Saturday, 30 June 2012

Fighting the Green Man

Canterbury Cathedral's Green Man
          I was going to write this week about how busy I was last week with various business trips - but now that they're all done, I can't find any enthusiasm for blogging about them.
          Instead I’m going to write about an idea that has unexpectedly taken over my mind.  It keeps nudging in when it isn’t wanted, and won’t go away.
          I woke up one morning a couple of weeks ago, thinking about it.  You ought to  make, it said, a Green Man face out of papier-mache.
          But why would I want to?  While having nothing  against Green Men, I don’t want one.  I didn’t know I wanted to make one.
          But the idea won’t go away.  When I’m trying to concentrate on other things – like writing a blog, or finishing the Sterkarm book  – it sidles in.  You could use, it says, one of those cheap plastic face masks as a former… Where did that come from?  I hardly even knew those masks existed  - though there they are, on Amazon, 99p
          I dismiss the whole notion.  It’s a waste of time.  But it won’t go away – The leaves could be different colours, it says, as I wake on another morning.  As if the year was turning: some bright green and spring-like, others yellow and red.  There could be berries.
          But I don’t want to make it!  It would take a long time, it would be messy – and what would I do with it, even if I finished it?  It would be big, and heavy and utterly useless.  I couldn’t sell it: I wouldn’t even want it myself.
          But still the idea won’t go away.  Try, it whispers.  See if you could do it.  You’d have to look at different leaves – it’d be interesting, something different.  Go on…
Norwich Green Man
          My aunt laughed when I told her.  The Prices are all the same, she said.  They just want to be making something.  Don’t care about it when it’s made – they only want to make it.  Your grandfather, she said, when he worked at the brickyard, used to make animal figures out of clay and fire them along with the bricks –  and then would give them away. He wasn’t interested in them when they were done; he just wanted to see if he could make them.  Look at your brothers, she said, always drawing, painting, modelling, carving... Can't help themselves.
           But where do these ideas come from?  Why are they so insistent and hard to dismiss?  Why are they there waiting when you wake up?  Why a Green Man, of all things?
          So that’s where I am at the moment – trying to finish the Sterkarm book that might make me some money, trying to publish my backlist as ebooks, and trying to fight off a Green Man…

          I also blog over at Do Authors Dream of Electric Books?

          And if you love books, and have an e-reader, you might like to rummage through this goodie-bags of books.


Anonymous said...

how weird, about two weeks ago i got it into my head to make a mask. i rationalised it by saying that my wife had asked me to make something for the house, but underneath i just wanted to be sculpting something again, (my wife is my perfect partner she puts up with me having these madcap ideas with only rare demands that i keep things close to tidy). I quickly decided that it didnt need to be a wearable mask- more like a base relief- so i could use a balloon as a template, and that papermache takes too long - remember its about the process with us prices- so i used paper soaked in plaster of paris to quickly create a hard and sturdy shell. what i've got so far is a kind of mardi-gras head but on a human scale- i like it- and soon i will finish it and give it away... Brother Blot

Jenny Alexander said...

I love this post! Partly because I always find these images fascinating, which emerge from our dreaming in the morning and then stay with us, like a child trying to get the parent's attention. If you shrug them off for more 'sensible' preoccupations, they can either get angry/whiney/more persistent or, more usually, give up and go away. Personally, I would always pay attention, listen, serve the image in whichever way it demands - through sculpting, poem-making, researching, music-making... then the reason why it's come, what it wants, what it has to give, is gradually revealed. I think in writing this post, you're serving the green man. I hope you make the mask and write another post later, about how the two of you are getting along!

Susan Price said...

Hi Brother Blott! - I guessed it was you as soon as I started reading. The first post is from my brother, folks, one of those Prices who're always drawing, painting, etc.
And how weird is that!? Is my Green Man a telepathic spin off from my brother's Green Man - or vice versa?
And why, suddenly a Green Man for either of us? While being mildly interested, I don't think either of us in particuarly into Green Men.
And Jenny, I probably will have a go at making 'Him'. He's still knocking. Previous experience tells me I'll have to have a go, jst to get rid of him - so I can concentrate on being sensible.

Jenny Alexander said...

:) I hope we'll get a pic here on the blog - maybe Blott will have a thing or two to say about his green man too!

Joan Lennon said...

You have EXCELLENT dreams! (Sure beats missing my flight or losing my teeth or not quite having sex with ... never mind)

And Noir nursery rhymes? Absolutely!

madwippitt said...

Gor for it with yoiur Green Man/Woman mask ... I make papier mache wippitts and greyhounds for charity auctions - it isn't that messy at all, and the end product isn't heavy either: and it's strangely therapeutic. The weather is warm enough that it will dry quickly, so you can do a bit each day.
Good to see Blott back too!

Susan Price said...

You're all encouraging me to waste even more time than I waste anyway! That's very practical advice, madwippit. Can we have a photo of your model whippets - papier-mache and flesh and blood side by side?

madwippitt said...

It's not time-wasteful at all, but allows your brain to freewheel and resolve plot issues and come up with ideas ... think of it as being essential creative-thinking time with a material product also at the end of it! A picture is on it's way to you, but not here as this comments box is, quite rightly, very firm about permitting only text ... :-)

Lee said...

Ideas that won't go away are telling you something - maybe you should try it.

My son and I once made a mammoth T-Rex out of papier-mache over a wire frame, good 1,5m tall. I wish we'd been able to bring it with us from Africa - those teeth!