Log in

No account? Create an account
Raging Waters - De File — LiveJournal
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
Raging Waters
My task tonight was to put all the books back on the shelves that were moved for the latest round of house painting. I was careful to box them up in an organized way, so that unpacking would be as easy as possible. But I'm finding it hard to muster the energy for the job. Or courage. At this point, I'm not so sure that the distinction between those two concepts matters.

You see, every time I pick up a book I haven't looked through in years, I run the risk of getting swept away in the white water let loose when it became temporarily unbound. Perhaps it's silly to act as though inner and outer life mirror each other. Or maybe my malady inheres in lacking what it takes to police the boundary between those two realms with sufficient force. What I do know is that the empty white shelves to which I've turned my back to write this are a powerful reminder of how easily the order we impose in the world can turn into the infinite possibilities of freedom, a freedom that stimulates me even as it summons my deepest fears.

While I had vowed to put the books back exactly where they were before the room was dismantled, I know that the impulse to do something new might be too strong to ignore. And even if I manage to keep that promise to myself, more or less, I will still face the painful moment of deciding, as I take each book in my hand, whether to break with the past. Does it even make sense to rebuild a dam that has been breached? They tried it in Johnstown, with disastrous consequences. Sometimes one really does have to go with the flow.

Tags: , ,
Current Location: 85704

10 comments or Leave a comment
From: e4q Date: October 4th, 2009 09:23 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
you are your library.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 6th, 2009 05:05 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Or so it seems. I've actually been behind in my internet correspondence because I'm spending many hours cataloging all the books I have to put back on the shelf!
masoo From: masoo Date: October 4th, 2009 02:24 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Back when we lived in Antioch for the last time ... 30 years ago, 1979-80 ... that was when I ended up screaming in the middle of the street in the middle of the night. When Robin took me to the county hospital, the shrink we saw said I should try doing something simple to change my life ... I think the idea was to prove to myself it could be done, and then I could attack more important changes. One of the things she suggested was rearranging my stuff, like books or record albums. I said I'd always arranged my albums alphabetically, and albums were what I had the most of. There you go, she said.

It's been so long ago, I don't recall the exact new system I used ... probably chronological. Nor can I remember how good it made me feel to rearrange, or even if it felt good at all. What I do remember is that I could never find any records when I wanted to play them, so eventually I rearranged them again, returning them to alphabetical order.

Since the real change I needed to make was unrelated to vinyl, I suppose it needs to be said: it took me another 4 years or so to quit working in the factory.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 6th, 2009 05:08 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
That's a great example of how therapy misses the point. Still, a break in routine -- like a vacation, say -- can help short term mental health. I know this task would be easier if the books I'm reshelving weren't bound up with my graduate-school dreams, back when I was taking film seminars and imagining that I'd end up doing neat stuff somewhere instead of being stuck in the desert with a daily urge to run into the street and scream.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 6th, 2009 05:14 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I've never forgotten that doctor in the hospital. Don't remember her name, or what she looked like ... I think she hypnotized me, seriously, if nothing else, she calmed me down. I don't suppose I've ever been in a worse place in my life, and she got me out of it. That I still had a long way to go wasn't on her. She saved me that night.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 6th, 2009 05:20 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Maybe Valium was involved. Sometimes it's just a matter of slowing down one's breathing.
masoo From: masoo Date: October 6th, 2009 05:37 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
They didn't give me any drugs. She just talked in a very gentle tone, had me visualizing stuff, and later I wondered if that was hypnosis (I've never "really" done it so I have no idea).
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 6th, 2009 05:38 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Huh. I've never experienced it myself. But it could be.
From: catfishvegas Date: October 5th, 2009 05:57 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I love the white water metaphor.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: October 6th, 2009 05:09 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks! Somehow the weightiness of books, the way they tumble from your grasp as you try to carry too many, reminds me of the force of whitewater.
10 comments or Leave a comment