Thursday, September 11, 2008
My New World
Good God, where to begin. . . . I love old stuff. Not antiques or historically significant stuff. Old, worn-out, useless stuff. This is not the way it's always been. Something happened a few years ago. Mostly I blame her. She came along and poked my tranquil little bubble of a life. One day I was floating along just like the previous day and the years before that, and the next day - **Pop**. Now I'm hungry for air on a new planet.
I find myself obsessively collecting junk. Trash really. It's the stuff people pay to get rid of or step over on the way into the convenience store. The stuff that collects on the shoulder of the road. Sheaths of cut power line casing. A metal spoon that's been run over 46 times. Bits of car. The truly strange part about this is that it's not for me. At least not for the first 4 years. Now I keep some of the small plastic scraps. And wire. Particularly the thin multi-colored stuff the utility workers shed around the telephone junction boxes. I carefully clean the various finds, then give nearly all of it to her.
A few weeks or months later it all comes back. Exquisitely regurgitated out of the basement in a magnificent new form. Small bits from the roadside attached to bigger bits from the town dump. Industrial plastic bits bolted to thick slices of oxidized steel. Wire, tiles, paint, eggshells, tar, dangerously jagged decomposing shards of metal. Things that you're not supposed to touch. Somehow all of this stuff finds other stuff that it never knew existed and gets married into a new form that is unquestionably whole. It's like suddenly discovering that Weeping Willows and steering wheels are a perfect match. You wouldn't think of it on your own, but once you see it bolted all together, it's just right. Once every couple of months or so I find myself in a trance handing over stacks of tip money to buy back the roadside junk that I nearly got run over picking up sometime last year. You see, I must have it. It says things to me. Wonderful things. I know, I know, there's probably something wrong with my brain.
People whiz around me accomplishing things. Achieving things. I Gather. Collect. It's everywhere. Flying off of cars smashing into snowy guardrails. Ripped from buildings in preparation for a face-lift. Fairy dust has been sprinkled on my shaggy little head. I can see things. All of the disaster and horrible pummeling abuse is creating it; neglected, despised, beautiful pieces of stuff. That's what I see. So I carefully pick it up and give it to someone who will fondle it. Love it. Listen to it hum a song of decrepit wisdom and inspiration. This has become my new life. I have finally allowed it to completely consume me. Now I can hear the notes. Feel the tugs. . . the faint whispers of creation. There is no reason to the process. I'm just grateful my apprenticeship has begun.