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Tuesday, 16 December - link

birthday bibliophelia

The best present came yesterday, when my sister Chris threw herself into a obsessive frenzy, walking through my place. She was overwhelmed by my rundown, cluttered dwelling. But not so overwhelmed that she couldn't do anything about it. Each of us held a garbage bag and she tossed away piles of trinkets.

"When was the last time you had someone clean your home?" she asked.
"I clean it myself!" I cried.
She guffawed.

Later, she went to move the sofa, to sweep the years of dust accumulated underneath.
"Do we have to clean where people don't see?" I wondered.

And it all adds up - some how the living room shines empty. It's desolate at first, since I'm accustomed to a room full with little things. "But it's hard to clean around tchokes, so let's throw them all out." We did leave my few finger pianos, a recorder and a penny whistle. And I discovered that behind all my unopened mail, I had many books.

So today I woke up. I was supposed to go camping today, to spend my 29th birthday driving off to the desert with a friend Wayne. But I was coughing and sneezing and achy and tired so we postponed that pleasure until I am more fully recovered. So instead I'm spending the day with myself, enjoying myself. And in the morning that did mean the usual computer routine, reading and posting and communicating and shopping for presents for other people. But then I remembered all the empty shelves in the living room - that I might go and regard the poetry I've gathered! Why there's Rumi and Ferlenghetti, Akhmatova, Ammons, Smith, Hughes and Hirshfield.

The Conference of the Birds sits with West near Das Energi, just above Blonsky and ornery Abbey, leaning on Didion just down from a battered old Brown. I sat on my rump and cleaned out shelf after shelf, sorting and filing books, brushing the wood with Endust. Poetry and religion with special sections on astrology and shamanism - top shelf. Then sociology, modern America, sex and gender. Below that, biography, autobiography and memior.

And there are other bookshelves! Cultural studies, media studies, history of media, video game studies. Japan, Japanese, Scandinavian Mythology. Novels, science fiction and a special section on the healing properties of garlic. Graphic novels, comic books and manga. It reflects my friends and family, old conversations and resonant passions. Dusty volumes bookmarked and dogeared, remaindered and signed by the authors. I've been keeping them around me for years, and now I can see them. Yesterday gave me my books back!

Posted on 16 December 2003 : 13:14 (TrackBack)
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Justin's Links, by Justin Hall.