Hand sewn in natural twine
Antique Gray Linen covers with full-color ink jet print
Natural 70 lb. text interior
5 x 5 inches
Bloof Books Chapbook Series
Vol. 3: Issue 1 (2015)
The Woman, the Mirror, the Eye was the first title in the 2015 Bloof Books Chapbook Series. Each chapbook in the series was released in a limited edition of 100 numbered copies, followed by a digital release, and eventually in our compilation volumes called Bound.
The cover art is from Visualizations of Diseases of the Human Eye (1854–1860) by Christian Georg Theodor Ruete. The artist is unknown. At the center of each eye is affixed a hand-punched circular mirror to capture the reader’s reflection.
“All men whilst they are awake are in one common world; but each of them, when he is asleep, is in a world of his own,” wrote Plutarch. And so, to quote the Scottish physician Robert MacNish, “there is a strong analogy between dreaming and insanity.”
After a sudden onset of fuzzy, doubled vision, I was told that I was losing my sight. It could take years for the process to complete itself. Or perhaps it would not. Already, though, the doctor informed me, large blind spots had taken root in my right eye.
In Through the Looking Glass, Tweedledum and Tweedledee inform Alice that they are all part of a dream that the sleeping Red King is having, and that when he wakes, they’ll “go out–bang!–just like a candle!”
Shortly after my diagnosis, I read an article about mirrors in folklore. It described a Chinese legend that says our reflections are separate beings, condemned for past transgressions to sleepwalk through life, dumbly mimicking our actions.
Several years before the blind spots, I experienced bright blue flashes occluding my vision. I was referred to a neurologist. But when I went to see him, the neurologist was angry. He thought I was wasting his time. In his opinion, I was “seeing things.”
Yes, of course. That was why I was there. But he meant that I was crazy. That I was failing to live in our common reality.
In her essay “Finding Poetry in Illness,” Jennifer Nix writes: “Those who haven’t suffered serious illness rarely understand how isolating it can be.”