"It is the brain that says I but I as other"
Deleuze and Guattari.

This is the difficulty that Johnny Solo had:
The letters on the page became acrobats. They did cartwheels and played leapfrog with each other, and it was a game that the words and letters only played with him. They acted in the same way as the toys in his room - which became animated only when he was alone. The energising spirits left them just before his parents or older brother walked in, leaving only the clue of the momentum of a mechanism winding down, the purr of a clockwork train, the imperceptible rock of the square feet of the robot that had suddenly stopped. He has experienced similar traces since; the smell of smoke in an unoccupied room, a door swinging, a curtain billowing on a still night, the shadow of a friend remaining after they had left. Sometimes the letters would disappear altogether so that he could only read the spaces in between the words, or they would slide to the bottom of the page forming an untidy pile. It frustrated Johnny that when the teacher came round they would be back in place. Because the words and letters wouldn't work for him they put Johnny into a class with children who found almost everything difficult. Everyone told them how slow they were and because they were slow they did lots of art. Some of them had funny eyes and Johnny's father had a phrase that summed up people who had this funny thing happening with their eyes, he used to say: "nobody home".

Johnny used to spend a long time looking into the mirror, trying to figure out if there was anybody home.

next page