Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Notes From Von Suppe Cottage


My generous piano teacher is letting me blog while she practices for a chorale she is accompanying tonight (hm, I haven't heard anything yet).

The original plan was that I would come over and drop off some books, and when I arrived, she offered tea (which is utterly delightful) and then we ended up talking (which is what tea does) about our favorite things (today it was Oliver Sacks, neuroscience, music and art).

I didn't get a job-call today (I am starting to jump everytime the phone rings) which is why I am sampling the delights of the Hamlet this morning.


Time moves in peculiar fashions. I recently had the experience of noveltime, when time is neatly divided into chapters and books, instead of the blerp-per-second time the clock counts for us. For the last 16 months I had been in a very exciting, colorful novel. It teemed with interesting characters, true love, fighting, fencing, monsters, jealousy, evil bridges and mustachioed villains. Almost exactly a year ago, it became clear (of course, hindsight is always clear), that it was a novel with a definite end. That while I knew the terminus approached, I fought it with all of my resources. I desperately didn't want to leave, its delights were so satisfying and bright. I lost my place. I had amnesia, so I could reread chapters. I read slowly, trying to prolong it. Last week, I could tell that there were only a few pages left, and I wasn't sure if they were going to be blank, or if there was still more text, an appendix, or notes. On Saturday I received a call, and its ending was as final and irrevocable as a book slamming shut.

(ah! the piano started! yay!)

I read Steinbeck's East of Eden in college. It was an experience I didn't particularly enjoy at the time. I read it because I'd heard a lot of references to it, and I wanted to be culturally literate. The characters seemed too disturbingly real, so finely drawn that they wore the faces of my friends and family. The novel communicated the power of the writer's imagination so strongly that I couldn't escape-- even when I wasn't reading it. When I finished it, it took a week to recover from the oppression and to regain my old, private, and forever-a-bit-changed cosmology back.

On Sunday, I was chatting with a friend, and I mentioned the call, and it was as if I was talking about events in the Cambrian period. I had to stop in the middle of the conversation and think hard about when it had happened, had it been less than 24 hours? It was as if I had lived a lifetime in the last day, like the feeling of disorientation when you wake up in your bed and go to sleep on the other side of the world. It wasn't nearly as bad as I had anticipated. The end of the novel was not the end of my life. I somehow survived and recovered in the space of a few minutes. The sky was so brilliant with the fall sunshine, and the fallen elm leaves circled in a broad boulevard. This new country was more beautiful and promising than the old one.

On Sunday afternoon, I recieved another call. This one was from a near-stranger. She was wondering if I wanted a room in her apartment in the City.

I said, "yes."


H said...

Maybe you can write my abstract for me. YAY! I hope the apartment works out!

chiefbiscuit said...

What wonderful writing - it's why I come here and I'm never disappointed - and of course I also come here because I care bout you too! Looking forward to reading future excerpts of your novel life.

Michelle said...

writing that feeds.

Only In Cambodia said...

Wow! I wish I could describe a breakup so metaphorically (or is that simile-ly?) and eloquently. It's too beautifully expressed to not be a novel.

Camille said...

its all about the spin, m'dear

rosa said...

I'm glad you're going to be reading some new books.....(how's that for euphemsism?)because that last one needed to go back to the library a LONG time ago. (If this is the novel I think it is....)
so when are you moving, and where precisely? I guess I should just call you!

jessica said...

hurrah, you have a new pad with a mysterious near stranger!

the thing about 'novels' is that you can revisit them again and again without actually rereading them, kind of. oh, and, don't judge a book by its cover. unless the book kind of smells, then nobody will blame you if you leave it, or give it a wipe with a slightly damp cloth.

H said...

I am in 327 blog withdrawals. I'll have to call you on the telephone...

H said...

I am in 327 blog withdrawals. I'll have to call you on the telephone...

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I blog about life and soup, but mostly soup.