Saturday, December 11, 2010

Happy holiday roadblocks

Dear Reader -  My daughter, Miss C, and I decided that today's our day to decorate for the holidays. Now she's been sleeping in, so I've been taking advantage of the quiet to finish up a few things on the little newspaper that I edit and to become so distracted by it all that I burned (impressively) my steel cut oats.

But when I walked out into the hall after I was done (both the the paper and with the toast that I made to replace the oats), I realized that I had a load of work to do before we could decorate in earnest:

You see, we have a process here at Casa J&C. Books find their way home with us, in large and small doses, and then they patiently (sometimes they have to be more patient than others) wait in the halls to enter the sorting room. Now, we'll have to talk about the sorting room and the magical things that happen there some other day (when we're not already behind on our cleaning); but suffice it to say that I have a few hundred books waiting in the wings (and the wing-ettes, as the boot of the car is full as well).

Part of the problem is that, well, the books are pretty - and they're interesting. Like that Tulips book in the foreground . . .
. . . it's gorgeous - and it's hard not to want to stop and spend some time with it. There are these lovely tulip photographs, sometimes alone on the pages and sometimes paired with a quote, like this one with Oscar Wilde:
There is not a single colour hidden away
in the chalice of a flower . . . to which,
by some subtle sympathy
with the very soul of things,
my nature does not answer.
                                                     - Oscar Wilde

Frankly, Reader, I'd much rather go grab my cup of tea and hide myself away with this book than vacuum the living room rug.

Oh, and then there's Jim Harrison, who just happens to be sitting right next to the tulips:

I love Jim Harrison. A lot.

First, it'd probably make sense to admit that I have a serious thang for Walt Whitman. I found him later in life, and I think that's not by accident - I don't think that I would have appreciated him in the same way when I was young and fresh and green and unspoiled, as it were. But today, after the years have worked their own magic on me, I adore him - love how he sees and loves every corner of the world. I'm convinced that we'd be best buddies if we could hang together. I've been known to sit and read his poems aloud to myself for an hour at a time (I know, I know, I'm just weird like that).

And there's something about Harrison that resonates with me in the same way. He looks into the human soul with sometimes frightening clarity, like he did in the novel that many know him for (thanks to Hollywood), Legends of the Fall - and I connect keenly with this sense of place and his deep communion with nature. But it's his poetry that sends me, for it's there that he demonstrates an unflinching ability to turn that piercing, one-eyed gaze of his on his own soul. I walk away from every one moved and enlarged.

And, sorta like Walt, I confess that I have some wild imaginings about Jim - I'm convinced on some primal level that he and his wife are gonna up and invite me to one of their western homes one of these days (I know, I know - weird like that, yadda, yadda, yadda).

But, rather than succumbing to my thirst for beauty among the tulips or Harrison's pages, I'm off to cook some pancakes for the now-awake Miss C, and to vacuum that rug. I'll leave you with a video from the NewsHour on Harrison:
Writer, Poet Jim Harrison Is a Determined “Outsider” : NewsHour Poetry Series : Video : The Poetry Foundation

Happy holiday preparations to you and yours  - Jen

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