Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: more from The Black Notebook

“Blueblacksliding constellations”
James Joyce, Finnegans Wake – before you ask, no I haven’t.

“Thou hast curiously embroidered me”

“Thou hast wrought me up after the finest way of texture, and as it were with a needle.”

“That Augustus had native notes on his body and belly, after the order and number of the stars of Charles’ Wain.”

The Garden of Cyrus
Sir Thomas Browne

“Every atom you possess has almost certainly passed through several stars and been part of millions of organisms on its way to becoming you. We are each so anatomically numerous and so vigorously recycled at death that a significant number of our atoms – up to a billion for each of us, it has been suggested – probably once belonged to Shakespeare. A billion more each came from Buddha and Genghis Khan and Beethoven ..”

A Short History of Nearly Everything
Bill Bryson


A Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: from The Black Notebook

From the notebook:

Mono no aware
Japanese – “the appreciation of the melancholy transience of the world”

Exhibition with Shelley Found Object– glimpses, residue, time passing, history, silence, enigma.

“The Soul is in the Skin”
Jacques Rivette, film  Jean Renoir, Le Patron.

“Chaos must shimmer through the veil of order”
Novalis from Alfred Brendel The Veil of Order.

“He, first of occidentals, has explored the infinite ranges of tones that lie wrapped about the central core of greys. His grays themselves pulsate with imprisoned colours. Years ago I had said of the old Chinese school of coloring, that it conceived of colour as a flower growing out of a soil of greys. But in European art I have seen this thought exemplified only in the work of Whistler.”

Ernest Fellhorn (Orientalist)

A Diary of the Plague Year: Day 8 24 March 2020: The Black Notebook

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Funerals, Love, Death, Grief, Friendships, Deptford, the Creek. Ghosts, both alive and dead, march through these pages, some lightly, some with a heavier tread. Arthur, Dorothea, Albert, Susan, Shelly.

Albert’s funeral at St Brides, dear, dear Dorothea visiting the studio and liking my lithographs. Lithography paper so creamy smooth and tinged with rose, like a baby’s skin only smoother.

Pressed flowers, roses, wildflower, rosemary for remembrance. A dried flower is so redolent of death, drained of all colour; veins and dessicated skin. Sepia; the colour of Victorian photographs. The light pouring into the Deptford studio through the huge windows. In a previous century.

The death of friendship, the death of hope, the death of  love.