Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How My Mind Works

(Recently, I undertook a data-entry project at work that involved getting people’s contact information off of business cards. This idea began when I came across the business card for a bookkeeper…)

You know what’s a funny word? Bookkeeping. It has three double letters in a row. I can’t think of another word that does that. It reminds me of Charlotte’s Web—there’s that crazy goose that is always trying to spell things, and he always spells everything with double letters. You know what I’m talking about: Double E, double A, double R…And then there’s Charlotte, that cute but creepy spider that somehow knows how to spell everything. I mean, I guess the fact that Charlotte can spell isn’t any stranger than a goose who can speak, so that crazy goose isn’t really the weirdest part. It’s a children’s book anyway—strange things can happen in children’s books. Like Pinocchio—WEIRD. Not at all like the Disney cartoon. I mean, I haven’t read the book myself, but my wife told me about it and it sounds insane. That Carlos Collodi was one crazy Italian dude. Kind of like Mario (of the Super Mario Bros. variety). Do you even remember that Mario was a plumber living in Brooklyn? What happened to that? Now he doesn’t seem to have any occupation other than Super Hero (even Batman/Bruce Wayne has a job outside of his heroism—geez…), and now he lives in the Mushroom Kingdom. What happened to Brooklyn? I shouldn’t complain though, because the Super Mario games have gotten amazing. I’m currently working on playing through Super Mario Galaxy, which is a very fun, unique game. I’ve already played Super Mario Galaxy 2 (I got both the games as gifts, but out of order). Galaxy 2 was better, but the first one certainly has its charm. In fact, to be perfectly fair, the story of Super Mario Galaxy was one of the major inspirations for my most recent children’s book, which has a lot to do with astronomy. And my children’s book has some weird/surreal things in it too, so I shouldn’t complain about Charlotte’s Web. I didn’t really care for Charlotte’s Web that much though. But, to be honest, I didn’t really like pretty much any books back when I read it, so—who knows?—maybe it’s not so bad. I’d say maybe I should re-read it nowadays, but let’s face it: I know I’m not going to. There are too many other great books left to read without going back to the old ones, the ones that I didn’t really like the first time. It makes you wonder though: how many things have I experienced that I didn’t properly appreciate in its time, but maybe I would appreciate them now, but since I didn’t like them the first time around, my mind has been tainted against them, and so now I’ll never experience them, even though I could quite enjoy them now? I think this might happen a lot with books and movies, for example. The first time I read Till We Have Faces, I actually didn’t much care for it, but then I had occasion to read it a second time, and it’s become one of my very favorite books. So I’m glad I took the time/risk to re-read it, because now I love it. What other things am I missing out on? And of course, there’s the opposite: sometimes you experience something once and LOVE it, and then when you go back for a second time, it’s like the magic is just gone. Like Disneyland. I used to love Disneyland as a kid. Although, to be fair, all throughout growing up in Southern California, I preferred Knott’s Berry Farm—but, to be quite frank, looking back I think I preferred Knott’s because I just wanted to be different than everyone else, who always seemed to favor Disneyland. This same concept applied to holidays when I was younger: everyone’s favorite holiday was always Christmas, so I said mine was Easter. Easter has its charm, to be sure, but really, it’s probably not actually better than Christmas. Nowadays I sometimes say Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but the truth is I don’t really care for Thanksgiving that much either. It sounds good in theory, but in reality—eh. I guess I just don’t like holidays in general. Christmas is still nice though. Disneyland is still nice too; I’m sure I’ll go there again sometime, if for no reason other than to take my son Emerson, who was named after one of my very favorite authors, Ralph Waldo Emerson. Ralph Waldo Emerson never wrote any children’s books, but he’s still pretty good. As far as I know, he never wrote any fiction either. He’s a really good author—a lot of the inspiration for my own writing comes from him (even though I mostly focus on fiction). I kind of hope that if my Emerson (the one who I wrote my most recent children’s book for) agrees with the ideals of Ralph Waldo, I think he’ll be alright, because Ralph Waldo certainly knew what was up when it came to just about everything—kind of like Abraham Lincoln, which I know now because I saw the new movie Lincoln and it was amazing and Daniel Day-Lewis was unbelievable as Abe, and both Abe and Ralph Waldo hated slavery with a passion and anybody who can hate something so bad with such a fervor is bound to be a great guy, and I think my son will be a great guy, and maybe starting him with the right books will be a good start. I hated reading when I was younger, but I think I turned out okay, and maybe if Emerson loves reading he’ll be ahead of the game, and can pass me up, which is really what I think most parents want: to be outlived and outshined by their kids. At least that’s what I want, and I feel like what I want in this case is normal, so I assume that this must be what most people want, but who knows really.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

the Blue House

There is a small blue house just down the street from the center of the city. The business sector suddenly ends, and then there is a row of houses, just like that. The blue one is the third or fourth house down from the cut-off between business and residential.

As far as I know, the house is not for sale. At least, there are no signs in the yard indicating that it is. And yet, I can’t help but think that I would like to live there. You thought so too, and said as much when we were last there in the city. We agreed that we would probably be quite happy in that small blue house.

* * *

I finally got the chance to show you around the city. We were on foot, so I didn’t get to show you much of it. But there is enough of interest within just a few city blocks to make it worth the visit.

Not long after we began walking, we stumbled upon a certain street, one that has become rather special in my mind. I almost forgot the street was there until we were actually upon it. I told you that whenever I come here in my dreams, for some reason I often dream about this street.

Who knows what dreams mean, really, but the street feels important because of its prominence in my dreams. Dreams can do that: add meaning to something that would otherwise be inconsequential. The street always looks a bit different, of course—different stores and restaurants, different neon signs and intersections—but déjà vu tells me that it is always the same street, even if it is re-imagined by my mind each time.

We went into a small bookstore on the street and quickly split ways, looking in different sections for books that interested us. You were looking for British classics, and I was hoping to find a section devoted to the Oxford World’s Classics series. No such section existed—it turned out—but it was just as well.

I turned my attention to looking for a book by a foreign author whose name I can’t even spell, let alone pronounce. Pierdoit? Peridot? Peirot? His first name was Andres…or, at least, something that started with an A. They didn’t have anything by him—it was a rather small bookstore, after all, and he’s a decently obscure author. French, if I recall. The thought came to mind that perhaps I was confusing this author with Georges Perec, but then that didn’t sound right.

After a few minutes of looking around on our own, you and I found each other again. You had found a book you wanted to buy, something by Jane Austen. Even though you already had a copy of it at home, this was a special edition. And anyway, it would be a good memento for your visit to the city. I also told you that this was the store where I bought my first copy of Till We Have Faces by C. S. Lewis, and, for that reason, the store held a special nostalgia for me.

After we left the bookstore, we continued down the street. It must have snowed the night before, because the further away from the city center we got, the more snow and ice there was on the ground. Though I’m not much of an ice skater, still, we decided to skate along the sidewalk and the street, me in my black Converse, you in your yellow. It was while we were skating that we came across the small blue house, the one we wanted to buy, the house where we would be happy.

And then we started heading back into the city, and I woke up.

Oh, London—do you even exist?

Not all is lost: for what it’s worth, you really do have yellow Converse.

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