When I strain in a certain way a tendon in my neck pops across something, another tendon or a bone spur perhaps, and snaps back into place. When this happens, the right half of my tongue goes numb for a few seconds.

In my earliest drawings, there are no necks. Then there are necks, but they are too skinny; the phrase “swan-like neck" had entered my consciousness and done a violence to my ideas about the body. I have coveys of princesses with necks no wider than their chins. It took a book to correct my eye and point out that the neck is a sturdy extension of the trunk, bigger around than most people's arms, not a spindly perch for the head.

The next entry of the neck in my file of images is from a soft-porn science fiction novel in which enslaved lovelies writhe at a despot's feet. Entranced, I sculpted a little figure out of something described as modelling wood (I think it was no more than sawdust; you added water to make putty, then let it dry); her head was thrown back, her hands were shackled behind her back. I kept it for years on a high shelf where I supposed it would escape notice and took it down from time to time to look at it. Now sometimes I put on a thick leather collar, smooth and heavy, and that little figurine pops up at the back of my mind.