Saturday, October 2, 2010

An Old Time in the Hot City

This morning we ended up in Old Town Spring, which is a created remainder of an old rail-road town just north of Houston. It's full of antiques and food and quirk, just as you might imagine. We were looking for chocolate, but we've been blessed with a cool front this weekend and we both realized as we got out of the car that it would be nicer to poke around than to go directly for the chocolate.

His first priority was coffee and we ended up in one of the larger buildings not far from the beginning of the shops. The floor was wood, the windows lit narrow shelves of ceramics pressed into tight aisles. Everything smelled of coffee and the breeze pressed us further in. As I wedged myself carefully into the aisles, my mind leapt back to Brownwood and my Aunt Lois' house. Scent memory and place memory swept the table clean and threw laced images over the solid present. The wooden floor shifted and I was balanced in the past and present for a few seconds.

Since then I've been thinking of the surfaces below my feet. Wondering whether the concrete underlying the carpet is porous to the place or whether it's too hard to take impressions. I have since I was young wanted to live in a museum, in a place that is caked in poured concrete and glass and I wonder if I wanted to leave no impression on my surroundings, to live somewhere that I would leave with as little impression as a tourist leaves a museum. That can be accomplished without living in a concrete house--there is no impression that can be left on time itself that I know of.

Part of the dearth of book-related posts lately is that I've been reading about how to read and fussing with writing and with finding the purpose to gear up for submissions and continue lengthier drafts. There is something deadly sometimes about reading about why someone else reads and what he or she finds important. It can make books and lines seem inert as you struggle to conform your reading to theirs. Another reader's opinion by necessity forces yours to slide off unless they are similar enough to yours to allow you to substitute your impressions for theirs and their insight for your own.

My mind was starting to feel rigid and today, for a few minutes, it was permeable. Permeable and bouncy like the wood beneath me--the way a good novel should be, allowing the reader to slip into the cracks, snag on the ideas, and ultimately polish the words with use and thought.

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