I’ve decide to write the next essay on The Devil’s Footprints, rather than Glister. The starting point is a quotation, ‘a willed blindness’ (p.208), and a recent essay of John’s called Walk the Tightrope. My initial conception is to divide the work into three parts which is something I’ve never really done in my writing, but I think it suits the project.
The first section will concentrate on a close reading of a passage from ‘Traffic from Paradise’, viewed through the lens of ‘Walk the Tightrope’ and looking at the way in which Michael Gardiner strips back the self. The epigraph will be ‘being present, being stripped of all pretence. Being myself at last, empty-handed, with nothing to defend’ (p.197). Building on this, the second section will focus on a close reading of ‘The Curlew Sandpiper’, addressing issues of connection and compassion – of how to reach out to the other, using the final few lines of the novel as a starting point:
I feel sorry for him, I suppose. I never speak to him, or give out any signal that I know who he is, but there are times when I want to take him out to the point and show him the birds. (p.224)
The third section will then be about the act of writing, both creative and critical (as well as questioning any such division), and, through the lens of ‘Walk the Tightrope’ and ‘Strong Words’, discussing the potential of writing to act as that bridge, and as a form of dwelling.