of the partially leafed horizon. Immediately outside a man sang in a dustbin and a short piece of string turned into a flying bird and then a moustache – the moustache laid an egg and I caught a worm (I put it back straight away, after drilling a hole in the floorboards and watching fires in the sky turn to flowers and then drop their petals). I found June downstairs sweeping up leaves; underneath one was a foreign coin, I tore it into two and sent both bits back to their country of origin – moments later a man with a hole in his chest emerged through the floorboards.


On finding myself as a Belisha beacon at the start of the day I waited until the traffic had gone and it was safe to cross the road. I met my sister on a golden bough (she had just got off an ivy stem with her five legged friend) and we drove to town in tandem wheel barrows – I pointed out the smoke from a distant chimney and she showed me a picture of a chimpanzee on her wristwatch. I met June moonlighting as a lamp post and then met my father who was in the process of making a pet out of his beard: he said that some beards will bite and then fed a biscuit to the wild animal on the top of his head. We went for a meal in the upper atmosphere of what I assumed was the Earth but it could have been a similar planet on the far side of our galaxy. I saw the flowers in the sky again.


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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