Sunday, May 15, 2005

Sorting the books brick by brick

From an email I sent to CK:

I have been spending this sunday going through my books trying to decide what to get rid of. The going through of the books before every move is a profound review for me of my past selves, both what I have accomplished and where I have failed. This is similar to the going-through of my clothing that I did with my little sister, who is about twenty pounds thinner and ALWAYS looks better in my castoffs than I do--this time I wasn't so resentful or envious, but as I gave her things to keep, I insisted she listen to the provenance of every single garment. The books have a provenance even more profound, and the simple act of sorting brings up all sorts of grief, delight, wonder, sadness. I think of Thoreau choosing only a few good friends to bring to walden (tell me agian, what they were?) and I am going to do the same thing for Big Sur. The rest go into storage...again. There are some books I do not love and yet can't throw away. A copy of Coover's Pricksongs and Descants, a book and author I dislike immensely, but it was the first gift my first serious love ever gave me; all my critical theory books, because they link me to Collins, CMLT, your classes, my own promise--even though let's face it, those guys just don't speak to me; I am too lazy; or they are too convoluted, whatever... and for some reason I can't get rid of any of my Medieval Women writers books. I don't read them, I can't let go of them. It's weird. And of course there are the ones I have read countless times, Moby Dick so soft and thumbed and underlined, and the silly ones like Dianne Brill's "Boobs, Boys and High Heels, or How to get Dressed in Under Six Hours" that I can never replace... books like bricks or albatrosses or insurance policies or vanity plates or hopes for being or becoming someone I have not been and won't become, all the books that plate me like armor, all the books that have been my true houses.

It's sad. I hate moving. My hands are dusty.

I drove my sister to the airport today. Seeing her was very intense. As I get older, my illusions about people seem to be burning off. I hear and see things I couldn't hear or see before; I guess my willfully romantic eye has cataracts or something.

Part of why I am moving to Big Sur (though it feels like madness, and terrifying, and a fucking hassle) is to have more of a relationship with beauty again. To open up to what I think of as the ministry of the natural world. To sit by the ocean and watch the small stirrings of life in the sand and receive full blown penetrating metaphors from the movements of crabs, the shape of an anemone, the light, even; nothing a city can offer me comes close. My older sister once told me that she could never live in SF because she feared that eventually all her art would be about garbage.

I took it a step further; I stopped making art.
But just contemplating moving to Big Sur is generating ideas in me, excitement, narratives, possibility. I worry that the anti-intellectual atmostphere will make me even flakier around the edges, but it cna't be worse than the commercialism of the gallery; it will be different.

I have to go to the dentist before my insurance runs out. As soon as I decided to make an appointment, I got a cavity. Haha. It's true.

Ok, enough for now. It's late sunday evening and I should be turning my dwelling into a seductive showcase for prospective tenants. Ugh!


Since I've been 18 I've had the fantasy of just torching everything I own and taking off.
But I guess I need to learn how to do it brick by brick.


Blogger Boz said...

Another chapter

10:43 AM  

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