‘Ten years / unfinished’

This collage has taken years. I know because there are dates on the back from previous times I thought it was completed: April 2013, April 2018. Images often seem finished, sometimes for a long time. It’s tempting to persuade yourself that a collage is right because you want it to be right, because you’re tired of finding fault or wondering ‘What if?’. And then a nagging voice/eye tells you it’s not done.

The poets Robert Lowell and Elizabeth Bishop kept up a decades long correspondence. Lowell described Bishop’s methods in a poem: “Do/ you still hang your words in air, ten years/ unfinished, glued to your notice board, with gaps/ or empties for the unimaginable phrase”. I don’t think I have the same patience, but I like the idea.

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