Saturday, December 18, 2010
I now temporarily live the life of a vagabonde. Like Varda's or Barbara' Loden's (see Adam's list, these are all of my favorite films, seriously, or if not, will soon be).
It turns out that I will now be in Chicago for maybe seven days. The moving company is taking their sweet time. We are marooned (the opening lines of Wide Sargasso Sea). Marooned - I will repeat it like Rhys. And will probably have to drive through the snowy mountains of Appalachia on Christmas Day, with no places to eat open. Etc.
Yesterday we sat at the kitchen table (the same kitchen table of my childhood) and my father described to me my mother's life in Texas. I begged for information, always. I knew she lived in Austin, with her first husband, who was also in the military. I didn't know she lived in Odessa, in western Texas, and there were duststorms. I can see my mother drifting, blowing away, hard to move against the weight of such storms. Like Barbara making her way a white ghost through the mountains of coal in Wanda.
I am now thinking I might take a trip to Austin, if I can, to look at Elizabeth Hardwick and Jane Bowles' archives at the Ransom. And think of my mother, and heat and wandering and duststorms.
I discovered, through Wikipedia, last night, on my childhood kitchen table, I am still always in the same position, staring out at the squirrels, that the mental hospital where Zelda Fitzgerald was sentenced and lived and died, the only remains a charred ballet slipper, is in Asheville Fucking North Carolina. Some sort of twinning, kismet.
I cling to all of this. We spoke of the South yesterday. My father brought out his maps. He is an amateur historian, geographer. I went to Wikipedia - looking for some sort of sign. Elizabeth Hardwick is from Lexington, Kentucky. Zelda Fitzgerald is from Montgomery, Alabama. Carson McCullers too from the South. I am exiting the Midwestern and entering the Southern gothic.
The exquisite and exciting journal Dear Navigator has published a large section of The Book of Mutter for their winter issue, "Objects." This image of Helene Weigel silently screaming in Brecht's Mother Courage is the opening object of the text. I am pleased and delighted.
John and I have been consumed by Objects. Shopping for the loft. Vintage and antiques, mostly. Scouring but not buying. Delighting and lingering. We came upon a beautiful vintage furniture shop in Andersonville two days ago. The shopowner, really an artist, had such a loving memory for his objects. A lot of industrial metal and wood. It wasn't about who designed it, what midcentury modern name perhaps at one time, but the flaw, the corrosion. That is what I love about these objects I'm discovering (this new passion for design). The way the white patina is fucked up on that lonely table. The offness of that chair. The gorgeousness of flaws.
Of course we can be consumed by staring at beautiful and humble and orphaned objects. It is telling, when John, who has read The Book of Mutter a million times before, looked at Dear Navigator's beautiful layout of "Objects," he remained fixed on the first page. He told me, it says something of our state of mind that I am entranced by these tables. I burst out laughing. Yes, they are, very - primitive modern or somesuch.