Saturday, January 21, 2017

Just the Tip

I am thinking a lot about my need to be on the pavement - reading Vivian Gornick's book 'The Odd Woman and the City', and Lauren Elkin's 'Flaneuse' is not helping this. One thing I am liking in The Odd Woman is this idea that to being negative and miserable in a place (such as the city), does not necessarily mean you are not happy or in the wrong place. She may not have said this, but it is what I'm gleaning. I am also liking her un-attachment to objects and the home - and Leonard too, despite his affection for them. 

I am known for my indifference to acquisition... It isn't high-minded disinterest, it is rather that things have always sent me into a panic; a peasant-like discomfort with color, texture, abundance... All my life I've made do with less because 'stuff' makes me anxious. 
Leonard has developed a style of living that seems the direct obverse of my own, but, truth to tell, I think it the mirror image. Overflowing with Japanese prints, Indian rugs... his place feels like a set of museum rooms of which he is the curator. Yet he's never been at home in his apartment any more than I am in mine; he, too, needs to feel concrete beneath his feet. 

In 'Austerlitz' I'm sure I also read a passage about grand houses in the Belgian countryside or something - I must try to find it. I'm sure he said (and again I may be gleaning, or dreaming, or it was actually in I Love Dick) something about how in fact grand old houses, châteaux and the like, the ones that fill us with awe, is not for our wanting to actually to live in them, despite what we actually might believe, they fill us with horror which is what creates the awe. No man can be happy living in a vast space - we're not meant to live in such spaces. Which is why during the wars they were all full of weapons and turned into military bases, etc. I am thinking of this as a magnificent stately home here in Queenscliff is for sale - the place we spent our wedding night. It fills me with awe and admiration, all those French turrets and passages, the marble floors, the sun room. A couple live in there. I am remembering how the châteaux in France are often sold so cheap. A friend told me it's because nobody wants them! They're too hard and expensive to maintain. I wonder now if they're also too lonely. 

You never feel like you're going to be murdered in a chambre de bonne of 9m2. It's hard to feel scared or lonely when you can touch the walls around you with your four limbs outstretched.

Also I am thinking a lot about the iceberg effect of great art. How you may witness just the tip. I am reading like a crazy person. And watching. It's all I want to do. Like I just got my attention span back. It happened just before Christmas. I'm sure taking a break from copywriting is helping. 

Here are the things I've read and watched in the past few weeks, in order:
The Odd Woman and the City
Austerlitz
La La Land
Sophie Calle's 'Suite Vénétienne'
The Arrival
Search Party
Nan Goldin's 'Ballad of Sexual Dependency'
I Love Dick
Flaneuse
À La Recherche du Temps Perdu (but I'm only ten pages in, that sits near the can and will be ingested paragraph by paragraph (or according to bowel function) over the next however long it takes)

I am especially liking the things with just the tip out.

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