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Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Book The Third.

I said in my last post, that I'd discovered, rather belatedly, that the second book, Fragments, was 'about' ME,  about the way that it has stripped me of my ability to engage in the activities I used to, leaving me with fragments of my life.  The third book, however, was always about ME. 

I bought the silk loose weave cloth it is made from, many years ago.  I don't know why I bought it, to be truthful, I just liked the colour and the texture, so it was probably an impulse buy.  It survived the cull, which is remarkable, given how much fabric I got rid of.  It has turned out to be perfect for this particular book. 

The paper is once more dyed using onion skins, herbal teas and tannin; in fact, there are small pieces of onion skin embedded in the paper (I have no idea how that happened, but I'm grateful).  Each page represents a stage of ME.  It starts with remission, which is not quite well, but able to do most things, as long as you're careful (I was in remission for just over a year, I thought I was well, but looking back, I was doing comparatively little, and giving myself hell for being lazy.  As if.).  On each page, the cloth gets smaller, and has less substance to it, until the last page, where there is very little cloth or substance and structure remaining. 

In some ways, this is a misleading way to depict ME.  There can be a gradual decline, as the book suggests, but mostly it's unpredictable.  One day you can feel fairly energetic (by ME standards, which aren't very high), the next, you can feel dreadful, and for no apparent reason.  It makes visual sense, though, to have structured the book that way.  Who was it who said you shouldn't let reality get in the way of a good story?...or was it the truth?...but I digress.

The reverse of the book is blank, to reflect the impact I feel I have on day to day life around me.  It's true that I talk to people on Facebook, but by and large, I have very little interaction with the place I live, or the people who live there.  I'm not asking for sympathy: it's a fact.  The book simply reflects reality.

As I said elsewhere, it's inevitable that I would explore ME and ME themes in my work; it's what I've always done.  ME is seriously misunderstood; I hope that making work like this will help people to understand what it's really like.  And if someone with ME ever tells you they're 'fine', you might remember that their fine is probably one of those pages... distorted, full of holes, getting smaller all the time.  And above all, fragile.

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