The Droste Effect

watercolour of a vermouth bottle, in the style of droste cacoa, beside a martini, painted in sepia tones, illustrating a story in which the 'droste effect' is alluded to

Read Part 1: Missing Person

Read Part 2: Forrest Trail

Garnishing a Blood Mary with the stick of celery I’d bought at Al’s Corner Produce, I had no idea where I was, or where the hummus or Forrest were for that matter. Swallowed in the dark nothingness, once I’d lost my grip on Forrest, I was alone for what felt like hours. Time enough to regret my meddling that had caused all this. ‘It’ was what I wanted, but now that I was in It, feeling like the same person, but dressed differently, and from all appearances, working at a bar, I wasn’t sure what kind of mess I had created.

Mixing drinks seemed to come naturally to this other me, although I had never before done more than pour tonic and gin over ice, with a pretty relaxed take on ratios, as the mood required. It wasn’t just the celery and myself that got spirited away to wherever this was. My classroom black board was mounted on the wall behind the bar, announcing bar specials, but with faint traces of numbers and the alphabet, in my handwriting.

Who am I? This me still dislikes sloppy attempts at cleaning black boards. Is this what it felt like to be the woman on the Droste Cacao box? I was met by the familiar reflection in the bar mirror. A picture being revealed, within a picture. Identity is a funny thing. For now, all I had was ‘bartender’, ‘woman’, and potentially ‘black board obsessive’. I couldn’t even be sure of my name. I was going to have to feel my way through the other pieces that would fit together as I continued my search for Cynthia.

Prices seemed a little odd in the bar I tended. $4.53 for a Bloody Mary? I turned to serve the drink, and there she was, looking just like the face on the poster, complete with medal around her neck and what was probably a band t-shirt, with the words ‘Missing Persons’ emblazoned across it.

“I’ve been waiting here for ages. Did I interrupt your trip to la la land?” Her smile softened her obvious irritation.

To be continued…

 

Third of a 6 part serial – Timeline. Originally Published 18th April, 2016. Illustration added 2nd July 2017.

Inspiration for this week’s installment of the unfolding series ‘Timeline’ was from WordPress’ Discovery Challenge, Identity.

Regular readers – 10000hoursleft now exists outside of the WP world- check out the Instagram widget in the side bar-  I will post illustrations for stories, behind the scenes shots, pics of inspiration for stories etc.

 

FAQ: Why?

Writing is a fairly sedentary, safe past time. The risk of a paper cut, callouses from using a pen, or carpal tunnel from a poor workspace set up can be designed out, or at least managed, to minimise their likelihood. But how about putting that writing out into the public domain? as soon as I hit ‘publish’ or ‘send’ in the case of text or email, those words are out there and wide open to interpretation. What is the risk in that? Where do I begin?

Rejection, failure, judgement, vulnerability, revealing a poor grasp of spelling and grammar (yelp! the imposter syndrome!)

…the list goes on but at the heart of all that is the ego and a need for validation- like my work, like me! What is the consequence of that ‘failure’? Well, if I try to be rational about it- failure to have a receptive audience for my writing is really as inconsequential as a paper cut, it’s just that it doesn’t feel like it at the time. It is crushing and the sting remains long after the wound has healed over- sometimes creating enough scar tissue to make you lose heart and stop. But no, not me. I will embrace rejection and find the value in the lessons it provides. Continue reading