On ‘The Quadrant of the Dead Man’

My piece The Quadrant of the Dead Man has been published in the January 2022 issue of RIC Journal.

Bit of a story behind this one.

Last year, I wrote a Dead Man every month for RIC, January through to December. I had absolutely decided to take a break from that output and not write a Dead Man for January 2022 at least – maybe even beyond. But three things happened.

A friend, Mimosa Shah, sent me How a Gray Painting Can Break Your Heart, an interactive essay by Jason Farago on the work of Jasper Johns, specifically the painting ‘In Memory of My Feelings — Frank O’Hara’. I appreciated the gesture of having an essay sent my way; the piece is lovely and rich and exactly the kind of thing that you want from a discussion of art, especially that which does not comfortably reveal itself. But hidden in the artwork in question is a reference to a dead man, which got me thinking.

Secondly, at the time of writing, I had Covid-19. I have, for most of my adult life, framed my experience in or through writing, so it seemed important to mark this, somehow – because it is something we as a species, or at least I as an individual, have been trying to outrun for the last two years, but also because the Dead Man has evolved during the pandemic, taken on a new meaning or role. It made more sense to try to write something at the time, not less.

And, finally, once I started, the writing came easily – clearly, there was more story to tell.

Thanks, as always, to Saudamini.

On ‘The Dead Man Did Bad Things’ and ‘Untitled (The Dead Man Must Come Back)’

The pandemic continues, we are in lockdown and the Dead Man stays dead. As I write this, the state government of Victoria tells the residents of my state we cannot enter. I cannot leave my home without a mask; I cannot go beyond a 5km radius. Calasso died today. It is 2021.

There is little left to say.

Read The Dead Man Did Bad Things.

Read Untitled (The Dead Man Must Come Back).

With thanks, as always, to Saudamini.