‘Analysis (11)’


‘Analysis (11)’



Paint over photographs

Flood / waterfall of image 




Babies / infants

Object loss, transitional object 







Scrapbook / collage 

Daughter / father 



The other woman

Art as transitional object – sent out into the world 

Sublimation of melancholia?

Explore Winnicott, Klein? 

Kristeva: capacity to be alone necessary for sublimation 

Where is that capacity / freedom for a mother? A baby? A woman? 


The capacity to be alone is what frees us to write; to paint; to embroider. This capacity does not require us to actually be physically alone – even if sometimes that’s where we start, or the only condition that we can set for ourselves. Aloneness of the mind is sometimes possible, I’ve found, amid others – at a kitchen table, or a library desk – as if some of the dentine terror of the self can be rubbed away and dulled by my body’s knowledge of other humans close by.


So we practise a pretence of return, or a return matured by time: back to the infant’s fantasy of self-omnipotence – which nonetheless depends on the presence of a mother. Life begins with such lies. We can’t go back, we never can. But still, there must be a plunge, and a hospitable environment for a lonely soul to bob around in! For women, though, both men and babies threaten the borders of this kingdom, dredging the moat when she wants to swim all the way out.


At the edge of the water, I heard a cry, ‘We’ve found it!’

And a small girl’s fist closes too quickly, too firmly once again, and as it slips out I glimpse plastic, cerulean blue, ecstatic colour and no form in the water’s glint. Not stone nor shell, not yet lost, but imp


Four brothers were wading in the shallow water off the beach, one with the youngest hoisted on his hip. The eldest spun on his back in the water, reciting ‘Thou shalt be judged by thy actions…’ while the little one cried. And people were lying or sitting, hunched, to escape the heat in the shadow under the pier, and if you didn’t move straight from sea to shadow your mind might short-circuit before the task of protecting yourself or others.

It’s not only those famous culprits who pull me out of the water. It’s never just a man with a muse he wants to shape me into, his other woman; nor those in my care; nor my boss listening to me type in poem-tempo. In response, make a flood: image, image, image, image, slapstick, stitched and desecrated. Because we don’t know what it is that really stops us… 


Interacting with men in Paris – the problem partly me, how I interacted with them. I can’t understand it now, or repeat it. How did I survive it all.


My jettisoning of that capacity in the face of another’s creativity – the strain at the breakfast table when E said, ‘I’m the creative one’. How I described it later, what rose in me, as an archaic rage – transferring the past onto the present, bumping into something long ago ossified in me. 


Ainslee Meredith

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