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The Dark Side.


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It struck me today that I really do have a ghoulish dark side.

My daughter is doing a year 11 art project which involves taking a household object and using it to create 20 different artworks from.

She chose an eggplant (that’s my girl!)

So far she has different photographs, all very artfully done (this is her “thingâ€, photography), various sketches where the eggplants take on different cutesy characters and some carved eggplants which are again – cute.

She complained to me that her new art teacher keeps looking at what she’s done so far and smiling and saying “that’s sweetâ€.

Today he suggested she try something other than “sweet†and I explained to her that he probably wants something more out of the box – more….. ARTY.

So we mulled it over for a while and I came up with the idea of slitting open an eggplant, stuffing some cooked spaghetti, covered with tomato sauce inside the “woundâ€, placing it on the side of the road, near the gutter, where she could lay down and take a photo getting a perspective shot with the rough gravel like road being at the forefront of the photo.

She could name it “Road killâ€.

Then I told her she should take the cute toadstool she carved out of an eggplant and put it outside on the table in the sun(and rain) and photograph it in its decaying states. It will grow it’s own moss and fungi out there and the result could very well end up as being quite an art form unto itself. (Lord knows I have discovered enough of these sorts of metamorphic artistic “forms†in the bottom of my vegetable drawer over the years – Who woulda thought that a carrot could end up looking exactly like a cooked sausage!)

I showed her a spoken “thing†I had done once called “Corpse in the cupboardâ€. For some reason it was spoken in a badly done kind of Irish/Scottish accent that somehow came over me at the time I recorded it (along with sinister musical backing)

It was inspired by my discovery of a horribly decaying eggplant that somebody (not me!) had put in an unused “junk†cupboard in the kitchen.

I tell you it really was a horrific find! Oozing, and sliming away in secret there.

Though she laughed, she told me my story was “disturbingâ€.

In fact this word came up several times in the conversation – to describe me, my mind, my thoughts. Disturbing.

I suppose I do have some disturbing ideas at times.

I wonder where this attraction to “the dark†and the ghoulish comes from?

I think it comes from fear.

It’s like when people can’t help but stop and rubber neck at a traffic accident.

You don’t want to see…but you do want to see….

You want to see because it terrifies you.

By seeing, really LOOKING, maybe you’ll overcome your fear?

I don’t know.

Maybe, as terrible as it sounds, you just feel thankful it wasn’t you.

I remember as a child in primary school seeing a dead dog in the ditch right near the school.

This was in Africa, maybe we didn’t have good councils there or something but that dead dog stayed there for weeks….months even!

I remember seeing it week after week, slowly decaying.

The process was both disturbing, yet fascinating.

I can still recall the repulsiveness I felt, and the fear…seeing with my own eyes what death does, and yet I had to LOOK.

So why is this all coming to mind right now?

(This is kind of like automatic writing at the moment – a spewing of random thoughts.)

Because this morning my other daughter told me that on her way to the doctors she saw a dead dog, hit by a car, on the side of the road and its stomach had been ripped open and its intestines had spilled out.

Her description shocked me because I “saw†it in my head.

I didn’t want to see, but I did want to see.

I’ve been seeing it all day.

The truth of the matter is, I am terrified of death.

My own, other peoples, my parents, dead dogs.... just death in general.

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