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By Ali Smith

Offers a meditative number of writings at the nature of paintings and storytelling and contains tribute parts to iconic writers and artists all through history.

summary: offers a meditative choice of writings at the nature of paintings and storytelling and comprises tribute parts to iconic writers and artists all through background

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Sample text

You were wearing that black waistcoat with the white stitching that went out of fashion in 1995, the one we gave to Oxfam. Your skin was smudged. Your hair was streaked with dust and grit. You looked bruised. You shook yourself slightly there on the landing and little bits of grit and rubble fell off you, I watched some of it fall down the stairs behind you. I’m late, you said. You’re—, I said. Late, you said again and brushed at your arms and shoulders. I’m later than—. I’m later than—. Than—.

He puts aside his tyrannous ways; reforms his morality. He remakes his friend, in clay. ’ This is Czesław Miłosz on decay, from his poem called No More (translated by Anthony Miłosz): if I could find for their miserable bones In a graveyard whose gates are licked by greasy water A word more enduring than their last-used comb That in the rot under tombstones, alone, awaits the light, Then I wouldn’t doubt. Out of reluctant matter What can be gathered? Nothing, beauty at best. And so, cherry blossoms must suffice for us And chrysanthemums and the full moon.

It was wonderful. Not that I wasn’t glad you were back, coming and going like you did over the weeks, the same you only slightly more ragged-looking every time, and every time coming in like I wasn’t even there and going straight over and sitting at the study desk, pulling your hair out over those talks you had been going to give about books and art. I never saw you doing any actual writing, I only ever saw you pulling your hair out. You’ll be bald soon if you keep doing that, I said. Like the nodding De Chirico heads in Sylvia Plath’s The Disquieting Muses, you said from your seat at the desk.

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