For a while now I have become more and more fascinated by Tim Burton’s universe. It started off mildly with Corpse Bride and Nightmare Before Christmas and then I have taken everything I’ve been able to get my hands on. Then when everybody went and got disappointed about Alice in Wonderland (and why was it 3D and it wasn’t original at all and it didn’t look like Tim Burton…) I secretly loved the expansion of the world on the other side of the rabbit hole. I sometimes find myself dreaming of living in this lugubrious, gloomy and slightly morbid universe of corpses, skeleton-men and pipe-smoking caterpillars. In this place where forms and structures are turned upside down and cookies make you bigger (which in a sense is true) and potions make you smaller (if only that was true) where you have to fight off dragons and the craft of hat making is still an actual job, where the most fun happens where the dead rule and what is up here, where sadly we live, is no way near as colorful as in the land of the dead.
When I was smaller the fascination was slightly different but in some ways an aspect of the same thing. I must have read every book about pirates, treasures, knights and witches. I dreamed of being the best sword’s-woman around Arthur’s table, having to ride horses and brew potions, probably with a handful of magical powers OR if that didn’t work out Robinson Crusoe. At this point I was still afraid werewolves and vampires were true and despite the fact that my room was on the first floor, I knew werewolves could climb walls, so it was impossible for me to sleep with my back to the window (yes this is the bare truth). Yet I found these creatures fascinating, creatures of the night, drinking blood and transforming into beastly figures of humans (uuh Freud I can feel you have something to say). Right maybe the vampires and the werewolves are a little over the top but they were part of this world without conventions and structures where magic is a given and where there’s nothing weird about a turban-wearing, blue, pipe-smoking (and very cleaver) caterpillar. So I think what this post is about, apart from praising late rabbits with pocket watches and the macabre life of talking green worms (inside skulls), is to invite you all to take a moment and think about how it looks like on the other side of you own rabbit hole.
View the artist’s place here
How is it that my writing is always put off by something else…? How is it that I can spend a moment, longer than long, contemplating the keyboard, or starting writing and then erasing, starting writing then erasing, starting writing and then erasing, you get the picture… As if the words would physically hurt me or at least be very mean and tell me off after being written. Then I manage to watch everything from old French movies to all the world’s crappiest romantic comedies (always set in NY where some guy hurts the pretty American and then it rains and they make up and they walk off in the parc, because that is still the story) or Scream 4… Why? The same with books, I probably have 36 books waiting for me, and I AM looking forward to reading them, but something always comes up. Only “something” is just code for my neurotic obsessing with the fact that I have 36 books to read and I should start but maybe I should just check the boots I dig on eBay OR wash up OR watch “Made of Honor” (twice and ashamed) OR wash up again OR why not make a cup of tea OR smoke a cigarette OR call my brother OR tiens pourquoi pas appeller Jean Christopher… Why? See then I tell myself that it’s just because I’m stuck between three languages and that I don’t know if I write better in Danish in French or in English and that I’m going to make mistakes anyway and then I look at other people’s writing and I tell myself “now I’m just gonna’ do it… After this cigarette!” And then I start… And I erase, I start and erase, yes I should stop repeating. And then the self-pitying begins and that’s just where all hope is gone, so I watch another movie just to take the edge of, Patrick Demspey driving really fast, damn it that’s Made of Honor again, it has to stop! At least when I watch Les Misérables, I can kinda’ say it’s like reading Victor Hugo, better than Patrick Dempsey (not putting a comment about his hair, it really has got to stop)! Well I’ll smoke a cigarette and then for sure I’ll find something really interesting to write about, OR… And then I think yea why not write about death or the absence of fear of death or have you ever thought of how easy it would be to jump out just before the tube passes you by and slows down, just that thought of the one tiny movement that could end your life (or at least cut off a limb)… Nah maybe that’s too dark, I’ll leave it hanging and watch another movie, and then definitely I’ll write something superbe!
NB: This post is both in English & in French, do the scrollin’ and it will come to you
La pieuvre n’a pas de masse musculaire, pas de cri menaçant, pas de cuirasse, pas de corne, pas de dard, pas de pince, pas de queue prenante ou contondante, pas d’ailerons tranchants, pas d’ailerons onglés, pas d’épines, pas d’épée, pas de décharge électrique, pas de virus, pas de venin, pas de griffes, pas de bec, pas de dents. La pieuvre est de toutes les bêtes la plus formidablement armée.
Qu’est-ce donc que la pieuvre ? C’est la ventouse. (…)
Une forme grisâtre oscille dans l’eau ; c’est gros comme le bras et long d’une demi-aune environ ; c’est un chiffon ; cette forme ressemble à un parapluie fermé qui n’aurait pas de manche. Cette loque avance vers vous peu à peu. Soudain, elle s’ouvre, huit rayons s’écartent brusquement autour d’une face qui a deux yeux ; ces rayons vivent ; il y a du flamboiement dans leur ondoiement ; c’est une sorte de roue ; déployée, elle a quatre ou cinq pieds de diamètre. Épanouissement effroyable. Cela se jette sur vous.
L’hydre harponne l’homme.
Cette bête s’applique sur sa proie, la recouvre, et la noue de ses longues bandes. En dessous elle est jaunâtre, en dessus elle est terreuse ; rien ne saurait rendre cette inexplicable nuance poussière ; on dirait une bête faite de cendre qui habite l’eau. Elle est arachnéide par la forme et caméléon par la coloration. Irritée, elle devient violette. Chose épouvantable, c’est mou.
Ses nœuds garrottent ; son contact paralyse.
Elle a un aspect de scorbut et de gangrène ; c’est de la maladie arrangée en monstruosité.
The devil-fish has no muscular organization, no menacing cry, no breastplate, no horn, no dart, no claw, no tail with which to hold or bruise, no cutting fins, no wings with nails, no prickles, no sword, no electric discharge, no poison, no talons, no beak, no teeth, — yet he is of all creatures the most formidably armed. What then is the devil-fish? It is the sea vampire. The swimmer who, attracted by the beauty of the spot, ventures among breakers in the open sea, where the still waters hide the splendors of the deep, or in the hollows of unfrequented rocks, in unknown caverns abounding in sea plants, testacea, and crus- tacea, under the deep portals of the ocean, runs the risk of meeting it. If that fate should be yours, be not curious, but fly.
The intruder enters there daz- zled, but quits the spot in terror. This frightful apparition, which is always possible among the rocks in the open sea, is a grayish form which undulates in the water. It is of the thickness of a man’s arm, and in length nearly five feet. Its outline is ragged. Its form resembles an umbrella closed, and without handle. This irregular mass ad- vances slowly towards you. Suddenly it opens, and eight radii issue abruptly from around a face with two eyes. These radii are alive : their undulation is like lambent flames; they resemble, when opened, the spokes of a wheel of four or five feet in diame- ter, — a terrible expansion! It springs upon its prey. The devil-fish lassoes its victim. It winds around the sufferer, covering and entan- gling him in its long folds. Underneath it is yellow ; above, of a dull, earthy hue: nothing could render that inexplicable shade dust-colored; from its color, this dweller of the sea might have been made of ashes. Its form is spider-like, but its tints are like those of the chameleon. When irritated it be- ’comes violet. Its most horrible characteristic is its softness. Its folds strangle, its contact paralyzes. / It has an aspect like gangrened or scabrous flesh. A monstrous embodiment of disease.
Victor Hugo “Les Travailleurs de la mer” (Toilers of the Sea), 1866
This blog hereby proclame the end of the LOL era! This is not a reaction against the flourishing of new technologies and ways of expression, it is simply a hope that people will express their joy and joys with actual words, metaphors maybe even in poetry… Ode to joy and happiness.