torsdag, juli 20, 2006

Rolodex Check: Books and Crushes

Glossing over the approximately 500 books I have shelved and haphazardly stacked along the walls in this little apartment, and not taking into consideration the extra hundreds I have in storage and back at my parents’ house, I find a number of works I adore rereading from and a number of which I read once upon a time and even made notes in but about which I recall almost nothing in the way of characters, storylines or writing styles.

Five Of The Books, In No Particular Order, I Reread Randomly From and Continue to Find Life In:

1. The short stories of Anton Chekov (Favorites: “Anyuta” and “Gooseberries”)
2. Flow Chart, a book-length poem by John Ashbery
3. Doctor Glas, Hjalmar Söderberg
4. Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez
5. Knut Hamsun’s work. I’ve read at least seven of his novels and prefer the Lyngstad translations. Favorites: Hunger and Mysteries.

Five Of The Books, In No Particular Order, I’ve Read But Which Have Left My Mind, A Fact About Which I Feel Mildly Guilty

1. Transparent Things, Vladimir Nabakov. Apparently my memory is even shorter than this 105-page novel.
2. The Birth of Tragedy, Friedrich Nietzche. Didn’t. Learn. A. Thing.
3. Go Down, Moses, William Faulkner. Sorry, Bill; this one just didn’t take.
4. Jazz, Toni Morrison. I’m guessing there was jazz in it.
5. The five books I’ve read by Cormac McCarthy, save for Child of God, which included one of my favorite sentences ever: “Bird flew.”

A random note from the card catalog of crushes, unrelated to books

So, let’s take it way back to the safety of adolescent crushes. I danced with Kelly Clement to the Cure’s “One More Time” (off Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me) in May 1988. The party was in celebration of 8th grade graduation, and some parents had put up the cash for us to have a time at the Four Colonies Club in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Just heard that song again. Hilarious, really. What’s with that flute?

Kelly was a big Robert Smith fan, which meant many kids (Come back here, you bastards!) made fun of her for it. But I very much liked the Cure then—thanks due to me older sis for introducing me to their songs!—and I was fond of Kelly too. I was really geeked about her asking me to dance to that one. She was a gem, a total sweetie. She was. She remained that way through high school, and the one time I saw her in a video store during college, she was still the same. She invited me to the Northwest where she was living. I didn’t go.

Reflecting on her, I think what I’d say is that she seemed remarkably adjusted to growing up. She was self-deprecating, of course—most good people are—but not in need of validation (or didn’t outwardly suggest this). She laughed a good deal, but it wasn’t empty laughter. So far as I remember, she wasn’t prone to taking swipes at people.

At the time, though, and I mean 1988 in that room full of 12 and 13 year olds drinking soda and talking wistfully about the good old days as a teenage dj uncorked the day’s music, I’d no such understanding of those feelings, no possibility of objectivity. I knew only that she was kind and had, as I saw it, good taste in music. And she was a total cutie, a tall thing with a small, purplish birthmark blossom on her neck. It looked like a hickey that was just about healed. It was a hickey that fate would never allow to be healed. I always wanted to kiss it. I never did.
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