Sorry for being more lax – laxer? Laxier? – than usual with email responses, but every moment of the day has been dedicated to work or the Great Archiving, and if I slacken in the latter I will lose focus and drift and forget my ultimate purpose. The idea – conceived on an idle afternoon when I walked into the storage closet and realized it could stand a little sifting – was to organize absolutely everything. My writing (that’s four crates right there), my pictures, family history, the inordinately vast collection of ephemera and scannable site-fodder, my radio work, TV appearances, Gnat’s art & schoolwork & associated documents, the monthly movies, the bins of Things I saved to sum up a place or a time. Not only is everything being organized, it’s being scanned, since the secondary objective involves putting everything on a pickled laptop that will preserve all the information for The Future. (The crate in which the laptop will be stored includes a backup hard drive, system & program discs.) There’s a certain amount of satisfaction in knowing that the flat silver rectangular object contains Everything.
I’m clearing the decks, it seems. After this, it’s something else. Something new. The second half of life, if you wish.
Today I began work on the shoeboxes of photographs. Everyone has shoeboxes of photographs. I didn’t take photos in my 20s, which is the time you wish you’d taken the most pictures. The photos start when I came back to Minneapolis, so there’s many useless shots of the lake and the creek. Then came Jasper, which produced hundreds of dog shots. (Yes, that site’s being revised, too.) It’s the things in the margin that tantalize, the building now gone, the friend now lost, the neighbor whose smile belies the rest of the story, and so on. This period doesn’t interest me this much, since I was between Things – between the DC experience and the Strib & radio, a two-year period in which I walked the dog and played Duke Nukem and wrote a mediocre novel and 312 columns. No, the interesting stuff is always the bygone photos:
Dorkus Americanus. Lots of those. But I found a big scrapbook my Mom had assembled before my parents were married. Mom took the pictures, which is why she rarely appears; most of the pictures concern my father, who had the same matchless self-possession in every – single – shot. They also include photos he sent from The War:
Those were the famous shed-launchers the Allies used to bombard enemy positions with affordable housing. There were also photos from leave; here’s a shot at the farm. My Grandma looks exactly as she looked when I was a kid; she went directly from 30 to 70, it seems. Farm life will do that to you.
She's in her fifties here, and she looks like Anthony Burgess. And look at those arms! She could have strangled a cow. Grandma took the camera to snap a shot of her daughter and her fine decent beau:
I inherited his forehead and hairline; it's a wonder he didn't teach me how to build an interocitor. And then there’s this:
Winter in the plains. Coats are for the weak. Coats are how the wolves know who to take.
So that’s what I did today. That, and two columns. That, and ignore the fact that all the lights I put up yesterday fell down, because apparently 3M “Command” adhesive does not work when applied to stone that’s subsequently drenched with rain. Yes, rain. It rained last night; went to bed with the gentle patter on the windows, and I was grateful. The lid has not yet come down. You know, the lid. The great storm that seals the world in white and keeps it frozen until March gets drunk and breaks it. More of the same tomorrow; it’s supposed to hit 57. Hah! Everyone has a Thanksgiving archetype in their brain, burned into the neurons long ago; mine dates to 1983, when Minneapolis was buried in pre-Thanksgiving storm, and I took the train back to Fargo. Left at the romantic hour of 11 PM, sat in the smoking car listening to the Eno Apollo & Atmospheres album on the clunky Walkman, and watched the white world slide past. If I’ve ever been as contented since, the moment escaped notation.
So that’s my day. Back to work now; more tomorrow, including a discussion of the piece in the local paper about the background of that fellow who was kicked off the plane last week. I mean, given the questions and peculiarities of some of his associations, I am certain a full accounting is forthcoming.
Because I can’t see any reason why such a piece wouldn’t be written.
Ergo, I’m certain it’s en route.
Absolutely dead-bang positive.
Really. I also expect that a reporter will have called the hotel where the conference took place, found out who was in the adjacent room, contacted a representative of that organization, asked for a recap of what they heard, and ran the assessment past a newly prominent local politician who was in attendance to see if it squared with his recollection. Said politician would also be asked about the deplaned imam’s connections, regardless of whether this seemed like recrudescent Islamophobia, because these are crucial issues –
Sorry. Got the vapors for a moment. All better now. Did I point you to this YouTube movie containing highlights from Indian action-film special effects? No? Well, bugger. See you tomorrow.