I am sitting here in a hurricaned out living room, in Durham, boxes boxes everywhere, all the furniture thrown here and there all haphazard, and I am staring at a text written in John's scrawl on a box: DO NOT CRUSH. I like this, it's stranger than FRAGILE, isn't it? And yet I am feeling both of these imperatives. I do not know why I am writing here - I have read nothing since skipping through the Beautiful and the Damned on the 14 hour one-day drive to North Carolina three days ago (three? I have lost track), in ice and snow (and struck how chaotic and clunky it was, wondering why everyone inflames Zelda for writing that clunky first book, when it seems to me that Scott wrote two clunky first novels, both This Side of Paradise and Beautiful and the Damned, like Zelda's Save me the Waltz messy yet with passages of brilliance). And this was supposed to be a blog about reading and seeing objects and texts and things, musings and whatnot. It has become something else.
I am rewording because it is not near me, it is lost somewhere in a box, but Elizabeth Hardwick writes in Sleepless Nights that traveling reminds us that we do not exist. Same goes for moving. I am feeling displaced, strange and lonely, cut off, John and I on this island of compulsive, constant labor that is Sispyhean in nature (we are still in the stage of frenetically clawing open boxes with sore fingernails, still sleeping on the fold-out couch, the bed has not arrived, there is not much room to walk around the loft). So perhaps that is why I'm writing here. To remind myself that I do exist. Plus tomorrow is my birthday, a time of year that I always feel watchful and reflective, so close as it is to the end of the year. Also tomorrow is another birthday, the anniversary of this blog, the night of my 32nd birthday last year stuck in Akron, Ohio, I was reading Henry Miller and wanting to expound upon it somehow, essay on it somehow.
Starting the New Year I must begin this essay collection. Today I am meditating at the relationships I've formed this past year, how we've been characters in each other's narratives, some that have formed into intense epistolary relationships that maybe mirrors the modernists (as I'm having everything lately mirror the modernists!) I am also thinking about travel, about the Fitzgeralds and the Eliots moving place to place, rather frantically.
I am definitely a stranger here, although people have been warm and friendly and disarmingly polite. Every day someone has said to me "You're definitely South of the Mason-Dixon line now." I think this is some sort of slogan or saying, for the general South or specifically for North Carolina I do not know. I am only speaking about store clerks and the rest - I have not met anyone else. Today I have decided to not leave the house. When we first arrived there was snow and ice here that shut down the entire area, although it would have been seen as a normal winter day in the Midwest. We share one wall with another unit, and every night at the same time there is a clearly articulated and histrionic argument between three parties, the lead actress being I assume the inhabitant. I don't know whether she's on the phone, and with who. I would imagine either a father or a lover, by the tone. It could potentially be a film, played at the same time every evening. Or, as John said, the film could simply be their lives.
(Also: thank you Johannes for naming O Fallen Angel a book of the year on Montevidayo, which I just saw, along with Kate Durbin's Ravenous Audience and others. Yesterday I received in the mail Benjamin Moser's biography of Clarice Lispector from Kate, an early birthday present, which made me feel a bit sentimental as I met Kate here, and also my very first blog post dealt with reviews of the Clarice Lispector biography, I believe, or one of the first. Look how nostalgic I am for a home that has no physical location.)