Absence (Goldie Goldbloom)
My grandmother lived in a rural area. She had cherry trees outside her windows. She had washing cracking on a line. The wind was cold but there was a fire inside a house that my grandfather built with his own two hands. At the nearby whaling station, whales lost their heads.
My grandmother had bad eyesight. Her house was dusty. She noticed a tangled pile of yarn on a chair and used a vacuum cleaner to remove the mess. I should have put away the knitting, she said. The tangle wasn’t yarn. It was a hairy huntsman spider, something similar to a tarantula. Its legs waved outside the nozzle of the vacuum cleaner and then, with a slurp, the spider was sucked inside. I touched the lip of the machine. Why, I asked.
My grandmother said that an empty space attracts things towards it. Inside the vacuum cleaner, she said, there was nothingness. Nothingness, she said, is a powerful force.
I sat thinking about this idea. I thought of the picture I had seen of two people facing each other that was sometimes a vase. I thought about black holes. I thought about how the absence of a heart was the tin man’s reason for embarking on the yellow brick road, and I thought about how I, as a child, was often isolated, my own empty space. I wondered what I might be attracting to myself and hoped it wasn’t spiders. I worried whether the huntsman spider would climb out of the vacuum cleaner and come to feast on my fingers.
An older person now, I still like to think about the way absence exerts an attractive force. Barthes’ invisible photographs; Cixous’ moving scrims; Crace’s hidden worlds within sand dunes; Scarry’s phantom pain; Müller’s unmentionable governments; Schulz’s shrinking father. Unknowingness, uncertainty, mystery, darkness, loss: Nothingness giving rise to the creation of the numinous.
The presence of absence remains, for me, terrifying and exquisite.
Pour citer cette ressource :
Goldie Goldbloom, "Absence (Goldie Goldbloom)", La Clé des Langues [en ligne], Lyon, ENS de LYON/DGESCO (ISSN 2107-7029), avril 2014. Consulté le 29/11/2023. URL: https://cle.ens-lyon.fr/anglais/litterature/entretiens-et-textes-inedits/absence-goldie-goldbloom-