At last night’s Pale Project, one of the members produced a sketch of an emotional map of her Pale. Her initiative threw up a surprising result: in the areas of greatest natural beauty in her Pale, the map recorded sadness and anxiety; in the most anonymous spaces where trespass was already evident, the map recorded happiness.
Today I came across this organisation, thanks to Mark Joyce.
These thoughts carried into the discussion at Salon Nights at the Studio with Claire Louise Bennett, Joanna Walsh and Susan Tomaselli. Both writers opened up new avenues for writing about displacement and desire; and how to find a form of writing that retains the joy of the unsettled and contingent self. Auto-fiction was the term Joanna used, but it seemed to me there were maps here too, the home-space charted in Claire-Louise’s Pond: the cooker with its missing control knobs, the pattern of stones in the cottage wall. Hotel – the Freudian memoir by Joanna Walsh, published today by Bloomsbury – makes this an explicit subject for analysis.
I’m not yet sure how these things all mesh, but it feels like a fertile matrix.