Apr. 20th, 2009

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This was a treasure trove of a weekend. Friday was spent in pursuit of a book for class, and having started immersing myself in the first half, I wholeheartedly recommend Mark Doty's Heaven's Coast. The memoir is lyrical, suffused with entwined love and awareness of being and well-worn sorrow. I've been slow in reading it, returning to each page newly turned to be certain I've taken in my fill without missing a stray thought or description. He states his observations as questions, as if to ask us to wonder ourselves if it could be true, instead of pressing the thought upon his readers. A brief excerpt, then:

"Bill is beautiful to me in the way that Wally was, not in any ornamental sense of the word, but in the way that all things which are absolutely authentic are beautiful. Is there a luminous threshold where the self becomes irreducible, stripped to the point where all that's left to see is pure soul, the essence of character? Here, in unfailing self-ness, is no room or energy for anything inessential, for anything less than what counts."

That day I was also graced with a painless dinner with my mother, the result of my finding the book sold at the nearest location, ten minutes from her office. We lapsed into silence more often than not, but seeing her did not involve commentary on vesture. Perhaps some day we may yet become friends instead of two rival critics evaluating the same subject - myself, one finding a lack in what essence the other deems a grace of the piece.

It would be difficult to describe Saturday in full. For now I will lift my head and give thanks for a day comprised of dirt and refinement, in turn. I began by donning work gloves and participating in a river cleanup with friends, finding a handsome squirrel skull by the riverbank, and arrived towards evening in coattails at a gala (Paige and I likely the youngest of the attendees), the prize to take home from there a painted portrait of myself. It was a perfect semblance of how I wanted to exist that night and perhaps into the future as well.

Sunday came and I surprised Paige at work with shumai from a street faire vendor, then paid my grandfather a visit. Having made sure I've been sufficiently pressed to have Russian food and tea, he told me more details of living in an orphanage and his childhood. He walked me to the subway and I left for home carrying a scanned copy of a newspaper article from Minsk in 1987, my birth year, where he discussed his life as an avid bibliophile. It is aptly titled, "Not simply reading, but taking books into account". Dirt, friends, dancing, family, death described, beauty, delight, and love, all in the span of three days!


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