EAMON O’LEARY [NOMINATED BY WILL OLDHAM]
— How do movement and our changing surroundings alter the way we inhabit time? In Graham Greene’s novel Travels With My Aunt, an anecdote is told about a character, Jo Pulling, who finds he has only a short time to live. Seeking to make his waning days seem longer he arrives at a solution: he will spend every night that remains to him in a different bed.
“He wanted to slow life up and he quite rightly felt that by travelling he would make time move with less rapidity. You have noticed it yourself, I expect, on a holiday. If you stay in one place, the holiday passes like a flash, but if you go to three places, the holiday seems to last at least three times as long.”
With Jo in mind, and despite my good health, I decided sometime last year to begin documenting my own movements by keeping a record of every bed I sleep in (or at least those I remember to photograph). Some of these I slept in for longer stretches but most were for a single night. Only once did I seek reentry to a hotel room that I had forgotten to photograph – thank you to the Milwaukee Athletic Club, and to all my hosts for their hospitality.
As for this long century? Greene again: “A man without memories might reach the age of a hundred and feel that his life had been a very brief one.”
Eamon O’Leary is a musician and songwriter from Dublin now living in New York.