Wednesday

Tell me stories from the past and the future










I often make books from the treasured objects you entrust me with, and because I know these objects are so very dear to you, I take great care over them - greater care than I do my own amethyst ring, left to me by my mother.

After all, I still carry her in my mind's eye. I see her features staring back at me in my daughters' eyes. That glassy purple dress ring? It can wander about my half-dozen cardboard boxes of random jewelleries and costumeries like an old traveller, shuttling between offices Lost and Found.

But your objects! You have no idea how carefully I handle them. I unwrap them, gently, them wrap them up again to lock them in a special cupboard, a tiny-sized Alice in Wonderland sort of cupboard that is itself transported from another place and time, oak-grain and salvaged, now attached to the wall, to contain, like a Victoriana safe, the tiny things you sent me.

When your book is scheduled - and I do, I do, I do keep on track - then I lay out your objects, this moment their ceremony, and think about how they speak to me and tell me how they need to flow between the pages of your book.

And Oh No! This object! this thorny, prickly seed head! It explodes! It shatters across the desk, dried spears of seeds, skewering net and lace, and leaving a dusty, hollow head and my mouth forming an Oh No!

So I think about this for a while.

I have a philosophy of life which says that every weakness is also a strength, and every event another step on the way to becoming wiser, more thoughtful, less hasty, less imprudent than the day before. But I'm sure you know the one - every disaster is an opportunity!

And this feels like a disaster, at first. This trusted object seed-head scattered. But the way the prickles gather up the fibres of the net and mesh them? I look at how this little natural seamstress makes her world. I do not need stitches. There's no need for my embroidery silk or linen thread or wire wrap. The little prickly seeds and head cling and hold this fabric like an embrace: they say, here I seed.

So the little exploded seed head - it needed the cover of your book. Here it starts and grows anew. To this point these seeds travelled and become a new start for your story; or perhaps a point along the way, once journeyed from you to me, and then transformed, wrapped in new clothes, riding back again.

And that set off the themes of your book: in my head, journeying, travelling, transforming as we go, sometimes returning like spirals to the same points, sometimes moving through time and space to land at different points, finding ourselves sometimes, perhaps in places we never expected to be.


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