Monday, November 26, 2012
the advantages of putting your house in order
as my friend susie passed through the living room to get the gun off her recently deceased stepfather's wall, her aged mother counting something on her fingers, to shoot herself, all she could think about was the closet she hadn't cleaned. so, the first advantage would be not putting a rifle-barrel in my mouth, even if i survived, as susie did. of course, part of this was my fault. i'd recommended she read life after life by ... she expected the singing of angels, "and all i felt was the incredible violence." alas, she ignored the parts in the book describing attempted suicides.
with the help of prozac i've survived so far. that said, my rented storage space a jumble. true, i'd put most things in boxes, yet having, among other things, one hundred and twenty of them books i wasn't reading made me feel guilty, like i should know everything in them. before leaving the lookout and mountains on a beautiful october day, i had wished all i owned could be packed into the pickup. perhaps i desired to shed the weight of memory?
at any rate, lady luck smiled on me. a friend bravely opening a used bookstore in berkeley. so far i've taken her eighty boxes of books, these forty still to go. don't they look neatly piled? what a relief, down to mostly the self-help and psychology books in which i've underlined too heavily. (looking at them, i despair: how little i learned.)
in a second space i've taken everything out except boxes of notebooks, photographs, diaries, recordings of talks and readings. it's a bit tempting to toss the whole shebang into the ocean, but then i would be searching for a pistol. nobody else may be interested in them, but i'll be out of here and won't notice. as i've said, i'm here and then i'm gone, the means of passage irrelevant. like most of us i don't enjoy pain. hopefully, i won't even notice.
going through photos and scrapbooks, i've put a few memories in order. i'm pleased i once had a physical life: swimming, football, trips with the boy scouts, hayrides with girls. i'm feeling awfully lethargic and sedentary these days, allowing my body to sag, even as i buy toys to help me exercise. after trips to the dumpster and the thrift store, selling the first three of my expensive camera lenses last night, i'm suddenly feeling like things are manageable.
i may not have enough possessions to shore up a sense of identity. the keeper of my storage space says, 'the drug addicts often come to simply look at their stuff.' i can understand that. i have created myself through what my mother called 'consumer therapy.' how much fun to spend money! eventually, like all who live long enough, i don't want to be buried like an ancient egyptian pharaoh with food and jewels for the journey to never-never land. maybe if i lighten the load enough by april 1, 2013, i can take a real-world journey.
speaking of journeys, here's an account of one we made in 1951 across the united states:
and here are a few of the scraps i've mentioned:
and each of us individually eventually experiences the end of the world: