As I sit down to write I’m mostly thinking about putting up more bookshelves. Neighbor Colin, who is a retired carpenter, gave me two long, long redwood boards which are at least 100 years old and have been weathering outside. We scraped them a little and hosed them off, and he split them lengthwise for me so now I have four very long and narrow shelves.
Today I plan to start sanding the boards by hand and then oil them. To avoid hurting my hands with repetitive motion, I’m figuring to sand, then oil one board, then hang it and arrange some books. Most of my books are out of boxes now, but double or triple stacked.
It’s so exciting to have them all back after their 10+ years in storage. While unpacking I felt my brain sort of waking up in different places – all my poetry books in Spanish – a ton of feminist science fiction – weird literary criticism – a huge section of the history of sexuality – all my zines and papers and letters and notebooks and other projects.
So that’s going on with me and actually generative creativity is in tension with the amount of domestic work to get the books and papers out and up — and the feeling of this enormous backlog of my own work that is a huge mess. I glimpsed entire book projects and zines that I forgot even existed – an entire Manifesto – Oh, help!
So, a little “curation” and archival ordering, a little spelunking through lost caverns, I hope will be balanced by new ideas & new writing.
Wish me luck with the sanding, as I’m a little afraid I’ll do it “wrong” by my neighbor’s judgement. He loves every piece of wood like a brother. As we were out on the sidewalk scrubbing dirt & lichen off the boards, he looked around dreamily at the painted Victorians of our street, & said, imagine if there was NO PAINT on all these, just beautiful, beautiful wood, century old virgin redwood and pine… Grain exposed… the history…
And the sins of our other neighbors, or contractors they hired in the past, have been pointed out to me: SOMEONE USED AN ORBITAL SANDER ON THAT REDWOOD!!!