Imaginary placesI love to hear

Imaginary places

I love to hear my kid say “Dude, that’s grody to the max”. This would theoretically contribute to the big scroll listing my sins that they’ll read to me in hell, but L. taught it to him.

Went to another cache today. The obsession continues.

Everything is on hold. I am on little kid time. It’s day 2 of the no diapers or pants wetting era. 4 days of this life seems very long. It’s not like it’s bad – I’m having fun. But it is wearing. jhk suggested a no-typing weekend. I tried to imagine a no-computer, no-book weekend. All reality, all the time. Is that the key here? Not gender, or child care, but just being tuned in to “real life”? I have always liked imaginary places. Even in a real place that I’m enjoying I’m imagining the history or geology or the garden that I could make if I had some sort of landscaping superpowers or the fort I would have made there if I were still a kid. It seems pretty clear that constant reading is an escape, but I’ve always figured, “So what?” If you had my allergies, you would want to escape your body too. What’s so great about real life? Would any reasonable person not prefer to be reading Mary Kingsley as she meanders through west african swamps, says heinously racist things, eats snakes, hits crocodiles with her paddle, and makes coy victorian reference to her “lower extremities” and “garments” that she would rather die than wear ??

Meanwhile my kid is forced to play by himself because I tune in only long enough to make him a sandwich and open the play dough container for him. I do play with him, and there are always clean clothes, but in the back of my mind there is the mother in “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” – as I recall, she was always reading a book and neglecting her children and thus Rebecca or her sister had to do everything and they lived in squalor. Had Rebecca’s mom not been reading Ivanhoe all the time, some kind of magic thing would have happened so that her life wouldn’t have fucking sucked, or so the book implied. Then she would get to be like Mrs. Pepper in the Five Little Peppers, sewing sacks by the light of one dim candle and eating burned crusts of bread while guilt-tripping her children, until some millionaire, impressed by her honest industry and house that is neat as a pin, realizes he’s her long lost cousin. Uh, I am not sure what my point is here, but I have definitely been scarred by those girls’ books. Even Anne of Green Gables magically keeps a neat house. but she might have had a servant or something later in life so she could go around drivelling about fairies in the moonlight.

Sometimes I realize I’m walking around with a book in my hand in a somewhat odd way, as if the mere carrying of the book were some kind of magic shield. I go out to the garage to move the laundry onwards, and am carrying a book. This makes sense if you might have to wait for something, or stand in line at the bank – when to be caught without a book would be horrible – but when washing dishes or doing laundry? It was only a few years ago that I stopped carrying a book everywhere. I still carry a notebook everywhere and it does come in handy – when bored, instead of reading, I write something.

Anyway i was considering that the reason our house is so cruddy and messy is because I just am not paying attention to it. Then when I do take a look at it and pay attention, it’s really gross. That is usually not an incentive to clean it – it’s an incentive to go read and ignore it some more.

Then for some reason I was thinking about when I left m.m.m.II and how I had no stuff. At first I had only 500 bucks and a few boxes of clothes and my blanket and 20 CDs and a tiny cd player. I scavenged a bed. I had maybe 2 boxes of books – it was all one carload. Then I rented that apartment in the high rise and moved my one truckload of junk into it. Then jhk’s parents gave us some furniture … we lived in one room… it worked out okay… It seems like things were simpler… My real stuff, crappy furniture, maybe 6 large booshelves of books were all in storage still (that was a big mistake) Now we are in this house, 2 bedrooms and space for office/library and a yard and a garage all full of unorganized crap. I can’t pass up a garage sale. But I have so much stuff I can’t find anything. On the other hand, I may not be hugely happier in a day-to-day experience sort of way, but I am way more productive and happier with that. But something has to change – I have to change how I do things – for example a certain level of organization is necessary to get a kid to school on time every day, which if I fuck up, doesn’t matter in preschool, but will matter in real school. and if I keep buying books they have to go somewhere and I can’t seem to stop buying them and haven’t been getting rid of them either. Hmmmmmmmm. the prospect of living in one room again seems impossible, but really, it isn’t.

Here’s that quote from Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm about the mother (who later dies in bed, weeping that housework has weighed down her soul but grateful that
Rebecca got to go to school): “Her love of books she inherited chiefly from her mother, who found it hard to sweep or cook or sew when there was a novel in the house. Fortunately books were scarce, or the children might sometimes have gone ragged and hungry. “

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