Huntress of the Lens


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Words at large

I finally broached the topic of my garage and entered the past yesterday. This garage is a two-car garage, built in the 50s, when cars were big and gas was cheap, and people would go for a "sunday drive" just for the fun of it. It has more space than some of the apartments I've lived in. It may actually have more square footage than my Grandmother's house that I grew up in, maybe not, but it's a big garage. The roof sags a bit. It has been home to spiders and stuff for thirteen years. Michael set off not one but two spider bombs so we could safely enter. 

Traditionally the right side is for things that other people have been invited to store there, or the place we put things that have been left behind by roommates. It's random storage. The left side, however, is mine. My past lives there. Art supplies I have no space or current interest in. Pictures that should have been better cared for. Items that I have assigned value to, meaning that they're too important to throw away but not valuable enough to take a place in my daily life. 

When Karen lived here we went through the whole thing stick by stick and had a garage sale in the driveway. That was in the days when our porch and walkway was full of five gallon pots blooming with different things and the overgrown mess of a box was actually filled with vegetables and roses. Grandma Carol will remember, because she always asked to see my garden first when she visited. This was before my house got too out of control and I became too embarrassed to have them over and started visiting them only over at their motor coach when they come to town. I can't remember the last time I've actually invited my parents into my home, but it's been years.

The left side became so organized, art stuff here, camping stuff there, pictures, this, that, all organized and easy to access. That was years ago as well. Somehow it's all mixed itself up and now my personal things have somehow migrated to the shelves that divide the space, as well as along the back wall. The time bombs, the writings, pictures, love letters and other things that are just too private to have available to any eyes but my own have always been locked in a hope chest I got for my 16th birthday. I stored them there because I never had enough hope to need a whole box to hold it. I hadn't realized it, but the box has deteriorated enough that when moved yesterday the whole lid just popped off, forgot that it was ever locked. I feel like my rib and sternum configuration is now removable and all my inner workings are exposed. 

What I also didn't realize was that over the years I've been casually storing notebooks of my words in various wooden wine boxes. I prefer the flat ones that are meant to hold several bottles on their sides. I have many, many of these boxes. I also have a thing for boxes. I have never finished a notebook in my entire life, the lure and smell of a new notebook makes me fickle, and so I have dozens of notebooks with the first twenty or thirty pages filled with handwriting that has changed over the years. In the truly drunken years the writing becomes far more disorganized than I like, but for the most part it's fairly regimented although not overly controlled.

I have always carefully avoided the obvious left-handed back-slant, that shows a clinging to the past and holding the emotions in. It's unnatural and uncomfortable to get the right-ward slant going or to keep it consistent, I am left handed after all. For some reason I can't reign in the loops on my lower case D, although that's called a "murderer's loop" and I have always tried to change that. Maybe I'll kill someone some day, I don't know.

Yesterday I saw Molly with a purple notebook in her hand, fresh out of a wooden wine box, reading what was obviously my handwriting and she says "Oh, I think this one's about me!" and I just lost it. "Is that a notebook of my handwriting? Why are you reading it? Were you invited to read that? Close that immediately!" and I was a bitch about it so the only possible response a sixteen year old girl can come back with was to be a complete bitch right back at me and I was very mature and stormed out of the garage. So much for asking for help with going through all the stuff on my side, huh? I think I have a hundred or a million half-finished and hand-written notebooks scattered through all of my things, most of them undated I'm sure, although I could tell you what time of my life they were written by reading the words. They all come from a time before my first computer. They all were written before spell check and the chance to edit. They all existed in a time when I wrote without the idea that anyone would ever read them. They are written in blue, black or purple ink, but they may as well be written in blood. I'm afraid they're everywhere. As I said, I've never been able to resist the lure of a new notebook, or a new pen.

I need to find them all and get them locked up after reading them and sharing certain excerpts with Michael for laughs. Everyone can read all of it after I'm dead and wonder at the sheer volume of words and complete lack of importance I felt compelled to record. But as long as I breathe those words belong to me and are too private to just lay around in wine boxes. Some of them go back to my teen years. There is at least one composition book that I know exists that is a dream I had in my early teens about a guy named Scott and a set of keys he threw me that were warm as though they'd been in his pocket for a long time. How do I remember that and I can't remember things I'm supposed to get done the day after tomorrow?

I am almost fifty, and I have been generating words in one way or another for probably forty-five of those years. If I wasn't writing them I was carefully clipping them out of publications and gluing them onto objects I had painted first. I love words like Andrew loves numbers and the possibilities of concurrent dimensions. Ok, I love those too, but maybe not the numbers quite so much.

Now, while everyone I know is cutting brush and whacking berry vines I am on a word search. I feel a deep and personal need to take my butterfly net and capture every fluttering word I have left loose out there and get them into one place, and then with my typical Moon in Scorpio nature get them under lock and key. I don't know if I will rest easily until I do.

The art supplies I just hunger for, because I'm about to claim a whole desk as my own, and I am overflowing with art, much of which will include words, because as I told you I'm not content to just write them, I like to paint and then use them in my art. Remember how Batman talked when he was tied to something with a boulder wrapped in chain that would drop on him slowly, controlled by a timer set by the Joker as he laughingly left the room with some clever threat? I don't mean today's Batman, I mean the one played by Adam West. The Joker would set the timer and leave the room with Batman and Robin tied to the chair and the timer ticking and the boulder slowly descending and Batman would say "Must.....Get....Out....Of.....This....Robin...." and Robin would come up with the answer? I feel like "Must.....Make.....Art." I have no Robin tied up with me, but I already have an answer, it's a desk I'm about to claim and the supplies that are scattered all over my life. I'm going to get them into one place and start creating.

Just as soon as I find all those words.

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