Saturday, May 22, 2010

When I'm at the library

I write nonsense poetry in my journal, and several hours later, try to make sense of it . . . the only way of course, is to create something, a form, a pattern of allusions and metaphors that fit the foundation no matter how small or inconsequent that structure appears to be . . .

We start with nothing and build cities, empires, or just a treehouse with your name engraved on the trap door that opens when you want to jump out of your dreams . . .

I'll go to the college library today and sit in the cool wooden cubicles for awhile, and then I'll find a chair with velvet arms and a cushion to sink into . . .

It's here that I do my writing, my contemplating, here that I get my respite from whatever it is that preoccupies me . . .

I've been coming to this library for five years now--it reminds me of the library where I went to school in upstate New York . . .

Hardly in the summer do you find anyone in here. With the exception of a tiny murmur from the students by the computers, or a door to one of the study rooms, opening and closing, the library feeds on its own silence . . .

It's almost like a church, in its effect and the way I use this building . . . I come here to be saved. Saved from the tedium of life, saved from outlandishness and isolation, saved from my own recursive folly, saved from modern self-consciousness bearing down on the soul, saved from listlessness and anxiety, saved from noise and chaos, saved from . . .

I read literature also, but the books are not entertainments, they are like an assortment of maps I collect and refer to repeatedly, hoping to locate some miserable lost treasure inside of myself . . . I read verse, fragments, essays, entering the silence, brushing against a voice here and there that I can honestly relate to . . . something that echoes

The echoes in the library are continuous whorls, projected out of the ventilating system. But it is in these echoes and between them that I can hear my thoughts padding to and fro like busy workmen on a construction site, unsure whether to begin something or just wait for the boss to arrive . . .

I'm tempted by the line I haven't written yet, it lingers just ahead and I want to meet it with something worthwhile, something worth saying . . . ah, there it goes, into emptiness.

It's easy to despair!

The Book of Disquiet names every single version of the story of despair. Many of them are wrapped around a set of daily observations . . . How could this book be my holy word? Its pages are saturated in hopelessness, every movement to every act is quivering with a deep melancholy . . . but nothing sounds more true, nothing has the flavor of this life I am living except Pessoa . . .

Innocence may then seem like an angel that has come to save me from Pessoa's waking nightmare of endless banality, ongoing tedium. If only because innocence captures the spirit before it descends into these morbid fascinations and cynical spirals . . .

An objective eye can see the soul is lit by purpose. The animating force of the limbs--the activity of the mind--stirs with a single purpose.

Mine is to write in my journal, and then to transform these awkward ramblings into a page of clarity, to turn the nonsense into sense; it's all nonsense in our heads, but with reflection and serious study, we can create a form of expression . . .

If I could extract a story out of this, I would . . . my interactions today have been minimal. Threads of narrative stretch back to infancy, and we can pick them up wherever we like, but sometimes it's best to leave the stories where they're at, and build little garden walls around them.

I get my inspiration from these shut books demanding to be opened by the soul who needs them the most. I buy these books in used-bookstores, or I take them out of the library and return them when I'm done. I collect books compulsively, and many of them just sit on a shelf until the time comes to open them and see whether they'll do me any good as maps. My library at home reaches up to the ceiling . . .

I always have two or three books in my company, like good mentors. Even if my mentors are cranky old men, like Pessoa, I cherish them. They are the keys to my expression, my innocence.


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