At every addition of 20,000 or so new words to this book, I post another portrait of it. At about 1.5 million words, it is still far from finished. I envision it would best be published as a perfect cube of writing. I think now, also, one of these portraits of it should be the image on the front cover.
Dad Told Me Not To Talk With Other Children short short by Lewis Gesner
Dad told me not to talk with other children, or even to the teachers but to answer questions as short as I could. He told me, there is nothing for me to gain from them. Go to school and come home. I always tried to do as he told. I don’t go out to recess and I sit alone at lunch. The others are mostly boring to me, and I am not good at playing and running and jumping and other physical things. But I can move a pencil good. I mean, draw pictures. Dad doesn’t even know about that.
I draw allot, when I don’t go out to recess. Actually, I feel a little lonely. I want to talk sometimes, but I don’t. I want to talk about pictures. I don’t like the school. So, when I draw, I am drawing the things I like to be around, and things that I remember from home, and I don’t feel so lonely. My desk top has a couple of ruts in it, but I line up my drawing so, if I am drawing a cut, it lines up to the rut in the desk, and the desk kind of helps me draw the cut. I have a stack of paper in my desk, of all the drawings I made from the first day of school. Someday I think, maybe I will put them on a wall in a fancy place.
Today is PTA day they call it. The parents can come in and watch us, what the teachers do with us, and like that. All these ladies, most look at us and put on some kind of smile. But I have seen the smile before, it is fake. Women that smile cannot be trusted, dad said. Mom used to smile. I think of her now, drawing. Maybe I will… her the lady comes, the one who has been watching me, inside, while other children are outside playing. I already know her question.
“Why aren’t you outside with the other children, playing?” she asks me, then, she smiles, but I hear the twist in her question. It is like a hook.
“I don’t feel good today,” I say. “So I stay inside and draw pictures.”
“Well, there nothing wrong with drawing I guess…” she seems a little critical to me. “So, you are a little artist!” Again, the smile. I think she has dentures.
Honest, I am a little bit happy. Yes, I feel like I am an artist. “I draw allot!” I say. “But I just started this one.” There was just the first line crossing sharply over the page.
“Well I’m sure it will be a lovely drawing. What will it be of?”
I feel my face crack a smile, though I try to stop it. “My Mom.” I say.
“Well, isn’t that sweet,” she says. “I wish I could see a finished drawing of her.”
I am hooked. “I have allot of drawings in my desk!” I flip the top open and take out a stack almost as thick as the paper is wide. “Here!” I have an audience!
She holds them low, so I can see them with her, and I see her face change from the smile to maybe how she really is inside. Her hands begin to shake a little bit holding the first drawing. She places it down on the desk in front of us.
“Oh, that’s not my mom,” I say. “ That’s grandma.” The woman’s mouth opened a little like she wanted to speak, but nothing came out. “And that’s the mice, they made a nest where her stomach used to be.” I had spent allot of time on that drawing, even used some crayon for colors. Grandma’s skin was brown now, and she had no eyes left. The bones stuck through here and there, and her dress was eaten away where the mice lived now. After awhile it seems the woman was frozen, so I prompt her. “The next ones is my mom and my dad.” She turns over the next page in the stack, which is upside down. I think I hear her make a little sound. But it is a choked sound. I’ve heard that one before.
I wait for her to talk, to be polite. But she says nothing, so I talk instead. “That drawing in your hand, that’s Dad, he’s leaning over. That’s our bathtub. That’s my Mom’s neck sticking up. And that’s her head, sitting in the pan on the floor beside my Dad’s foot.” The woman starts to rush through my drawings. I feel like I should talk very fast, to tell her all of what see’s looking at. “There’s Dad after he comed home with a new chain saw. That’s him kneeling on the floor, and that’s Mom, on the plastic sheets … those are the suit cases he bought used. Some of Mom’s inside…”
She drops my drawing suddenly on the desk and runs out of the room. I feel annoyed. She may have easily dropped my drawings on the floor. Dad was right about women I think. I will just continue now. Recess is almost over. Hmm, here come some policemen. Maybe they will be nicer than her. Oh, there she is again, and the teacher too. Well, I actually like the attention. If they come over here, maybe I can show them what I have in my pocket.
The Waterspout Lottery
文 | LEWIS GESNER美國多媒材實驗藝術家，近四十年聚焦在聲響發展的可能性，作品常以行為藝術、音樂/樂音與寫作呈現，擁有視覺藝術與英國文學碩士文憑。多元經驗與高度實驗性作品經常走在藝術的前端。現居高雄。 Lewis Gesner is an artist, writer and performer who uses a variety of mediums in his work, in keeping with his philosophy. He is from America but now lives in Taiwan with his wife and children. He has exhibited broadly, including venues in Taiwan.
You can only imagine the things that fall into the sea. Sometimes, we may have a glimpse. If you follow the rocky coastline of the state, or know the winding long footpath through the dense forest, you may discover that window to the ocean’s harbored secrets. It is in the form of a waterspout. A waterspout is a column of water forming from the sea. It may be a weather phenomenon, like a water tornado, or it may be like the case in point. This spout was formed by the action of the waves at high tide. A narrow tunnel formed through the erosion of the granite cliff at the water’s edge which allows for water to rush through it with great force when the tide is just right. This can last for up to twenty minutes, that a column of water will shoot straight up into the air from the tunnel, over spectators’ heads, and soak them like in a heavy rain. Sometimes, it throws things up from the sea.
It was rumored, and then verified, that on a hot August day, two couples made the journey here to enjoy a mid-hike shower in the waters of the spout. They waited close to the opening, sweaty from their walk, expect relief. When the spout erupted, they were pelted with a rain of something very hard and heavy. They ran from the spot to the protection of some trees. Looking back, they were shocked. Shiny bits of something glinted in the sunlight as they were thrown. When the Spout receded, they approached the spot to find the ground covered with gold Spanish coins.
Some tell of the time a family was picnicking at the site, waiting for the spectacle. When the spout erupted, a huge metal ball was expelled, landed on the picnic blanket, and promptly exploded, injuring all; a mine from the second world war.
A troubled married couple, in the throes leading to divorce, took a trek to try and find some peaceful moments together. As they looked out to sea silently at the cliff’s edge, the spout erupted. The woman put out her hand, as if to check for the downpour, and something landed in it. Stepping back out of the rain, she recognized in her hand her old lost wedding ring, which had fallen off decades before while sailing. Taken as a sign, they renewed their commitment to each other on the spot, with their own private wedding ceremony, with the ring returned to the finger from which it had been lost.
While not known to many, and hard to access, still, thousands have over the years enjoyed its natural splendor without incident. Some go with the expectation of finding some treasure thrown at their feet. It was a lottery. With that thought, a graduating high school class made the trip to test their luck and celebrate the momentous day. When the spout erupted, the gathered found themselves awash with entrails and body parts. They ran from the scene in horror. The remains of an accident at sea had been coughed up.
Yes it is a lottery, as the lottery of life.
these drawing were made on the fly while our family traveled for a month in Indonesia on one of our trips three years ago – my son was six at the time – some of these even made it into an art exhibition there –