Richard Warren

20thc British art and poetry (mainly), plus bits of my own – "Clearly I tap to you clearly along the plumbing of the world" (W S Graham)

The failure of self-image

We all parade around with a picture inside our heads of how we think we look. It’s amusing to sit people-watching, and mind-read by decoding appearances, working backwards from the less impressive reality of the optimistic haircut and the too-young clothes. Amusing, that is, until you catch sight of yourself in the mirror …

The failure of self-image. We slip seamlessly from lamb to mutton, from Promethean to Quixotic, from the aspirational to the absurd.

On the other hand, it takes balls to wear skinny leggings, six inch heels and a plastic flower in your hair when you’re well over seventy, like the lady who has just walked into the supermarket café as I write. Respect, madam! Failures of self-image, we salute you! The absurd is always absurd, but it can take on a heroic dignity. At least we’re trying, even if our efforts fall short, as we know in our hearts that they will.

The gap between aspiration and absurdity: this is the space in which we all live.

(from 101 Unrealised Projects, a work possibly in progress)

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