Choosing a picture to represent your small online corner is a tricky feat.
Taxing. Exhausting. Because it is so indicative.
I chose this picture of Holland Park Walk, London, for a few reasons.
Then again, it reminds me of my conceptual home, London, and specifically of London’s psychological duality: it is so easy to get lost and be lost, and it is with dubious uncertainty that we will ever again be found.
The photo brings to bear, visually and symbolically, Rousseau’s forest and the moral cleansing that comes from nature (which I support as far as it reflects something back to us other than ourselves).
The straight line represents balance (industry vs. creativity, projection vs. introspection, etc.).
And the picture contains a textured but ominous wall—is it blocking or protecting? I never know this about walls, nor do I ever know this about people.
Each aspect is immediately accessible autobiographical symbols that resonate for me and my writing. And for humanity.
Let’s talk about humanity, for a second.
In the shot, there is an essence of the human collective (who built the wall? Who walks here? Who changes those light bulbs? Who let their dog shit over there, ignoring the tedious, obvious signs, elevating themselves above everyone else?).
But no one is in the picture in this moment, except the photographer. A deliberate move that reflects the solitude my introverted, artistic self demands. This is the “getting lost” bit I spoke of earlier. Curiously enough, when I took this shot, I had a least forty-five seconds of no humans, though it was around rush hour and normally grieved with detritus of civilization.
More than anything, however, this picture represents the space I imagine when I want to pour my heart and mind into words. Not a blank page. Not a view of/from a mountain captured by the Bierstadts of the world. Not a horizon-bound ocean engineered to bring the same common tranquility to millions of office workers in the late ’90s.
An empty walk. A wall. A forest. A line.
Where will I go with this? Where will I take it? Do I sneak into the forest and run amok amid overgrown philosophical metaphors and double-helixed plots? Do I hug the wall and, torn by its roughness, omit all but sparse prose and insight?
Do I walk the line?
What is the line?
This is what I’m adding to—bit by bit by bit—by writing, over and over and again and again, paint drying as I step forward to the point of vanishing. Even returning to this very post and adding bits, as I figure them out. This line.
The line is an elusive thing between boundaries and imagination called “voice.” (I’m annoyed it is already painted white, but I imagine I’m repainting it purple as I go.)
Above all, there is movement, progress. A reminder that one is always moving forward, there is no back. In the hardest times—when I feel I’m lost, not found; when I slip into solipsism (I can hear your laughs—when am I not there?); when I scream into a void—that line brings me back and moves me forward. Something inside me. I don’t know what.
Truth, rising from abstraction.
It’s that inspiration that affects me the most, thus I put it in my small corner of the Internet. Hoping beyond hope it will affect one or two of you. Because we are nothing without each other.
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