It’s Saturday and my husband is in the yard cutting up the dead branch from our willow tree. It’ll be firewood this winter but now is too hot to contemplate fire. I’m in at my desk, slave to the keyboard as usual but avoiding the should do of my book and my family history by tripping through the relics of my past minds on goodreads, stumbling from this book to that subject, trying to resurrect 35 years of reading and store it for posterity like keeping dust motes in a box. It occurs to me that I’ve trapped too many ideas over time, from suicide cults to lovers of language all bumping into each other in comical processions. It saddens me that there are so many books I’ll never read, die before having read them. There will never be enough time, even if I were there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun. But as they say you make a life of what you have not what you lack. So I’m stitching together the things I’ve read and want to read and will read like a crazy quilt of feminists, libertarians, romances, psycho killers and doctors with dogs. And I’m wondering if this bit of stream of consciousness writing counts toward my one hour a day rule or if it is too much self indulgence to be anything more than the writer’s equivalent of a powdered donut–all delicious and messy and unable to be perfectly neat and orderly.
Folks don’t like the new Pat Conroy because it is too deriviative of the Prince of Tides, yet they didn’t like the last Pat Conroy because it was too unlike the Prince of Tides and I wonder how it is to be Conroy, trapped by having written one of the perfect books of the world, but having done so before he was dead and gone. Now he’s doomed to forever be held to that book and the memory of that book. I confess I’m guilty of wanting to read another book like it, but also wanting to not read it yet again. I suppose, though, that is why I’m happy to be one of those people who reads books over again. It frustrates my mother who doesn’t want to revisit anything outside of the Bible and C.S. Lewis, but I know that there is never the same river twice, as they say and that even if a book is the same you are different when your mind goes into it again, so you experience a book in a new way, much like married sex. It makes me sad, sometimes, though, because this read through of Harry Potter has been stacatto while I stumble across other books, other stories. In a way I’m glad that I’m not doomed to read only one set of perfect books forever but in another way I hope to not lose the joy that Rowling’s stuck in those stories.
I’m done typing now, because the hurt is overcoming my writing. I know that I have to stop when the words get drowned out by the screaming in my bones. It’s funny because I type faster to outrun the screaming, that only gets worse the faster I type. One day I’ll switch to word-recognition software as they all suggest I do but I can’t explain how the stories aren’t the same if you aren’t touching them, if you don’t feel the rhythm of them when they leave your hands. When I was a child I’d tell myself stories and bang my hand with a stick. No one who saw me do it or hears about me doing it understands, but I think now I understand, that it’s some part of the part of my brain sent down from Welsh bards and storytellers which remembers stories not by the words alone but by the rhythm of them and needs a touch to set them free.