Weekly Diary


June went out to sell thin air to hill top people, leaving me to follow herds of butterflies in the lipstick garden. The people next door went out as mermaids and the harpies down the road jumped out of cardboard boxes extolling the virtues of Twenty First Century packaging. I, meanwhile, pulled arrows out of the flesh of the garden and pushed them into my own mock woodland skin. I was still trying to find my way out of the deep forest in my imagination when June came back with an empty lunch box and the head of a unicorn. I spoke to her in equal signs as she dressed in the multiplication table she learnt at school and we both then laid white plates on a white table cloth before going out for a meal. The swifts and house martins looked like punctuation marks in the sky.



I spoke to Athena, who was sat in the sepulchral space in front of the window, before getting up and feeding the animals. The morning had already stabbed itself in the foot when the dog and I went for a walk around the crystal chandelier hanging from the countryside ceiling. June had gone out shopping when we returned and I spoke to the note she left before designing a moat in the shape of a mandolin round the Gothic castle in our Classical garden. As I couldn’t play the subsequent water music I went inside to write images and paint words; as is usually the case more pictures were spoken than words pictured and very little had really been done when June came home with a quiver of arrows given to her by Artemis.



I had planned to go to town and carry home the shopping inside a ball point pen but June offered to take her fountain pen, making calligraphic lines on the way down and meaningless scribbles on the way back. In the interim I painted my version of the “Creation of Adam” on a deck chair and then accidentally sat on the head of god. I watered the model Stonehenge at the top of the garden and then weeded the Avebury Stone Circle. A family of druids sucked on straws even though they weren’t pushed into their drinks. I whistled in latin some time before June returned with a mobile cliff face and a static tidal bore. We huddled under a late summer canopy as the ideas in my head rained down, eventually making psychedelic puddles on the floor which we were both careful to walk round.



The alarm woke me by saying I had smoke issuing from the top of my head – typically all June did was ring a bell. I climbed a ladder but found myself going downwards; reaching the bottom when my head touched the ceiling. Neither June or I went out, except for exploring the imaginary passage my childhood self had come out off holding a pile of old newspapers and a model of the first Sputnik (the light on top was still flashing). At the end of a tunnel I found a clutch of eggs, each with a little face on it, and June found a page of chain link knitting patterns. On the way out I pretended that each brick made a different note and played a masonry minuet as the dog miraculously transformed her chew into a rosary and the red bandage on her leg into a pathway between two bright purple clouds.



I got up still in a dream but had forgotten what it was by the time I had boarded the bus with a flock of house sparrows instead of a beard – my hands were tarantulas and they played a morning raga as the spider web mist crept over the fields separating the vertical from the horizontal and making the diagonal in my story line head feel like a vice. The bus driver was a bass player and we worked out a riff as I got off the bus with a flock of hedge sparrows instead of hair and I then met the king of the birds in his tree sparrow house. He was quieter than usual although we both spoke in cathedral spires of music. I passed the village church on my way home but its tower was partially hidden by a set of symbols that had crept down from the cloud I had whispered to last night.



I tended the missile silos in the garden for several split seconds before coming in to work, my clothes wearing me instead of me wearing them. June was trying on various shadows before going out and the dog and I walked a piece of lonely scaffolding that had quite recently encased an ocean going tug in the shape of the Niagara Falls (it was last used to pull a giant figure from the ocean after it had jumped off a Cerne Abbas hill top without a swimming costume). June was out most of the day with me rescuing chess pieces from spider webs and carefully putting a small part of Hadrian’s Wall round my neck as an architectural necklace. The voice trapped inside a cushion refused to be sat on as I sunk into sound to draw moustaches on fish faces and scales on the chest of an early Christian martyr.



I dressed in a bicycle (although I forgot the pump) and rode into the kitchen ringing a bell. Outside the sun was shining though the narrow slit between our house and our neighbours as I pulled a slither of wood from a branch I had cast off in the night. June was charging the helicopter that periodically lands on her head before we both went out, she had a string of numbers round her waist and I had letter anklets – unfortunately neither foot spelt a wood and I jumped into a puddle liking Dante entering hell. June and I both spoke to Virgil; he had coloured lights round his neck powered by a battery invented in antiquity and only just rediscovered when I turned over in my sleep: my body making an island on which the first life came ashore.


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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