surrealism in ashfield

Yesterday in the Ashfield library I felt the earth move. I was sitting in one of the courtesy seats looking at a book on Surrealism. Great book, wish I'd borrowed it now. It wasn't the writing, it wasn't the pictures of the artworks, it was the photographs - excellent b & w pics of all the main suspects, including the women. Especially the women. I've just read Ruth Brandon's wonderful Surreal Lives, whose only defect might be a paucity of pictures of the people she's writing and you're reading about. Elsa Triolet, Helena Diakanova . . . and more. And then the earth moved. I'd just come off a heavy three day stint driving, 1 pm to 11 pm or thereabouts; five or six hour sleeps, left over adrenaline still coursing through my veins, the peculiar ear thing I still have that manifests as a feeling that at any moment I am about to pitch forward onto my face . . . but don't. Or will I? So I thought, whoa! This is worse than usual, am I about to come to grief? Laid the book down and sat still for a mo'. No-one else seemed alert or alarmed, it must have been just me. Picked up the book again . . . there it was again, a definite lurch. I felt the beginnings of panic, manifest in the thought: I need to lie down, how will I get home? Didn't bring the car, it's a kilometer walk, hot day outside, how? And then, the third displacement and I thought, no, that wasn't me. That was the world. I stood up very carefully, replaced the book on the shelf and walked as steadily as I could towards the exit. Distantly I heard the sound of heavy machinery and remembered, too late, that they are constructing a new municipal building next door to the library, to replace the old one that stood there, the one they tore down. A line from a poem about Gilgamesh came to mind: He walks the tilting earth / unknowing . . . On into the furnace of the afternoon, the tipping, changeable world, the conditional uncertainty, the false certainty of our perceptual, conceptual, accommodations.