.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Sundries
...a sweatshop of moxie

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Take The Dustcover Off

Yesterday was a woman's day. A day full of beauty salons, of shopping, of gossip, and of fashion.

But I get too restless after a while.

I have my Catholic mother inside me, with her love of the exquisite dolce far niente, that side of me which I could indulge for years if I hadn't also my Protestant father inside me, with his quiet industry, always looking to better, to refine, to elevate, to revise.

So as I left my mother chatting gaily away in shops where all the women have a carry-on Louis Vuitton for their Malteses, I took off in our car for a quick side rumble to one of my favourite bookstores, just a few blocks away.

As far as bookshops go, it's nondescript.

Just another of those endless barn-big industrial complexes with unromantic lighting, which could sell mattresses, as it could auto parts. Or in their case, books.



But even at that unfashionable hour, just when the rush hour was due to reach its peak in South Dixie Highway, there were the usual suspects gathered in the bookstore.

...the too-loud blue-eyed Argentinian, dressed as a cross between a Peace Corps worker and Coco Chanel. This version asked if she could be helped to find the collected works of Rigoberta Menchu, which the sales assistant said she would be happy to oblige, as soon as the other 3 customers in the queue had been attended to first. For all her politically correct Amerindian jewelry, and interest in (fake) Guatemalan campesinas, she couldn't shake off the habits of the privileged.

...the quiet retiree, feeling at once comfortable in the silence of a bookstore, but cutting a solitary figure, as he fingered the spines of the bargain bookbin. Some are randy. Some are curious. Some are just looking for a well-disposed receptive ear, as this version was. He shyly asked me for the time -- despite the fact that his cellphone on his belt would've informed him just fine --, which I divulged. I smiled. He smiled. But faint heart never won (mildly) fair lady, and the moment passed. And so did I.

...the Cuban-American mother, with her various blond children in tow. You can't tell that they are Cubans when you hear the children speak; they all have that Britney Spearsesque speech pattern, with its high inflections, and boring vocabulary. But because of that, they sound youthful, modern, and above all, American. It's only when the mother, pushing 40, opened her mouth that all doubt was removed. She called out to her children in the Harry Potter section, "Nos vamos! Come on! Pippo's waiting!". They left.

...the bluestocking, 20-30, of indeterminate background. She never knows what she wants to buy, which means that all the stacks must be carefully observed again, and mental notes revisited about books she's wanted. Does she feel like literature? Or non-fiction? Or how about a 2006 calender featuring Derek Jeter? She flits about, pausing for a moment, and abruptly turns to go to the Starbucks cafe which adjoins the bookshop. She comes back, mug in hand, still unusure of her quest. A few customers have noticed her by now, curiously looking up whenever she passes in front of them. The bookshop dance breaks out often, the kind where you sway this way and that, stepping to one side, and the other, to get out of people's way in the narrow racks. The tango stops. She has found her book.

You have guessed by now, that the last examplar, the bluestocking, was I.

If I could, I would have lingered longer, but my mother and our dog in her carry-on tote beckoned. Another round of shopping awaited me, and I was glad.

I had satisfied my desire by taking a moment to feed myself of nourishment not found in size 6 Jill Sanders.

My diet that day consisted of nothing more than a cheapie, but well-bound "collectors classics" edition of...Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass, which I had always wanted to possess.

When my hand reached out for it, it fell open to this passage, laying under the inbuilt red bookmark on page 169. Even though I had thought Willa Cather's My Antonia looked interesting, I chose it instead.

You would have too, no matter what bookstore type you had been.

Are you the person drawn to me?
To begin with take warning, I am surely far different from what you supppose;
Do you suppose you will find in me your ideal?
Do you think it is so easy to have me become your lover?
Do you think the friendship of me would be unalloy'd satisfaction?
Do you think I am trusty and faithful?
Do you see no further than this façade, this smooth and tolerant manner of me?
Do you suppose yourself advancing on real ground toward a real heroic man?
Have you no thought O dreamer that it may be all maya, illusion?

For none of us are what we seem. Even the keenest eye will never know it.

LISTEN: Podcast of the introduction.

this is an audio post - click to play

6 Comments:

  • It's coming along, a little longer this time, a little more sure. Oh, how you write though.
    I must retreat, as from our shared Althouse, you are too good. A level I can only peek over and get a glimpse of what one can do if only, if only.

    By Blogger Paul, at Sat Nov 12, 05:56:00 pm GMT-5  

  • It's coming along, a little longer this time, a little more sure.

    I'm glad you say that! I have no way of knowing how I sound to another party.

    Whenever I review my recording, I think I sound hopelessly Minnie Mouse voiced.

    Oh, how you write though.

    Thanks, Paul. :)

    I must retreat, as from our shared Althouse, you are too good. A level I can only peek over and get a glimpse of what one can do if only, if only.

    What tosh! All you have to do, is practise by writing and writing.

    Think of all the writing influences you've had in your life, and then cull from them, to find your own voice.

    You'll see. It'll come just fine. :)

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sat Nov 12, 07:45:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Good gravy! Victoria, you certainly don't sound Minnie Mouse voiced! (I have no desire to dip Minnie on the dance floor; on the other hand...)

    There seems to be a bit of static in the podcast though; Ann's doesn't have that. It could be my sound here.

    the too-loud blue-eyed Argentinian, dressed as a cross between a Peace Corps worker and Coco Chanel.

    As Diana Vreeland might say, did she have Peace-zaz? (awk, the lengths I go for bad puns!)

    More excellent posting,please!

    Ron

    By Blogger Ron, at Sat Nov 12, 08:39:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'm glad you say that! I have no way of knowing how I sound to another party.

    Whenever I review my recording, I think I sound hopelessly Minnie Mouse voiced.


    I'll tell you what I hear, whether it is what you would like I cannot know, nor would it be helpful if I did.
    Your voice carries a theatre sound, a play. More intimate quality, very polished; I sit on the floor, nearby, put my arms around my legs, my chin on my knees and listen. Your voice is quite enjoyable, a bit of royalty reminding, interest holding.

    By Blogger Paul, at Sun Nov 13, 04:25:00 pm GMT-5  

  • Good gravy!

    Oooh, I must use that.

    Victoria, you certainly don't sound Minnie Mouse voiced! (I have no desire to dip Minnie on the dance floor; on the other hand...)

    Dip. Fan-tail. Two step. Watch the toes!

    There seems to be a bit of static in the podcast though; Ann's doesn't have that. It could be my sound here.

    Yeah, but Ann has the Althouse-Cohen band, and possibly some schmanzy-fancy computer to produce her podcasts!

    I just have a cellphone (albeit a brand new one with great Nokia audio USUALLY), and Audioblogger as my host.

    I did the podcast in two takes. The first one sounded even more staticky than the first, but I suppose that day, it was beyond their control. :(

    As Diana Vreeland might say, did she have Peace-zaz? (awk, the lengths I go for bad puns!)

    Aha! I see at least one reader will know my future "5 Americans You should Know" reference, since the wonderfully eccentric Diana will make her appearance in the debut post.

    More excellent posting,please!

    Well, I'll try. Slip me a fitty, and you get a podcast with me singing in the shower.

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Nov 13, 07:07:00 pm GMT-5  

  • I'll tell you what I hear, whether it is what you would like I cannot know, nor would it be helpful if I did.

    I appreciate that. A lot of people hesitate to say anything, but that's because they think they might say the wrong thing unwittingly.

    But when a person has their heart in the right place, there is no such thing. I trust you, Paul. :)

    Your voice carries a theatre sound, a play. More intimate quality, very polished; I sit on the floor, nearby, put my arms around my legs, my chin on my knees and listen. Your voice is quite enjoyable, a bit of royalty reminding, interest holding.

    Well, well, well.

    As they say, the compliment of a lifetime.

    Thank you so much, Paul. :)

    I can almost close my eyes and see you with your hands upon your knees, closing your eyes, and listening to my voice, as it carries my loving tone to all who listen to it.

    Because I may get money from Blogads now. But I do it for you...for love. :)

    Thanks for taking the time to respond so helpfully!

    Cheers,
    Victoria

    By Blogger vbspurs, at Sun Nov 13, 07:12:00 pm GMT-5  

Post a Comment

Who linked Here:

Create a Link

<< Home


 




Advertise on blogs
British Expat Blog Directory.