VVP: Art 434 & Engl. 410

Website for Vision Voice and Practice: An Interdisciplinary Course in Art and Creative Writing

Monday, March 25, 2013

Prose in Conversation with Joseph Cornell


I submerged. The surprise of being underwater startled me even more in that I already was several feet below the surface and every moment swimming further down. My flippers propelled me deeper toward the sapphire wormhole, and it hit me that from now on I had to make it through and back out again without resting, without breathing. The brevity of the moment did not allow anxiety. I had to swim. I felt incredible strength in my calves, as my legs and flippers rippled. I felt magnificent and beautiful. I felt like I was doing the most purposeful thing that anyone in the world was doing at that very moment.

We were about to enter the dark aperture of the cave, like burglars slipping in through a window. To my left and to my right at the mouth of the cave were waving plants and little pink fish. Then, we were going through this dark cave with clumps of drab stalactites. I pitched my body toward the mossy bottom, reached my hand down and spread my fingers through the dull carpet. I remember distinctly, this one clump of aluminum fish swam beside my hand and then disappeared into the roots. I remember how magical that was and how attached I felt to them. In the distance, I could see the end of the cave (or kind of felt more like a tunnel) that we were diving through. I couldn't get through it fast enough. I was following Josh's flippers and all the while feeling like at any moment he might just leave me behind and be gone.

The sound was perhaps most terrifying: a symphony of blue tremors, of waterlogged deafness. I was so sure cobalt fish faces hid in the wall cavities and stalactite valleys. They wanted to speak to me as their long spaghetti-plant hair fanned out in the water, then whooshed behind them as I whooshed past.

- from a longer piece by Alyson Luthi

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