Collections

06

[all images are Gregory Blackstock ]


I've been gleaning lately, selecting images, words, ideas and moments and storing them for some as-yet-unforseen occasion. I send myself e-mails full of links, image files and little scribblish notes -- reminders and signposts to help me keep the panels of my life connected.

The idea of a panelled life seems like a good one to me -- too often I slip into forgetfulness, losing a train of thought, passing from one moment of being into the next. It can be a jolt sometimes, to start the apperceptive process again and realize that at some point there was a shift, an unnoticed transformation, transmigration.

I found myself waiting in line for an espresso today, thinking of ferns, of how my aunt described the forests in the Pacific Northwest as vast tall trees and a carpet of ferns. I was thinking of how that would smell, and of the hush and softness -- and about little colonies of moss and lichen -- and then, abruptly, I thought about how Molly Bloom says the word metempsychosis [met him pike hoses] and about late arrivals -- about the character in Andrea Barrett's story 'Servants of the Map' who arrives at botany at the (in his opinion, old) age of 28. About Gregory Blackstock and his collections, and so on.

09


I keep drawing Penrose tiles, and sewing them. Last night my hand cramped up from sewing for so long -- my own fault for choosing to sew on stiff fabric which feels more like cardboard then felt.

I don't sit quietly anymore -- I feel a strange sense of shame if my mind, hands, or mouth is not active. Almost as if I were trying to keep myself from falling or sinking into nothingness -- the same sort of blank numbness that kept me so quiet for half a year. Not to disparage my current activities, they have their merit, they are all essays -- they are me trying new things, searching for something, working things out. Sometimes I sit down at my cold, cramped desk and I wait and waver as I try to decide what to write. I know my failings -- the lacunas in my knowledge and my schooling -- I know that when write something out it often sounds like someone else -- but I suppose I keep writing/talking/trying in the hopes that it will work itself out -- that through sheer practice, some form or stability will emerge.

I've returned to an idea that used to appear here a lot -- Vinteuil's little phrase, a musical scrap that haunts the narrator in Proust's Recherche. For Hans, in Magic Mountain, it was Der Lindenbaum which moved him to flights of metaphorical verbosity [in some of the most fascinating and elusive passages in that novel]; for me, right now, it's the Concerto in E Minor, composed by Preisner for La Double Vie de Veronique [see my thoughts on that film here].

Efforts will be made this weekend -- to come to a good wrapping-up place in Valery and to write out what he has meant for me -- to sew more, to keep producing rectangles of felt with shapes, tiles, patterns on them, abstract or figurative or cartoonish -- to begin preparing for class again, returning to Augustine's Confessions.