Lost extracts…Purple Noon


Here’s a passage in a notebook I wrote for ‘Dogtooth Chronicals’, which never even got typed, let alone into the book.  It was forgotten, but some ideas from it weaved in later, in other ways.  They’re sneaky like that.  I must’ve been writing while/after watching ‘Plein Soleil’ (Rene Clement, 1960, the original version of ‘The Talented Mr Ripley), as I’ve made some note on it.  I doubt it’s that relevant, but hey.

Roxanne Ratcliffe

The train was a cage, that trapped the world outside in a picture frame.  And us inside, a stage, on which banal dramas payed out.  One of my little defensive habits of the mind was always to fictionalise everything.  To be the actors & the audience all at once, so as to be emotionally involved only up to a point.  Beyond that I’m blase to emotional events, certain detachment is needed to keep a level head.

“I’ve always been a lucid dreamer…” Simian muttered, nibbling at the remains of a rodent dinner “Sometimes I dream in the third person.  Or I dream I’m watching a film, but I’m also in the film.  So I’m flicking between observing & experiencing”

He peered at a minute piece of bone, then discarded it.

“You are all just characters I attribute traits to” he said, smiling uncertainly.  He knew I would empathise.

I painted us all in my head as white cardboard silhouettes, on which details could be inked in.  There is a loneliness to this detachment though.  If you don’t feel your own troubles, it’s difficult to feel other peoples.  The train paused briefly next to a tree that had been hit by lightening sometime.  It was black yet silvered, twisting majestically upwards like a prop in a Tim Burton film.  It was exposed like a wound to the sky on a little hillock.  All around the land has slid, and everything looks as though it has been churned around into a muddy sprawling puddle.  Beyond it, evergreens crowned the horizon.  Carrying a sense of optimism, gleaming greenly as adolescents.  The train tumbled on, and I felt an acute awareness of the weight of our bodies…


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