My husband’s gift this holiday was an offer to read out loud to me the entire manuscript of “The Crooked Mirror.” He wanted to have an intimate relationship with the work, he said. I balked. He insisted. About eight days ago, he began reading and I began listening.
It really has been a gift, as it becomes clear what doesn’t fit, what sentences can be shed. It’s been an opportunity to wrangle with ideas about historical context… how much do you need to know? When do you need to know it? I can hear where the voice shifts, when images resonate and when they’re a burden to the narrative.
I’ve been touched by Lloyd’s gift to read my manuscript aloud. This morning, on my New Year’s day walk, I realized how his desire to connect with my book mirrors my desire to enter into a conversation with his artwork, his sculptures.
For many years Lloyd created large outdoor site works for parks, municipal buildings, a college for the deaf.
Now however, he’s primarily making sculpture on a different scale. Rather than building at epic size with mortared stone or concrete or steel– he’s evolved a daily studio practice using humble materials like paper or wool felt. He disappears into the studio, emerges with a new piece. We look at it, critique it, then he disappears with it again to destroy, re-make, or improve the original effort.
When I draw his pieces, I try to sense his gesture, how the medium conforms to his desires and sometimes, how he yields to the material’s flexibility or its intransigence. He wrestles with the stiff felt, he bends it, sews it, twists it. He also lets his materials surprise him, just as I am often surprised by words that want to be said.
Only eight more chapters to go.