singing her to sleep

Methodology - Using a Bosch hand drill with a 5mm bit, a hole was made through a copy of The Importance of Music to Girls by Lavinia Greenlaw (Faber & Faber, 2007). A word, or word string from every consecutive printed page was selected from the text, which lies, at least in part, within an imaginary circle having the diameter of a 1p piece [or an American penny] with its centre at the drilled hole. No words were added or pages skipped. Punctuation and capitalisation was added. Title adapted from the last line of the book.

On the world, we ran like there wasn't time. Into the dark, into grace, confident that those who were quiet in front had been built by the dissembling heart or the miserably Spanish. [pp 1-19]


She spoke of the essence of the story, of the lost night making my noises for me, the first whistles and clicks, elastic people, conflicting interests of stone-grey sea-people. Greasing the antique fur coats with such conviction that they were a triumph. [pp 20-36]


Bottle after bottle boiled. Often the pink foam she had pressed like the sun while the lights went out was the land of butter mountains. [pp 37-50]


The horizon made me this playground song and when the birds too timid to fly concertina and come to pass. I attempt to make myself into things on a stony beach which feature that piano, half carried, half dragged because the sound was so small - And they told you we went forth into the world arms linked, making a noise. [pp 50-74]


I was proud of this, we mustn't twitch: There was the boy who we passed in the dark, aware of girldom which claimed to smell of apple or peach, the earth. Nights always wilted when they would flit and zip our landscape but l loved - like a stage-fight. [pp 74-96]


Those who had just got round to cutting didn't show up. It seemed that the tough bright shell she used mostly, would discover music of time. But we could not see beyond a window, sitting together, filled up with my father's bare tongue. [pp 96-112]


Surprised by old discotheques in the ghetto; black like a coat. Two officers said nothing and didn't understand the strongest impulse i had was not spreading love and peace. [pp 115-131]


Someone said last night, the welfare officer's neurosis was in a foreign language. Somehow often electrified person, he was most angry upstairs. [pp 132-146]


You want to wait out there for years? The kind of synthetic shadow of heroin my friends said yes to... Off into the swirl of that dark low room to pencil in the names teenagers spilt out. [pp 146-158]


We could afford rubber blankets for heartbreak and seduction but came away with nothing. I was armed with a pre-war map of the city in the hope that facing the future, as if arranging space would get me so far but no further. [pp 159-175]


The rain and my father's looks work only later on, after all because they persuaded me to join when I was thirteen (not entirely legal) frail and unlikely we were both crying and it didn't seem strange to miss New Orleans. [pp 176-194]

Editor’s Note: The author did not read the novel prior to the drilling. Though he has absorbed an essence of it by examining a small circular portion of each page. Initially he was not interested in the actual narrative of the book at all. Instead only treated its words as an alternative language by which to create something anew. However since then, the novel has aroused his curiosity at times; and he has found his eyes roaming outside the circle. It has yet to be determined whether he will read this particular novel (or any other) in full in the traditional manner.

winston plowes

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Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire, UK