Wednesday, April 11, 2007

my red self

i bought this book, violence, by helena kvarnstrom on a lark late last night. it was only $10 plus a mere $1 for shipping and it looks beautiful and creepy and fraught with psychological tension just like i like so i'm excited for it to come. the cover design grabbed me at once. her work reminds me of robert frank and francesca woodman, maybe also nan goldin, there is one image in particular of a shed that reminds me of michal rovner, and the picture of the bird on her menu page brings to my mind an image by susan paulson from a little known book called tomatoes on the back porch. i couldn't tell you if the work is entirely diary based or not, but the book combines her images with her writings, which appeals to my love of both memoir and photography. the tender pairing of text and image creates this blended visual and literary poeticism that i find irresistible.

the excerpt that directly led to my purchase:

"and i'll bury myself so deep inside you and i'll be your tragedy and you won't have to find it anywhere else, pay for it on movie screens and play it in your songs, i can be all the tragedy you need and i'll tell you all my stories and you'll look so serious and maybe you'll cry and you'll say you're so sorry you're so sorry and i'll write myself onto your palms onto your lips you'll swallow me hard you'll wonder if you're one of my stories too and one day the back of your hand will run into my cheekbone.

your hand will run into my cheekbone and i'll become sand.

the times you fell in love me with were: when i ran out of the store and you found me on the floor in the bathroom and i would not stop shaking. when i could not breathe on the bench. when i borrowed scissors from your mother to cut up my pills and did not brush my hair. i am running out of reasons for you to love me even before the piss yellow snow melts and you know it is up to you now. you love me best with a wet face and swollen lips and i don't mind much.

sometime in december i run out of the house with no shoes and it is the first time i have left for a week. i cross ashland and stare at the ground and there is no one to see me, past the laundromat where you buy me gum and rubber bouncy balls while we wait for the bleach to take away that week's accidents. the laundromat is owned by a very nice hispanic man and it is called soapy's. that's where we tell people to turn left to come visit us but no one comes anymore. it's so quiet at night here and then the freight train goes by and i regret not getting to the tracks sooner just to be close to the sound. you watch tv and imagine my body crushed by boxes carrying lumber, cars, and children's cold medicine."

this is the route that brought violence to me (or me to violence depending on how you look at it): emiliebjork's flickr page (yesterday's flickr selection) brought me to paper-doll where i browsed a wide range of good and bad photos until i got to helena's which took me to her site, my red self, which brought me to lazyline from whom i bought the book.

aren't you jealous alissa? maybe if you're really nice i'll bring it next weekend to show you at some romantically quiet moment.


jinius said...

oh wow that excerpt was beautiful.

bluebird said...

i know! i just got the book yesterday but i haven't had a chance to read it yet. i think it will be really good. the pictures look ok.

Helena said...

i'm so glad you like it

Sharleen said...

Just stumbled upon this and your blog. The cover work is by Tiphanie Brooke (