I’ve just bought a new notebook for my new blog. I could have bought a legendary Moleskine at the Israel Museum gift shop, but then my sentences might have sounded like Hemingway’s. I bought a slim notebook covered with paintings by Rene Magritte.
If I open the notebook as an Anglo, the cover is “The Castle in the Pyrenees.” A small castle atop an enormous rock floats in space on a cloudy day over ocean waves.
If I open it as a Hebrew, the cover is “The Man with the Bowler Hat.” A white dove in flight covers the face of a man in a suit and a black bowler hat.
Both paintings are absurd philosophical and wonderful, which I hope will influence my sentences.
I’m sitting by Jerusalem’s beach—a dark gray oblong pool at the entrance to the Israel Museum, the water no higher than my thumb. Rising from the middle of the pool is neither a mermaid nor a dolphin, but a yellow sculpture—a steel apostrophe poised in a crevice of a rectangular cube on top of which precariously balances a hyphen. That’s a writer’s interpretation of “Suspense,” an industrial yellow steel piece by Menashe Kadishman, commissioned by the Museum in 1966 for its art garden
Now “Suspense” sits in the middle of a shallow pool, which is enough water to be called a beach in this dry parched city where only stones make waves. A prehistoric rooster has left its foot prints on the dark gray tiles. Or are those primitive Sumerian pictographic signs?
This beach has no sand and no bathers, nude or otherwise. Fully dressed, I sit at a table in the adjoining coffee shop while tourists from around the world sip over-priced coffee and nibble French pastries. Nobody throws coins into this body of water; no boat in a bottle washes ashore. Only a huge apostrophe rises from the depths.
I read that Kadishman’s inspiration for “Suspense” was the desert, where rocky masses balance so precariously that it seems the slightest breeze could bring them down.
Here we have a desert-inspired sculpture placed in a pool of water located in the heavenly dry city on the edge of the desert. It’s almost as crazy as a floating castle and the dove of peace erasing a man’s face.