“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Into This Pit of Time I Wish My Body Hurled

While listening to Martin Hagglund's quite beautiful talk on chronophobia here at UC Davis last week, I wondered whether an old friend of mine was “surviving.” He's really been an inspiration to me over the years, especially in terms of thinking about horror, flesh, the gothic. But we lost touch as I went to the States. We lived next door to each other the first year I did my Ph.D. and we talked about Blake, Francis Bacon, David Cronenberg and on and on. And about the pain of his split with his fiancée.

His name is David Prothero and I'm sorry to tell you that he's dead. He died in 2001. I found this out while listening to Martin talking about how mere survival was the ground of everything real.

David had the longest fingernails I'd ever seen and always wore his pretty much full on goth gear everywhere. To him it was a matter of “determinacy,” his favorite concept. When I am cut, I bleed. Somehow this was also a defense against his schizophrenic mother, who I imagine as frighteningly boundariless. He was the author of several essays on horror and an unfinished dissertation on Blake and horror. And he published a horror fanzine, Bloody Hell: The Horror Fanzine with a Brain in Its Head.

David and I were in a poetry group. He always wrote these incredible goth poems. One was about a vampire. The vampire is sick and tired of being immortal and wants to live and die. The last line of the poem is “Into this pit of time I wish my body hurled.” That's been in my mind like an undead spirit since 1989.

Cheers David. You adjusted me.

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