Haunted Hatchback – journal entry about a painting
created 10 December 2008, revised 28 December 2008 original draft added in 10 January 2009
Rrose Sélavy writes in her journal:
Compelled to paint a painting that cannot be painted. A misheard lyric from “Gone by the Morning” reverberates for days — ‘haunted hatchbacks flash by’.
I seem to know the child in the car.
A face peers out from the back windshield, blurred, floating to the surface like the inside of a Magic 8-ball to reveal your fortune.
Floating to the surface, face and hands trapped under the ice in a river.
Floating to the surface like a solargram print of “The Scream” easing its way into view through developing fluid in some obscure darkroom.
But the medium is just a car slinking back to the suburbs, the suburbs of drowning.
Let me tell you about the colours…the canvas is grey, grey and grey, with the red car like a gash of lipstick on a stricken face – streaks of red and white oil paint. The car glints with Christmas lights that festoon the empty high street in the rain.
The image of that child in the car floats to consciousness through the murk of midwinter dawn, attaches itself lazily to the crooning, ‘haunted hatchbacks flash by’ and ‘gone gone gone’. The voice croons on, it is the voice of the woman the child will never become.
But these are not the words that were sung, they are merely the ghost of a story beneath the story, floating to the surface, a painting that will never be painted.
Below is the first draft as recorded in the real (not virtual) journal: