Bits of Ongoing Absence
“Ongoing Absence” Is a thesis paper presented to OCAD University in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Bachelor of Fine Arts in Printmaking, Faculty of Art Superiors Wendy Cain and Shannon Gerard. It was written by Amye St. John in May 2015.
This paper is about loss, the everyday, and the passage of time. It is represented as journal entries concentrating on the lack of presence in my everyday life, which is to say my present, and the impressions that have been left from my past experiences. No one can really understand the loss of my father. He is absent in my life, and absence is something people can identify and connect with.
January 27, 2015. 2pm.
My outline is due, and not much done for a thesis paper. My last minute essay writing will have to be a story.
I wake up to the fire alarm. This happens every morning. I climb out of bed and head downstairs. The fire alarm is still going off and my dad is standing bellow it waving a newspaper. The smoke dissipates enough that the alarm stops and my dad turns and smiles “good morning!” there’s There’s a sizzle! Crack! Pop! And more beeping from inside the kitchen. My dad turns around and heads into the kitchen leaving his paper on the table. As usual he turns off the coffee machine then takes his charred bagels out of the toaster. Over the sink my dad quickly and carefully scrapes off most of charred surface on each bagel slice and then places them on a plate with two slices of old cheddar. I take a deep breath in because this is what morning smells like. I smile. It’s the smoky burnt smell mixed with the fresh coffee. I make my self a bowl of cereal and sit down beside him. His newspaper engulfs the space momentarily as he turns a page and folds it to a quarter of its size. I watch as he slowly bites down on his bagel. He has dentures and recently had to stop buying his favourite type of bagel, poppy seed, because the seeds would infiltrate the dentures and irritate him. I don’t know why but I decided to ask him again, “Why don’t you just turn the dial down so you don’t burn the bagels” I know the answer. “Because I like them burnt. More flavor flavour.” Black coffee, burnt bagels, and old cheddar. It was what my dad had everyday for breakfast up until he died. I miss the smell of breakfast.
Another late night. It’s the story that goes with one of my linocuts. At first I was going to put text with the image, but I think I like the story separate and just part of my essay.
See more of Amye online: