“There is a kind of day that is very grey or brown . . . it is a mood or tone I often feel on a dreary day, waiting for a taxi before it rains or going to some kind of daily routine . . . It’s the experience of being on the street in open space, or just inside ourselves. What do we feel, what do we choose to notice and sense on a given day? It’s about the internal and external landscape of the place as I experience it.”

From "Taking note", by Nicholas Laughlin, in the August 2006 Caribbean Review of Books

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A writer's mode?

I’m looking again at the drawings, and musing over what I can’t help thinking of as the literariness of the whole sequence. I realise that they cast into clearer relief a certain literary quality of Chris’s entire oeuvre. I don’t mean just the fact that he’s an active, voluble practising critic. I don’t mean just that his works on paper, even at their most cryptic, almost always have a strong narrative sense. I don’t mean just that his groundbreaking early work, Conversations with a Shirt Jac, was in effect a soliloquy; or that his sound installations seem to play with elements of performance poetry; or that text--actual writing, the physical shape of words--recurs through his work. I mean--and I’m trying to understand--something about his mode of thought, the way Chris experiences and processes the world; his mode of thought seems essentially that of a writer. He has what I think of as a writer’s intense self-consciousness, a writer’s obsession with putting the world into words to keep the world from disappearing entirely. Drawing is his note-taking, he says, but I’m sure he also has that voice in his head that never stops detailing and describing, converting sensory facts into words and those words into sentences, so that each day is an epic novel of the mundane that will never get written, and memory is a series of inaccurately recalled quotations.


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