GRANT-LEE PHILLIPS
THE DELTA OF THE MIND, STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA

There were orchards, there were shadows, and there was light flickering through the trees. There were fields of grapes, corn and alfalfa. There were cherry trees and walnut trees and places to get lost. There were sandhill cranes that floated above the levees, and there were salmon in the rivers that run from the San Joaquin Delta to San Fransisco Bay. And then there were the dogs. People would let their dogs run wild on the roads between the farms and houses.

He used to climb the willow tree outside his house when he was sleepy. He also liked to lie on the cold kitchen floor and feel the slate under his back. But something urged him to rest in the willow tree above the farms, the orchards and his uncle’s trucks that were parked behind the house. Sometimes he would fall asleep behind the green curtains of the canopy and moments later he would find himself on the ground. He would hear the sound of the roosters and Los Angeles was 340 miles away.

Interstate 5. There is a big sign looming over the highway just outside Stockton. He has been looking at that sign ever since he was a child, and he always wondered about it. Los Angeles, it says, just get in your car and drive. It is a straight shot, do not stop, just keep on going and eventually you will reach the city. The trunk is full of the most vital stuff; a guitar, an amplifier, a ventriloquist’s dummy and a box of magic tricks.

Now he lives outside Nashville and there is a delta in his mind. An inner landscape, that is not really bound to time or reason. And there are orchards there, there are shadows, there is light flickering through the trees. There is a foreboding city, and there is a swamp land. There are areas of peat soil, fields of walnut trees and cherries. There are labyrinths of islets and rivers, there are salmon and sturgeons that swim in the water. There could be a luxuriant weeping willow and a peregrine falcon in the air. There could be a park where Harry Houdini meets Sitting Bull while Lightnin’ Hopkins plays the guitar. Anything can grow there and anything can perish, it is the place where fresh stories emerge from old roots in the ground. This is the marshland where he lets the dogs run wild.

Reliefs in oak wood: Artist Søren Assenholt
Prose and concept: Author Sanne Flyvbjerg