Monday, July 05, 2010
Remember when you were a kid and you could lie awake in bed for hours just staring at the wallpaper? Staring into those worn designs and patterns and seeing all sorts of new shapes, hints of suggested objects and repeated phrases that seemed to talk back at you from their paper and pasted up vertical plane. I never did have kids wallpaper, it was what was there and what had been there in the first place, like it had grown up with and stayed with the house and nobody cared about it or bothered to change it. It was a constant in the changing and growing families that passed through the house and I was looking straight into its ancient heart. Old grey men had died looking at these patterns, young eager couples had made love, books were read by candle and electricity, babies had cried unheard in the dark.
My accelerated hallucinations continued, I saw characters, ugly fiends, great mythical beasts and heroes from the yellow pages of handed down story books, they lived in the wall, awake when I slept, asleep as I woke. As I stared I would hang out of the bed, lie upside down to change the view, squint through half closed eyes to accentuate some feature or wait till dusk so that strange lights would reveal bumps and blemishes behind the paper and add elements of relief that I could liken to the faraway Himalayas or Andes, plucked and embedded as in some red map of the Empire in Mercator's Projection from my dusty school room. I played with my eyes and a newly fertile mind making some imaginary canvas from the dull pattern and if I was bored I didn't realise I was. I knew instinctively how to fill time. Now I am older and the sense of seeing and playing has dulled and thankfully we have no wallpaper and my vision and playful mind is stuck elsewhere.