Jacob Charles Wilson

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The Garden of Forking Paths

for The Plant
An illustration by Christina Zimpel. A wobbly ink illustration of stick figures lost in a labyrinth.

In Jorge Luis Borges’ story The Garden of Forking Paths the idea of a labyrinth and a narrative become, through translation and misunderstandings, interwoven. Borges describes a novel that through its scattered and contradictory fragments allows infinite plotlines, its dead ends don’t obstruct enjoyment but allow creativity and intellect to flourish. In my second piece for The Plant I wanted, like Pierre Menard, to interweave my own writing perfectly with that of Borges, to lose myself in the text as though traversing a maze.

I am surrounded by yew (Taxus baccata), commonly used as its growth is slow and dense and ideal for clipping, however, during the past few days I’ve also seen holly (Ilex aquifolium), beech (Fagus sylvatica) and hornbeam (Carpinus betulus). The hedges baffle muffle ambient noises, but the cries of excitement and confusion from fellow travellers in the maze can still be heard.

The Garden of Forking Paths, is available in issue 13 of The Plant.