Transcription of Part II’s Film
Below is the text of Part II’s Film “EVELYN 62-39-32-84-100”, which is taken from The Imagination Thief’s mini-chapter 62 “Pleasure to be you”…
… and as you walk with your gentle self-contained swing, Evelyn, I feel the easy sway and liberation of your limbs. I’m there for a second in your fingertips, stroking the arch of your brows up and round. I know the need to flick your hair back past your ears and down your shoulders. I feel the breeze bring a sudden drying cool to the smoothness of the side of your neck, where the skin is faintly moist. I see how centred you are feeling when you glance at your breasts and the curves of your thighs, with your hands on your hips in your chocolate-brown jeans, full of love for and pleasure at your own body: now and here and this is what you want to be. Through the sparkle of your eyes, slick and fine, it always seems you are sticking up two rude fingers at the world, while you kiss the world. You love being a girl and you know what a cute little number you are, with your smooth pale-brown skin warm and irresistible. A flock of white birds wheels high above the ocean; and way above them, too high to hear, a plane slides silver in the sky, like a capsule. It won’t be landing here on the torn asphalt airstrip of Kingsley Street, you think. It can’t see you, but you see it—a mirage of the elsewhere. “Elsewhere”: but you prefer here. You may go there in future, but not yet. Within you, it’s as if there lives a stadium of raised hands, swaying to the currents of the vocals in your mind. There is no elsewhere, in a general sense; there’s only what’s before you and you love this very much. You could do many things, but all you really have to do, my Evelyn, is just be you—and that’s a pleasure!
…and also from mini-chapter 39 “Your painted face alive and smiling”…
… and they’ve known you here for years, Evelyn, circulating through the streets, adding to the summer with your laugh. What fun it was, to lose control on a Friday night or a Saturday night, or both! What a rush to trip on acid, lying on the grass among the ducks on the island by the bridge on Sunset Lake with friends, after you saw that band play at the Saint over on Main Street. What better use of dollars than to drink them in a bar or on the beach beneath the summer stars, as someone played drums in the distance? All those words and laughs and fights and flashes of metal and cash and alcohol have flown away, and that whole scene is mostly gone; but how enriched you were by it, and how you returned the favour. They all saw you climbing into cruising cars at midnight, and sniffing coke in alleyways and nightclub toilets, your painted face alive and smiling, high from the scent of the gasoline and fuel oil spilled on the pavement where your high heels strutted. Outside the deli by the hole in the wall you would stand with your arms folded, leaning on the pay-phone, thinking of the coins and the bills in the pocket of your tight blue jeans, as you cocked an ear to some wild tale that the glamorous proto-anorexic Angel was telling you, before he found Lucan: in your eyes, as you heard him, were fun, compassion, sparkle and humanity. At Kingsley and Second was the corner where you sold yourselves, surrounded by the bars and clubs and empty lots and run-down homes and crumbling hotels. What a shit job, but you both made the best of it.
You’d never known another place to live than Asbury Park; you were used to it and loved it with a rough love, as home. Back then, it was only the marginal who moved here; most people bypassed this bombsite-by-the-sea full of people who would stay and die. Slowly since then, however, different kinds of people have been moving in, unexpected people. Jason came, for instance; and though he went away again, he left behind the sound-stage and hired you to drive for it.
And so you left the street and stayed off it, but you’re independent always. You move in your space with the beauty of a swagger, like an everyday assassin. To the drum-beat inside you, you shake your hips, flick your long black hair through the air, and run with no gang. It seems you hang with everyone, and yet you are a lone wolf, a sunny band of one. Good god, you’re beautiful.
…and also from mini-chapter 32 “Evelyn picks imaginations to thieve”…
… and I zoom in on a pair of childhood memories, Evelyn: the chime of the ice cream van with garish cones and faces painted gaily on its sides in faded letters, as you giggled with a girl who was a friend, but whose face is a lacuna in this scene. And linking chime and giggle, an old rock song heard in Frank’s, up on Main Street, where you went with a boy who came to town for a brief while but then moved away again and so fell out of touch—a boy called Romel, whom you thought of, when he went, as Romel-we-hardly-knew-you. What’s this ghost of your former self saying to Romel in Frank’s, with such enthusiasm? Neither you nor I can lip-read your younger self’s words, but the urgency of your chatter is at least preserved in the faint tug and ache of this small memory, and maybe also somewhere in the memory of the vanished Romel.
…and also from mini-chapter 84 “Angel tries to use me”…
… and as you speak, Evelyn, I perceive how you are when you drive this van alone: there’s affection in your eyes for the people on the street, who have usually done their best with their clothes and hair and make-up; for those things take effort. Just to leave their house on time for work, morning after morning—you’d call that deserving of respect. For their relationships, their crappy jobs, their alcohol and drugs to spark their lives up, their over-numerous children and their interfering relatives, you feel a simple love, though you see them all too clearly. Through years here, you’ve seen so many people and their violence and their hassles and their dumb misunderstandings; and yet if there was love in them, you’ve seen that as well. You’ve seen them when they partied till they passed out, in bars, clubs, sitting rooms and doorways. You’ve seen them watching TV with their mouths hanging open, hundreds of channels piped raucous into cramped sitting rooms, and you’ve even loved them then—
…and also from mini-chapter 100 “Evelyn’s dance, with minimal effect”.
… and as you drive, Evelyn, you feel the engine’s rhythm and you feel at peace. Stopping at a red light, you notice certain men who are out for the night, and your fingers drum the wheel and you purr within yourself and the engine purrs back. In your mind, music rises: a beat pumps, brass swells and voices float down to you, as flame lights you up inside and spills from your eyes and your fingers like a fountain. You let go all arguments, even the good ones, and picture the eyes of those around you. Brown? Blue? Green? Another colour? You project to them a picture of you stroking shut their eyes and then kissing them—you know their eyes deserve it, for your own are the same. If everybody else did this… Of course you don’t forget that their hands may stab you, while you’re stroking shut their eyes; so you’re ready all the time to dodge away or stab them back. But you dance in your mind, to make your kissing and your caution spin together, and you’re agile in your dance, so you find what love you can within the colours of their eyes, while your mirth ripples up and out and chimes between the stars! Trumpet ripples through your body, lazy and fluid, while the bright dome of stars above you spins through the aeons, and your squeak is in its symphony.
The Imagination Thief by Rohan Quine is about a web of secrets, triggered by the stealing and copying of people’s imaginations and memories. It’s about the magic that can be conjured up by images of people, in imagination or on film; the split between beauty and happiness in the world; and the allure of various kinds of power. It celebrates some of the most extreme possibilities of human imagination, personality and language, exploring the darkest and brightest flavours of beauty living in our minds.