We’re delighted to publish Benamon’s 28th article to his PictureBook column with us and once again, it is outstanding, gushing with creativity and imagery both in pictures and words, don’t miss this.
The concept behind the PictureBook column is not just about capturing stories but creating them, the journey behind and the image we present. PictureBook draws on Images selected from Benamon’s own story series and also looks at the work of the other story tellers within the community’.
Over to you Benamon (foreword by Joanne Carter)…
‘The Hunger of Patience – Echo’ – ©Benamon Tame
She tried to hear, sound poured into her mind from the ear trumpets that encased her.
The cacophony of the room swirled around her and bit by bit she picked out the toys one
by one. Casting their crackle or wheeze aside and moving on to thin the waves that moved
through her. She took herself past the telegraph key tappings of the excitable Myrme and
the endless mechanical music of the Music Box Wall.
At last she found the space between it all, the Silence of the Door.
She could not see it but in her minds eye it rose up above her, the source and the pillar of
the Room from which all else had flowed and was sustained. She tried to push forward,
stretching though the dense grain of the wood to other side but it pushed back.
Echo felt her perception shift and the world tilted. In an instant she stood on the edge, the
door beneath her and room drifting above. The toys above; drifting clouds from a mad
Echo’s first memory was lying by the entrance to the Toy Room watching as her brother Lambe was lifted up and taken away. At first she tried to forget and create new moments and memories, throwing herself into every cause and game she could. She was one of the first to fall under Loki’s spell and accepted all that he said. He saw the emptiness in her and promised to fill it. But Loki’s message and the games he brought began to change and take them all down a darker path. But Echo followed and filled herself with an echo of Loki, standing beside him as the voices opposed to him started to grow fewer.
Grub had been a friend to Lambe and had opposed Loki, going so far as to distract him while Ariadne and her followers had fled into the wall. But with Ariadne gone Loki finally let slip his mask and took out his rage on Grub. Somehow Grub survived the Snakes and Ladders Loki had forced him through but what emerged was a broken toy. Syster patched up what was left and Loki kept him close as his court Jester and a warning to the other toys and a bitter taste of what was to come.
The fate of Grub was too much for Echo to ignore and she finally saw the truth of Loki and what she had become. The memory of her brother returned like a torrent and she fell between it and the horror of the world she had helped to build. Echo did not have the strength to oppose Loki, her only hope lay with the Door. To be reunited with her brother and to see the Masters and Mistresses return and undo all of Loki’s creation.
Echo sought out Babel who took her eyes to add to his own to try and see beyond the Door but it was not enough. Echo became consumed with the thought of the Door and barely able to hide her fear and loathing she approached Loki’s throne and asked him for permission to leave the court and go to the Door, to stand watch for the day it would open. Loki granted her wish, seeing her pain as a mark of her devotion, and sent her to Syster to prepare her.
Her hearing was magnified by Syster and she was led to the Door, to stand in vain hope of redemption and peace.
‘The Hunger of Patience.Typewriter Remix’ – ©Benamon Tame
Echo was another character named after a greek Legend, in this case a Nymph. In the legend she was punished by the Goddess Hera to only repeat the words of others. She fell in love with Narcissus who broke her heart and she eventually fades away until only her voice remains. Her brother Lambe is named after one of Echoes children who she had with the God Pan in another legend of her. When I started writing her story her name was tied to her fixation with the past and the Door, caught in the echo of past events and remade to hear the first echo of the returning children. But as I wrote more her name became even more appropriate as she first echoes Loki and then attempts to echo Grub and help the only way she can and becomes a receptacle for sound. Guided by the echo of the past and the hope that it will save her future. She, like many of the toys, never gave themselves the chance to become more than echoes, locked by the past or fearful and convinced by Loki that they were empty when in truth they were just new and waiting to befilled with their lives to come.
When I started building Echo I had in my mind an old gramophone player and the huge ornate horns poised above them. For the horn I used an image of a local sculpture and the original Loki doll, I had not started my own doll collection at this point.
‘Echo’ – ©Benamon Tame
My first draft for Echo ended up a far more elaborate piece with the body of the horn wrapped around her whole body. I felt this over complicated the image and decided to keep the horn around the head only. I also experimented with her having a sign round her neck saying ‘Shhh’ but felt it lightened the piece too much, making her appearance more ridiculous and comical rather than disfigured and tragic. I still felt that it looked too similar to Loki so I used an image of a rag doll and use her dress onto the piece. This added a clear change and a more period feel.