Thursday, December 16, 2010

Life as a Bookstore

I haven't updated in two days, two days longer than I have intended, and I don't wish to let it go any longer.  Last night I went up to Austin, TX with my husband on one of our usual excursions.  We try to do special and fun things to commemorate our time with each other; he finished his finals at UTSA yesterday and is one semester closer to becoming a lawyer or a teacher or whatever else he wants to be.  It is 3:10 in the morning and my husband is watching Easy Rider on the couch.

The scene is the part where the two main characters find themselves in a hippie commune camp, where everyone is singing continental soldier and she'll be coming 'round the mountain.  This scene takes me back to a time when I had this intense and all consuming desire for a life that wasn't mine, and that I knew instinctively that I would never live, but needed to experience in the realm of imagination--  an eternal journey of filthy hair and sacred mountains and waters that run sweet from spring fed streams; gypsy trailer parks, pork and beans and bandanas filled with mystical objects; canyons filled with wild coyote spirits and cactus growing out of the earths purple fingertips-- to be a desert saint in the realm of madness.

I loved Conor Oberst's music-- the soundtrack to this desert madness.

I got to live out a few of these fantasies for a crusty and weird year.  I became obsessed with gardening and making my own bread and political dissent-- I also became severely enamored with mind expanding drugs (though I never took any) and alternative thought.  I was one of those kinds of people-- the kind that said there was no difference between doing heroin and shopping, going so far as to suggest that the latter was worse than the former.  I also desperately wanted a desert retreat and obsessed over going to Marfa, TX.

I did get to experience my desert idyll, though.  

So what is the point?

I think the point, to me, is that there is some essential self to a person, and it often is the one that you imagined when you were young.  My desert idyll, my crusty creature, were all beings which sprung from the collective imaginations of people that I befriended in my late teens/early twenties.  Wonderful people, filled with ideals-- hard living losers as well-- but people that made up the cultural geography of my imagination and deeply affected my perceptions.  

When I met my husband I slowly but surely disconnected myself from that frame of mind and began to re-embrace (and am still learning to wrap my arms around) the things that really make my heart sing.

I always wanted to be this kind of girl.

I wanted, and still want, to sit on a crescent moon.

When I was in high school I dressed as Theda Bara to go to a prom.

So what else?  Yesterday, when I was in Bookpeople in Austin I made a huge realization when I was looking through a book of 666 Photography-- I love reading and bookstores, and I love glamour and kitschy fashion.  Bookstores have always been my place of personal Nirvana, wether it is a big chain like Barnes and Noble or Borders, or it is a small dive like the Antiquarian Bookmart or Cheevers Books, both on Broadway in San Antonio.  The smell of old books is enchanting to me, absolutely an aphrodisiac.  (I am not ashamed to say that I am an unabashed book sniffer-- the older, the better.  I especially like books that were bound in the forties and have stayed in a closed personal library for years; now that is a vintage I can get behind).

Below this I have a visual list of the books that I intend to read after I finish the Niffeneger (which should be tomorrow) and before I get anymore new books into my library:

And lastly, my favorite picture of David Foster Wallace:

And my dream reading room, without the television.

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