Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Hand signals


A tired conversation about winter flung me into the memory of wearing mittens on a string as a toddler. I don't actually remember wearing them, mittens on, but am stirred by the slightest sensation of something dangling off my wrists, and of stingingly cold, red-raw fingers, wet from forming snowballs. Tugging at recall's slack fabric the string became a rope, long and firm enough to draw up all manner of things as from a deep well. Hearsay only that the river was frozen over when
I was born. Is it true that winter unfailingly covered the promenade under our windows with a thick white blanket? Maybe I can trust the ambivalence of feeling, of experience: the exhilaration of snowball fire, pelting those icy missiles, hardened by rolling them in bare hands, is set against the fear, no, terror, of being hit in the face, which also marred any ballgame I might participate in, and my shame about that fear and how it made me awkward, past and present.
All the while the word 'heirloom' was throbbing at the back of my mind, with a question about one of its constituent parts: does 'loom' here refer to the weaving of memories and relationships, or to something from the past looming large?

The mittens are oversize, each 26 cm x 44 cm,
connecting string 220 cm long, 2.2 cm thick

9 comments:

Lesley B. said...

I remember the mittins on a string too and pockets sewn up on my outdoor coat so as not to spoil the shape of my coat with too many 'finds'. Your welcome return is a reminder that I intend to make a piece of work inspired by your poetry.Apologies.

aine scannell said...

Hi there Marjojo

It's lovely to drop by and see your blog again and the lovely way you have with talking about your life/ your art/ your work.

keep going it makes the world more interesting inspiring and beautiful

Aine

Uschi said...

I remember them,too.... This shitty string always a bit too short...hated it in my neck, as well as I didn't like "Strumpfmützen"..the whole head became itchy.
But I LOVE winter and a head without a cap and fingers pulled inside my sleeves :)))
Nice to "see" you!!

redredday said...

dear Marjojo, did you rewrite it again? i thought i liked it better before (the first rewrite?) but now reading again, i can't seem to get into it as much. i like the beginning but got lost in the words after the third sentence...i could not quite connect the written words with the mittens themselves. maybe it would be different if they are right in front of me and the words are spoken...?
i love that the mittens are oversized - my goodness - they are almost half of me. you cannot tell how crazy big they are from the picture. from that alone, i can imagine how awkward and out of place one would feel just being in its presence. they probably fit better over the head.

Marjojo said...

Yes, nice to be back - thanks for the welcome!
Uschi: I don't remember Strumpfmützen, but definitely very scratchy, woolly or acrylic hats, in fact I'm scratching my head now...
Mien: you are absolutely right, got lost in the third sentence on re-reading, felt that string looping around my neck, such a convoluted, pompous mess of words... Cut the text down a bit more, I have a tendency to overstate ideas, think it'll hold up better now. I'm struggling with my righting at the moment, and was glad for your clear-headed feedback, thanks.
Marjojo, sitting with head in her mitten

redredday said...

hahah Marjojo. you wrote: struggling with your 'righting'. intentional? i like it regardless. never thought of writing as that way before...

it's strange, i'm not exactly sure what words had been taken out and changed but the text just flows better now even though the content of it doesn't seem to have changed a bit. i totally get it, esp. that feeling of thrill and terror and shame and awkwardness all at once. oh childhood. makes me wonder if it is still like this now...

Marjojo said...

It does flow better, doesn't it! Haha, righting, honest mistake, comes from writing with mitten pulled over head...

Kruse said...

Hey! you're back! :) Was thinking about you just this afternoon as Catherine and I are preparing for the Leeds Artists Book Fair again. Remember the poems from last year? Right, off to read your post now!

mansuetude said...

i like this memory

i never had a pair of mittens on a string myself, i probably would have broken the string to have freedom of mobility. Mittens are a srange thing... wish i understood metrics, cause your mittens are big but i only know that from Red



~
once got hit in the face by a high fly ball when learning how to catch. a guy hit the ball up so high (to give me time to "get under it") and the sun was all i saw the ball hit me in the face and i went down like a stunned penguin. funny memories.

.
thanks for the "sensation" :)