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Shireen Taylor – The inventiveness of procrastination

A computer malfunction means that all my thoughts, those that I recorded at the time, are lost. Now I have the memory of those records of my thoughts. And photographs and drawings of course. Here I will note them down for you:

Outward. My departure from the city is honoured by the appearance of deer playing in the Clyde estuary; a stag, hidden in the woods; waterfalls; gorges. I’m still on the train. I didn’t have time for breakfast or to withdraw cash. Not enough signal to use the wireless card machine on the snack trolley. Reading about post-war art movements, my stomach complains: ZERO ZERO ZERO.

The boat (after some soup). Heinz Mack’s theories of constant motion are further undermined. Cloudy arrival. Eddie in a Land Rover, first sight of the bothy over the ferns.

So, after the initial excitement of arriving, solo: no dog, no child, I sit at the window, drawing feverishly, like I have to prove the value of solitude. I forgot my ruler, I search the bothy for edges: a knife, a spatula, a trivet. The drawings are not very good.

I leave my work out in the rain. Morning. The colours do not wash off.

Clouds lift. Sunshine. A visit to the singing sands, cow sentries along the cliff top. Rock forms and waterfalls, the sands stay silent.

So, I plough into my books, which I should have already read, and the text I should have already written. I distract myself by finding more edges to draw.

The inventiveness of procrastination sees me dancing to the sunset. Light shows to rival the largest stadiums. Beams strobing across the sea.

I rarely photograph sunsets.

Third day in, I only leave the cabin to relieve myself, I am trying to write.

Next day, I walk on the beach, discover skeletons and re-write everything, scrawling in a notebook, whilst perched uncomfortably on a boulder.

It does not look like Scotland in September.

I walk an hour and a half to find internet and send the writing away. An hour and a half to return to my solitude.

The following days, I carve up the map of the island, selecting one area to explore. I collect the same objects that all visitors collect, shells, sea-worn rocks, bones and plants.

As the sun sets, the lamp gives me a fixed shadow to work by. I draw around the outlines of my collection, cheating, repeating, shading, making it up.

Denied access to Massacre Cave, I meet a family who have just moved to Eigg, they take me to Cathedral Cave, switching prospective fear for awe. As I attempt to return, I lose the path momentarily and discover a massacre. A lamb. I collect the bones, some weathered, some pink.

There are no batteries in my camera.

I make a new friend. And break a couple of rules.