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I am drawn
here again this evening.
Surprised, I didnít know I
could come here,
thought maybe this thing
thought I would not really
I thought I would not
hear the voice again,
would not be
again drawn up
as the stairway ascends
Babel-like to a nearly
This is all hook in my chest
that runs too deep
to be withdrawn,
to be touched.
It is pulling me forward.
I am afraid to not move toward it,
afraid I will have to feel its
if I do not be already there.
The hallway is not a music room in the normal sense. Rather it is a room filled with the music of life: sounds, movement, dust, and odors, with people constantly stepping over me on their way to... There are so many sights and sounds in the hallway, so many things going on, I am having difficulty deciding where to start. Terry banging on the bathroom door where Mikey is now running bath water..."What?" he yells. "Is the Smurf sheet clean?" I look into a corner and notice little pieces of cat food cached there, beneath a tiny spider web. "What?"
I seem to be obsessing on some vaguely familiar wasp-like mud structure. I am driven to build as many of them as possible. I am guessing that 20 is the magic number. That is about as many as I can build before I begin to lose the vision. I am back into a room, deep into a chat with Psyche, listening for the way my name whispers across her lips. Glancing around, wondering if anyone really understands what I am feeling when I am trying to get the shape just right, when I recognize the shape as actually being correct.
Of course the hallway is not going exactly as I had expected. It is much better. And I am not sure exactly how many rooms are in this house I am still wrestling with the room concept, what is a room anyway? Somehow 20 seems to be a number that corresponds to the finished idea. I had fully expected the hallway to be one of the more dismal rooms. I really did. How do you write anything interesting about a hallway? I was wrestling with concepts of mixing interesting rooms, like the study with less interesting rooms, like the hallway.
The point is that so much of what you write at any time is part of your room, part of your psyche, part of what you eat, that the very same piece, told in the very same way can come out with a very different meaning when told in a different room. The air there is no longer the same. The curtains have changed colors. You have forgotten to wash the windows. This room is smaller or stretched longer. You have become sleepy. Someone is watching over your shoulder. Psyche is sitting in the corner mouthing, "I told you so."
The children have gone to bed now. Their doors are closed and I am sitting in the hallway feeling a little lonely because it is late and all I really have to look at right now are closed doors and worn chipped door molding. I suppose I should refinish or replace some of the molding, but small children are so hard on the woodwork, as are their pets, and it seems like a waste of time to do until they are gone to college or careers of their own, and by that time I will be too blind to notice.
I had a thought last night before going to bed, a thought about something to write. Now I cannot remember what it was. It seems that at one point we believed that the mind held every detail of every instant we every experienced, that it was available like a tape of events. Now they tell us that is not so, that we, perhaps even while asleep, abstract our perceptions of reality and all that is left to us is the abstract. So much knowledge that is raked over and replaced with new knowledge that one never knows what to believe.
I had a thought last night before going to sleep, a thought about something to add to a piece I was working on. Now, of course, I cannot remember what it was. I wonder if I could remember it if I teased my mind a while. I do some other things. I touch on last night's idea again and it is not there. Even though it is my impression I have been having trouble going to sleep I do remember this about that idea: I remember that I could not move myself over to my smart phone to record it.
It seems that at one point we believed that the mind held every detail of every instant we every experienced, that it was available like a tape of events. Now they tell us that is not so, that we, perhaps even while asleep, abstract our perceptions of reality and all that is left to us is the abstract. Today's science becomes tomorrow's myth. We still live in a universe where anything can happen, where the damp coat of lawn and leaves may roll itself up to become a large shaggy animal leaning against the tallest trees to eat golden leaves.
Once we believed that the mind held every detail we ever experienced, that it was an available tape of events. Now they say we abstract our memories and all that is left to us is the abstract. Today's science becomes tomorrow's myth. We still live in a universe where I can look out my back window so see a small perfect fairie bathing in the waterfall of my Koi pond, where the damp coat of lawn and leaves may roll itself up at any minute to become a large shaggy animal leaning against the tallest trees to eat golden leaves.
I don't always want to go for the bike ride. I talk about the endorphin addiction and how happy it makes me feel, but before I start my knees hurt just thinking about it and I don't feel like doing anything at all really but my mother assures me that to keep moving is to stay alive. I believe her. If you don't keep moving then life stops so you do things that you don't really want to do because these are things you have to do. They are things like changing the oil, sleeping at night, and eating breakfast.
You have to check tire pressure before you take the bike out. There are few things to put a hole in a day like getting five miles from your car and finding you have a flat tire. I also have to put on my worn-out tennis shoes. The soles have gone hard and the tops are beginning to split over my toes. They still seem to work ok though. And I often put on those white tube socks, bleached to an even whiter white. Maybe I should watch a basketball game on TV and see what current sportswear trends are.
I have the list on my smart phone, the stuff I have to do before I go bike riding, the stuff I have to take with me, and the stuff I have to wear. I suppose the smart phone should be on the list too but it is not. It goes pretty much anywhere I go. I've had it for over two years and I am still finding new things it will do. I made the list up when I started riding again, but I rarely look at it. I think it was something I needed the first couple times.
Since it's late in the year temperatures are down. I have to dress more warmly. long pants and a sweatshirt are good down to around fifty degrees. Below that I head for the gym or stay home. I have to tie back the long right pant leg to keep it out of the sprocket. My bike has one of those big round protectors over the front sprocket that looks like it might have been designed to keep loose jean legs out of it, but I have always used the tie down and have never learned to trust the sprocket cover.
I am back from my bicycle ride where it rained just the tiniest bit. It has been raining for three days on and off now and I had scheduled the ride for the timeslot with the best combination of a low probability of rain and a warmer temperature. I rode ten miles. Now I have six hours. I must be careful to not leave too much space in them. I will write a schedule. I will take a shower, dress and write a schedule for the evening. There was something that was to have taken me outside. What was it?
I think I am supposed to post a blog in the Verities room and I have no blog to post. Rain comes out of the night nailing the roof down and I am left alone with my reflection in a dark window, well alone with the work in progress and to be truthful I am afraid of it. The work in progress needs some heavy-handed pruning and it is at times like this that I get all squeamish and put the work in progress away for some later time. Unfortunately time will never be much later than it is now.
In this room I am facing the wall and I have to turn my head to see out the window. Cornered, I canít see nine-tenths of the room. But I am surprised at how much of this room or how much of my experience of this room is stored in the first ten percent, is carried on the ample shoulders of my oak desk. The rest of the room is almost storage, would not need to exist if I didnít need space for books, records, journals and electronic orphans, those cast-off electronic gadgets I canít pass up at garage sales.
Amanda and Michael Jr. dragged me to a garage sale across the street this morning. Michael wanted a bicycle they had. His is about a season too small and this one was about a season too big. It had these weird internal brakes that needed adjusting and the seat was a little high. But it was $15 and he loved it. It took me about ten minutes to fix it once home. Now the children stream up and down the garage sale driveway. They will haggle purchases all day. Tomorrow the neighborhood will be littered with forgotten garage sale pieces.
I'm going through a box of vinyl I bought at a garage sale, listening to each piece as I come to it. Ok, I didn't listen to Alice's Restaurant, consigning it to the pile for my grandson. I drop on a Nat King Cole and he begins singing, "The Very Thought of You," which is odd because I have been singing this song to myself for the past week. This one has a lot of surface noise given the fact that have run it through a cleaner. The previous owner or owners have worn it out. That's a good sign.
I hear the voice again. Gentle Psyche wings drying in the summer sun, pronouncing my name. I have read that the most wonderful word a person can hear is his own name...this of course in books about how to manage others, books too frequently written by those who have not learned how to manage themselves. I am dreaming again of the seizure. I have had seizures all my life. Each one is a little different and they are much the same. It is like being punched in the nose. It is like stepping into a rabbit hole of a dream.
Maybe we have some metaphorical mud here. People look for meaning in many things. I don't look too much for meaning in the vinyl. When you collect things you gotta take the mud with the sweet. Collecting records is like that. Collecting meaning is like John Steinbeck described the collection of tiny marine animals in Log from The Sea of Cortez. You have to be patient. Let them crawl onto your knife in their own time. If you try to rush them, you kill them. You end up with a thousand records and no sense of what they feel like.
We have mud. Mud on the walks, in the garage and on the stairs. It is from the construction project on the hill. I am still thinking about climbing the hill to see what the neighborhood kids have built there, but I am thinking that the experience may be one that I need to be properly prepared for. I will need to be in the correct frame of mind when I am confronted with the rusty nails, the hammer I lost two months ago, half the Tupperware from the kitchen, and my fatherís beautiful hand-made saws rusting in the mud.
I am in the study. I havenít counted how any rooms are in this house; I havenít yet settled on a concept of room. What I am thinking of these days is a number, a number of rooms that will be nice to work with. I have a number in mind. I will let that define the rooms. I will suppose a room is a place you live, a place where you do your living. Different rooms are for different parts of life. Each part of life in turn defines a room. For now, I will stay in the study.
So much of what I lived through as a teenager was informed by Hendrix. I cannot now listen to him without remembering those shady streets in Ann Arbor in the low-rent student district, their odor, the touch of mildew in the mattresses, the multi-colored nights, changing shapes, and aroused presence of self-determination in the air. We were not going to be defined by our fatherís histories. We were not to be victims of what went before. What we didn't see was that we were very tiny parts in a much larger machine slowly rolling over the country like a cultivator.
I am having a productive day. I spent some time reading and I have just finished netting the fallen leaves out of my fish pond. I also had to fish out the lilies the neighbor's dog tore up this morning when he went for a swim there. On my way back to the house I stepped into a present he had left me. He has always and forever been a problem doggie. I need to renew the trail of urine I posted between our houses to mark my territory to him. It seems to hold him off for several months.
I need to renew the trail of urine I posted between our houses to mark my territory to the dog next door. It has obviously faded. One application lasts months. The dog in question is a medium-sized yellow dog with bad hips, a thoroughbred mutt I believe, smallish and meanish. It wakes me up barking at night They have a porch in a corner nook of the house that acts as an acoustic amplifier. The dog stands there when they put him out at night and in the morning and barks at my house until they let him back in.
It is afternoon. I did the tut this morning and then took a nap. I've been reading since I woke up, a novel called The Circle by Dave Eggars. I feel quiet today. I think I will read 100 pages and then go on with the day. The day sometimes seems to be pressing back, as if it does not want me to go through something . I lift my face to see if the day has a face of its own but stretches above me forever and I cannot see far enough into it to make out a face.
I feel quiet.
I think I will read for a while.
One hundred pages
and then I'll go on with the day.
The day sometimes seems
to be pressing back,
as if it did not want me to go
I should not.
I lift my face to see if
the day has a face
of its own
so that I might
understand its intention
the nature of
but it stretches above
and beyond me forever and
I cannot see that far.
It is, after all,
a big day,
perhaps a day with
no face at all.
I am watching the trees gradually bare themselves to me day after day outside this window and I am feeling a number of things. I was thinking earlier that I was having a bad head day but in many ways it is being a good head day. I remember thinking when younger that I would be happy if I had a life where all had to do was read and write, and now this is pretty much all of what I do. I have not eaten since breakfast. For me now to not eat is as easy as to eat.
I have finished reading my 100 pages and I feel that so much is guided by that number, that so much is guided by numbers, clocks and timers. I am considering dropping away from conformance to 45 minutes, to 100 words to 69 degrees. There are so many other directions to go. There are so many things to be written. It is overwhelming. I am sitting on a beach letting heavy waves break over me. Waves of words, waves of thoughts. The brown leaves outside are shimmering across the road in sunlight that is described everywhere. I am sleepy again.
I remember a librarian I had a crush on when I was very young. I ran into her recently during a trip to my hometown and struck up a conversation. We had a good talk until one point when she said, "Oh you mean my mother" and she pointed to a woman on a nearby porch." she was the spitting image of her mother when I knew her. We do not expect people to age. We see people we think we know only to realize they could not possibly be that young. We certainly do not expect ourselves to age.
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