egad, either i do it for myself, or it will be done for me. on new year's day i told my friend susan, 'i'll just leave all this writing stuff for someone else to deal with.' with a sad, wry smile, she said, 'no one will want to.' an epiphany!!! i immediately realized the truth of her mona lisa look. i've seen too many people throw out the baby with the bathwater when a relative died. to quote lenny bruce once more, 'when you die, all your precious possessions become junk.'
okay, i shifted into high gear. at my storage unit i tackled the copies of manuscripts collected over the past fifty years, tossing everything scanned (and probably throwing out a few tikes), box after box, until the back of my pickup literary loaded. they didn't fill the dumpster however. so much for a life's work. boy, nose to the grindstone, i wonder what i missed? certainly the life of a mainstream person, which i was terrified of falling into.
ah, you say, what a shame to lose it all. alas, i haven't. i've fifteen boxes of spiral bound notebooks, for example, everything written by hand: diaries, scrapbooks, a million one-liners, original manuscripts, etc. i've given myself til april 1st to get this all in order, a fast document scanner arriving tomorrow. have no fear, i will boil it down to the diamond dust.
one reason to leave your daughter one precious teapot and not a whole house of furniture and knick-knacks. this treasured bit of history may survive, and a diligent family historian like my niece dawn bryant may come up with what she wrote on facebook this morning:
the irony, of course, every civilization kills off the last one, and the curious root in the rubble, trying to put it all back together. more power to them: fragments are more fun. i've read we're all pattern-makers, happiest with puzzles rather than definite answers. true, last week islamic fanatics burned an ancient library in timbuktu. i can't count the times i've mourned the loss of the library at alexandria (burned by christians). yet..yet, the other day i realized i wished i'd written the fragments of sappho, more than anything.
If you are squeamish
Don't prod the
The beach rubble.
*(see note below)
everybody grabs the photographs when the house catches fire. my sister not so lucky, my mother a family history fanatic, thousands of old documents and photographs lost. sad, you say. no, now dawn has to dig even deeper, coming up with remarkable facts from the past. may you do the same!
more photos posted. another vision of the eclipse last spring:
and these from a surviving box of pictures of a mysterious relative, esmeralda. i hope dawn eventually can piece her biography together:
**and i suddenly realized: i did write my own sapphic shreds: