Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks

Sometimes, rarely, I can’t wait for a new book to reach paperback or the local library.
I have to hold it my hands almost the moment it is published, hug it to me, inhale the new, fresh print.
This week, Derek Jarman’s Sketchbooks came into my life.
I am trying so very hard to savour the text as well as the images, to take it slowly, one page at a time. But really I want to swallow it whole, to inhabit its pages until my edges are blurred and it becomes a part of me. So many electric connections of words, of pictures, of imagination and intellect!

Yesterday, I read the introduction by Tilda Swinton in which she describes Jarman’s hands as “black-inked and green-fingered”.  At their first meeting they “promptly had a cup of very good, hot tea”.  These details expose the humanity of the artist, the multiple dimensions of his gift.
This led me to the astonishingly beautiful keynote speech she made at the Edinburgh International Film Festival back in 2002.  Wow.
Today, I read the introduction by Stephen Farthing and Ed Webb-Ingall, in which they compare the sketchbooks with grimoires, books of magic and spells. Grammars of magic, to translate the term literally.
With every page that I turn, I am sent off in a myriad of directions, of new ideas to explore as well as old friends rediscovered.
It is a book to study, to live with, to return to again and again and find something new to think about on every occasion.
It is exactly what I need right now.
Excuse me, please, I need to go and read my new book.