Perhaps a more accurate naming of Juliet Harrison’s Track Life: Images and Words is Words and Images as that was the process behind this beautifully rendered book of prose and art.
Harrison approached writers and, in essence, said, write what you want. At that point she paired an image. I lifted a scene from the end of On the Backside, an unpublished book I wrote a few years ago. Here’s an excerpt from that piece titled The Athlete. It’s the opening essay in the book.
“I can’t think of a better reason to stay at Phil’s barn, so I exit and head out to my car, my boots clunking down the path, leaving a trail of waning footprints. I wave to the security guard and pull out onto Race Track Road. I put my head down and adjust my seating. I look up. To my left, on the Bowie Oval, a scene somewhat faded in the afternoon sun. And what do I see? Running off the turn is a horse in full stride, dead even with my accelerating car. He’s white with a grayish mane and the rider has him in a hold, the reins taught in his hands. The white horse isn’t gaining on me I’m not pulling ahead of him. We’re breezing in company, matching strides, and I only notice I’m pulling away when I surpass thirty-five miles per hour. His is stride swift and elegant, clopping away at a relaxing clip. I smile. I can’t help it. What an animal. What an athlete.”
The images are beautiful and words match Harrison stride for stride. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
The book is published by Paper Trail Press, the first book by Melaina Balbo Phipps, its publisher.