Quotes to like or puzzle over: “There comes a time when you realize that everything is a dream, and only those things preserved in writing have any possibility of being real.” ― James Salter, All That Is
About the accumulation of books, this is the best I’ve read. As posted by Novel Nerds.
“Even when reading is impossible, the presence of books acquired (by passionate devotion to them) produces such an ecstasy that the buying of more books than one can peradventure read is nothing less than the soul reaching towards infinity … we cherish books even if unread, their mere presence exudes comfort, their ready access, reassurance.” — A. Edward Newton
Photo credit: @tillylovesbooks
This is so true as to at times be pathetic, this star-struck gazing at the shelves. Sometimes I’ve just sat and reveled in, admired the books for what I know they contain. The words they hold. Their mysteries and the memories. I had never considered the reach toward infinity. Eternity maybe, but not infinity.
All I want to do at this point is write text to the right of the photo, or left I don’t care. But of course that’s a battle I’m not going to win without a great deal of exertion on my part, the ability for which I have none. I’ve been working on what I’m calling “Field Notes” on a biography (or War) and am obligated to send snatches with photos to the kids—nephews and nieces. Due to the obligation I’ve been keeping up a pace I would not normally. My normal pace is tortoise. A very old and sad tortoise. And I’m in a punch-drunk mental state.
About Fyodor (above)—I totally adore him. I still recall the books I struggled through at some point in my much younger years. I should say I remember parts and pieces because I get them mixed up and don’t recall which comes from what. And his writing gave me my first concept of Apotheosis without knowing what it was called. The biggest problem for me with Russian novels is all of the nicknames without explanation. I can be reading along and think we have a new character doing something when it’s just a nickname for a previous character. In any case, I do have Notes From The Underground somewhere but I can’t find it just yet. I know I have the book because everytime I go to buy it Amazon (or someone) wants to know if I want to buy it again. I may have to resort to that. The same thing happens with Pessoa. You know, The Book of Disquiet, and A Little Larger Than the Entire Universe. I’ve tried to repurchase them numerous times. Pathetic.
Or perhaps I sold it off along with the rest of Dostoevsky when I cleaned house and sold a stock (hundreds) of books that I was sure I’d never return to. I am so in regret over that phase of me that rears its ugly head from time to time and fills me with sorrow at some later point. From books to mementos and family pieces. Yet I’ve replenished my supply and have more books than before. Unfortunately that can’t be done with other things. It’s like Pessoa’s narrator says at some point, “I’ve had great ambitions and boundless dreams but so has the delivery boy…” I don’t know what that has to do with this but it seems as if it does. je nes se pas?
She (the kid) and I are now talking about moving to Portugal. We were looking at a variety of countries—in theory—but the kid locked down and onto Portugal. I wanted snow as in any of the Scandinavian countries that would meet our agreed-upon criteria, but she’s mentally packed and ready to go. Portugal. Huh.
I was at the orthopod’s today to look at a knee replacement for the left knee. Turns out I’ll need to wait as insurance won’t pay for it given the current situation. Too in shape. Too functional, too whatever. “Come back in 3 months.” Guess I need to answer the questions differently. That’s what 3-times a week swimming and aqua therapy will get you. Though the X-rays show bone-on-bone, on one side. *sigh*
Cut my hair to the tune of 2 beers, 1 wine, and 1 martini. Guess it was the martini that pushed things over the top. *Shite*
Readings: The Plot, The Butterfly Lampshade. The Plot, Jean Hanff Korelitz, gets a D. The only reason it doesn’t get an F is that the craft of writing itself is well done, if you don’t consider plot & repetitions as part of it. I should have known better. I had to have & read it as there was supposedly a new plot, a new twist. B.S. It’s not news for a parent to kill their own child. Kids have been chopped up and fed to one parent by another since Medea. And you can’t copyright an idea so why our protagonist was upset in the first place is the only true mystery contained in the book. The woman he marries is clearly the survivor of the family who will come after him; again, there is no mystery. And the first portion of the novel is full of repetitions. And repetitions. And repetitions. Did I say repetitions? The novel within the novel? Piffle. Nothing of interest, only disappointment. Probably another HBO special with Nicole Kidman as the wife.
Aimee Bender’s The Butterfly Lampshade? A lovely little book. It gets a B+ or an A-, only because it feels as if there is something missing, though I’m at a loss to describe what it is.* It is well laid out and the plot is solid. The story is believable and engrossing. Francie is a child and our protagonist who works her way through her life trying to understand her mother’s mental illness and what that means to her, as in her own mental stability. Is she also crazy? Can she, will she make her way through to the other side? This is the theme of the book though it is never stated. (Thank you for treating the readers as adults.) The writing is fine, filled with brilliant descriptions of common occurrences that have never been depicted so well. “The snag of an unfinished thought.” “The scrim of meaning had floated off of everything.” Oh! And a lovely picture of the ordinary: “The air smelled of loamy soil, and worms flipped and rolled on the sidewalk.” Indeed. Of course there are more, those are only examples. The book is well worth the read. *Maybe what is missing or too much is the complete composure of the child at 8 years old. It is believable due to the writing, yet is it possible? And when Francie leaves us there is a sense of something missing, of wanting to know more. Or maybe that’s just because we’ve come to value the time we get to spend with her.
What else? So many books are on the TBR shelves I’m embarrassed to name them. Still, I’m looking at Writers by Volodine. I know, 2010, now ancient. This reminds me of when I told a kid from Africa that I had been there, climbed Kilimanjaro, and he asked when. I said in the middle to late 1990s, and he said “Wow!” I asked what that meant and he said “Oh just that that’s so long ago!” Was it; is it? I didn’t know that until he told me. Now I feel really out of touch. Also have started Glimpses From Beyond The Ego – Dreams, Zen & Nature, by William R. Stimson. Still plugging away at The Tibetan Book Of Living and Dying. I’m almost half-way through now, and I believe I’ll actually complete it this time ’round.
I have found that Buddhism, as seen through the eyes of the Tibetan practitioners, is as horrific as Catholicism when it comes to death and suicide. Maybe even more so. As the kid says, being Catholic, “We can’t commit suicide. It’s not allowed.” I still have a problem with this. What is suicide? When is it? My son quit taking his medicine and died as a result. Was that suicide? He did know he would die. That was his stated intention. And I know—by now—that INTENTION is huge. Not just an act itself, but what is intended by it. Something little noted in Catholic Doctrine, as far as I am aware. At least it was not brought to the fore in my recall of instructional material. Still, what did he know? Is stopping the human attempts to prolong life the same as committing a deliberate act to bring about death from the removal of medications?
I don’t know. I used to think that I did know the answer to that but now I’m not sure. I guess it would depend upon intent, and we can’t know what is in someone else’s mind. No matter how much we think we know.
Another in-between we go. I want to talk about the past week/weekend with the kid here & climate change, but cannot yet as moving forward calls for more books to be reviewed in order to empty the large bookcase. The bookcase-headboard was cleaned out and is ready for exit, and I have started on the large bookcase in the dining area. These things will make it decidedly easier for the faux-wood floor and carpeting to be installed. They are scheduled for next week. I need to review the storage and boxes in the garage also, as that is where the bookcase and headboard will go. And those of course will not be easily addressed. No doubt larger areas of disarray will follow. *sigh* *heavy-heaves of sighs*
Meanwhile again, let us contemplate those things said that make us dig deeper into the psyche as we move forward and stay in the same place, which can never be in the same place. And there is no forward or backward either, as we well know, and as all of the fellows of Being tell us. Which again, can only be known if we already know them.
P.S. I thought I heard just then the warning calls of Jacob Gator. Jake was the conure-parrot who lived with me. He would issue his warning sound and the dog(s) would go running and barking for the door. He would tease with this sound and make the dogs and me quite crazy with all of the commotion. I loved him desperately, and do still.
Or, the continuing saga of books with the eternal question: Do I have too many, or not enough? Or, on the road to the Simplified…
…So I made it to the 1/2 Price Bookstore. There I found a pleasant surprise in that the store buys books everyday and they do not limit the amount of books you can bring to sell. The books they do not buy are given to some charity. Or you can take them back of course. I was able to leave the cart of books there, and will be bringing the rest of the designated ones from home. It is a large bookstore and well organized so it’s very comfortable. There are chairs here and there, where you can sort through the books you have picked up while wandering through the aisles.
I made it out with only two books as a purchase. They are good finds and ones I have been thinking of pursuing. When all the accounts were settled I ended up owing only $2.49. (It is funny—costing me money when I have sold so many.)
I don’t even feel guilty.
These are the books I obtained from the book-sale day. Not too shabby. It could have been a great deal worse but I kept reminding myself that I was downsizing, cleaning out, simplifying.
And, there’s a great Italian restaurant just a few doors down. Now there I spent too much. But I was able to bring home the leftovers for the dog and cat. All in all, I’d say a success on the road to simplicity. And hope for the future.