I wish somebody with a car would grab me unsuspecting, just bundle me in and drive me off blind-folded at speed to see art in other parts, unwrapping my eyes before unknown surprises…somebody who would filter me through the visual, distil my senses slowly drip by drip, padding foot by searching footfall until well, something beautiful and brilliant crystallised before my disbelief.

It might look something like this in formation:


Which, I should explain, is a drawing by painter and glass artist Franki Austin for the forthcoming Book Festival exhibition at the University of Surrey, which runs from Tuesday 17th October to Thursday 2nd November (the private view is 5.30-7.30 16th October if you want to schmooze). I am drawn by what she says about the show: - “the sound of footsteps are the insubstantial echoes of a presence. Vanishing into air, they leave thoughts, memories, and visions in their place”. She refers to the subtle connection between visual art and literature in the Zen Buddhism of C.15th Japan and the gnomic maxim, “a poem is a painting with a voice, a painting is a voiceless poem”.

Makes me think of Samuel Beckett’s May who finds comfort in the sound of this subtle trace-making: “I must hear the feet, however faint they fall”…

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