In this installment of Page 69,
we put Helen McClory's On the Edges of Vision to the test.
OK, Helen, set up page 69 for us.
It's the first page of a short prose poem called 'Shadows', a retelling of the Cupid and Psyche (or Beauty and the Beast) myth story, but run through with ideas of multiverses and both macro and microscopic landscapes. Basically a love poem to science and trying to connect and exist.
What is On the Edges of Vision about?
On the Edges of Vision is a collection of flash fictions, short stories and prose poems like 'Shadows' which deal with the loneliness of literary monsters - and gods and demons and people who just think of themselves as monstrous. Like it says on the back of the book, the monster is human, and only wants to reach out and take you by the hand.
Do you think this page gives our readers an accurate sense of what On the Edges of Vision is about? Does it align itself the collections’s overall theme?
While it doesn't represent the general style of writing in the book - more traditionally short-storyish pieces predominate, and many with a pitch black sense of humour - I think it certainly aligns with the idea of connection, of finding or failing to find a self within the presence of others.
ON THE EDGES OF VISION
an we be Cupid and Psyche? It’s so terribly dark here, in here, closed in by the nothing, beloved, I sink and switch. But here comes the odour of herbs growing on a stony hillside. There are galaxies that are nothing but hanging gardens of scent. I think, and there are your fingernails, digging in the dirt and ripping leaves. The mass of it all. If I can try to describe them. Shuddering past. If I zoom in on the almond nails and the delicate green needles.
Down further is the bridge of plant veins, the cellular heartland. Down further, the palace in the mountains. The doors part and the palace is gilded but just as dark, so what is the point of goldwork and marble escaliers you cannot see? I ask, awaiting a serious answer. By the light of a candle, that’s all you get. A candle held up against multiverses of sovereign black.
Can you drip wax red onto my bare wrist and that way, that way block me out? Patter. To be in love you must