french author says

french author says women over fifty are too old
french author says conker is his favourite english word
french author says he has lost his slippers
french author says cocaine goes well with turkey melt
french author says he does downward dog before a coffee
french author says he likes holding vegetables
french author says he can’t cast a shadow
french author says he casts spells
french author says he collects his tears in a jug
french author says he wishes he looked like a poet
french author says he loves his tortoise
french author says he cries when milk is spilt
french author says he is in charge of his apple macbook air
french author says he doesn’t wear reading glasses
french author says his mother reads his books
french author says he hates camembert
french author says he saw a dog spontaneously combusting
french author says he can’t find his scissors
french author says he has dry skin around his waist
french author says he has forty-one toriador outfits
french author says he’ll say publicity for anything
french author says he relaxes watching dancing dogs on television
french author says he feels affection for martian poetry
french author says he has named two of the candles on his fiftieth birthday cake
french author says he’s made thirty-one rubber-band balls in his life-time
french author says the word mood is uncomfortable
french author says his gums bleed because he brushes too hard
french author says he cannot expect women who masturbate
french author says he shares his apartment with a male duck
french author says he believes in the midas touch
french author says he eats only the white of an egg, never the yolk
french author says he likes crowds and power
french author says he is afraid of whispering
french author says his morning routine involves mental exercises that help him believe he is successful
french author says his morning beliefs fade every evening
french author says he is superstitious about the core of the apple
french author says he hopes to reach the end of the road
french author says he is sad about his grandfather’s jacket
french author says he has never tried free love
french author says baguettes were not what they were
french author says he has recorded the circumstances of every occasion he has swallowed an insect
french author says his voice really is a landscape
french author says he used to be in freefall
french author says he has had surgery on three occasions for in-grown anal hair
french author says what he envisaged
french author says he is inclined to walk on sand
french author says it is not a game anymore
french author says his cleaner has been instructed never to look under his bed
french author says he yearns for his reflection
french author says he is is searching for better angles

To Padgett Powell

If pure means clean then my emotions are dirty. I cannot adjust my nerves. I respect the potato. Whether it’s Constantinople or Istanbul is not my business, but I’ve had that bloody song in my head for days now. I’m nervous of a nameless horse. I do not smell children enough. I do not care for animal crackers. I have slept on a road so surely I could sleep on a pavement. You assume that my parents are either dead or that the past is different to the present – either way, Psalms don’t do it for me. If I were always last, I’d digress. One of the things I like most about my home is that it doesn’t have a doorbell or a knocker so you have to rap your knuckles or bang an object against the front-door in order to get our attention. I’ve been admonished for using the word feisty to describe another woman, and I’ve got a lot of sand in my craw. I like to think I’d resonate beyond a single square on Mendeleyev’s chart. At the moment, I can only manage nine push-ups from the knee without resting.

I’ve never been to the Caribbean so I know nothing of substance about the Windward and Leeward Islands. Are they real? I’m happy with a man wearing hair tonic but I’ve lost my tolerance for chewing gum since a vet told me that a dog can be poisoned to the point of death if it eats several pieces. Do the hooves of animals influence religious positions, such as kneeling to pray, or ethical and ideological religious positions, such as a belief in the sanctity of marriage? I struggle to understand how I was persuaded, in North Carolina, to eat catfish, and have no intention of ever “noodling” or doing anything else to or with that most unappealing of fish. I’ve noticed that the more expensive a towel, the less water it absorbs, which is why I tend to own cheap towels. I was addicted to sugar, especially in cheaper chocolate. If a gentle specimen of livestock passed me en route to slaughter, I’d do more than palm its rump: I’d rub its head and nose and I’d wrap my arms around its neck. As a runner and someone who is slightly knock-kneed, I am beginning to think that all shoes are over-technical and we’d all do well to go barefoot. I feel dissatisfied with a lot of my jewellery but can rarely afford to buy the stuff I like. I was intimidated by philosophy as an undergraduate and, to a disappointing extent, I still am. I drank too much Tesco’s cava at my cousin’s wedding and the headache lasted days.

To be continued…

unusually large

Saturday, you’ll know it’s Christmas. The men on the beach. Their hair. They have proper cuts. You know the sort of thing, shaped and layered, and none of the lads round here would have that. And their waterproofs are ski-wear. And they never have one dog. Only pairs. Usually pedigree. Hungarian ones are popular. And pointers. You’ll see a lot of spaniels, too, but they tend to be with women. Even dangerous dogs nowadays. Rottweilers and huskies. And labs, of course. But at Christmas, the men who come down and do all the fancy surfing, they tend to go for the more sporty ones that run around barking. My husband doesn’t like me saying this, but it’s new money. They’ve got the houses over the other side of the bay. This side it’s old money. That side, it’s the big ones with all the glass. And they never say a hello or a morning or a happy Christmas on the beach. I think that’s why they have the dogs. A sort of excuse, I suppose. And they always have pairs. And they always have a male and a female and what I’ve noticed is the male is always unusually large. Like they’ve gone and deliberately done that. I feel sorry for the bitches. And they always have a whistle and they blow their bloody whistles and shout a lot and the dogs take no notice! It never used to be like this. No one had whistles. But the dogs take no notice, you’ll see. Some of the spaniels do, that’s true, no, you’re right there. But not the big ones. They charge about barking and these men with iron hair blowing on their whistles and striding up and down the sand with a blooming great kite strapped to their thighs! My sister can’t stop for laughing. Why do they walk about with kites strapped to their bollocks? It’s not their bollocks I tell her! There’s a belt around their hips and it’s strapped to that and they walk up the beach in their wet suits with their dogs barking and they’re blowing on their whistles and their wives are just standing there watching them and they’re never smiling and not even the dogs notice them.

Trailing Wolfgang Tillmans

It is a risk — to admit feeling an affinity with a great artist, an artist who is famous. But I do feel an affinity with Wolfgang Tillmans. Affinity, what does it mean? I feel a bond. I feel some kind of connection. I believe I understand his intentions with his photographs, that somehow they overlap with my intentions in writing. Ah, if I could write as well as he photographs! Then I’d be a happy lady. I’d be calm. I’d be confident. I’d be the best.

This article in The New Yorker is good. I felt very happy reading it. I am putting it on my blog because I want to re-read it. And re-read it. Like the little girl down the road who always wears bright pink when she takes this enormous push bike, which must be five times too big for her, and rides it up and down the street, up and down and up and down, paying little attention to cars reversing back up the road as she peddles forward, head down, concentrating, never stopping. Her legs are a foot too short from saddle to peddle, so she stands up on the peddles, her arms up high to steer, the seat of the bike level with her neck. She keeps going, never giving up, round and round the block. I see her pass my window from my office where I am working on my new book and I keep going even though I too can’t sit on the seat and must stand on the peddles and the book is five times too ambitious for me but I’ll do it anyway and I won’t give up until I can sit on that bloody seat.

Tillmans says: “You can’t be too sure about something, because otherwise you’re too full of yourself or you can’t see if there is a weakness in the work.” He’s right.

This is one of my faves:

tillmans fave

“paper drop (London)” 2008 Wolfgang Tillmans