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September 3rd, 2007

100 square feet of soul

I believe in the firm power of juxtaposition. On the morning just before I leave to go to the largest flea market on earth, I think about simplifying and getting very small.

Today I've been admiring the very tiny homes designed by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company, as small as 100 square feet in size. I do not plan to move to a tiny home, but there is a sense of liberation in the idea of living in a very small space. I like the Gandhi-like idea of simplicity in temrs of possessions, even if I tend to be a pack rat, myself.

Simplifying can go beyond living space. The musician Jane Siberry adopted the single name Issa, sold or gave away most of her possessions, and seeks to live a less material life. I'm intrigued that folks who take one name often take mildly exotic names when simplicity might, to me, dictate a name like John or Joan (or, for that matter, Jane). Yet the idea of liberating oneself from so many constructs is a fine idea, even if not one's own working theory.

I've always been rather a Siberry fan. I'm not in the "can sing the words to every song" camp, but instead in the "buys a few of her CDs and loves the way she approaches her creative output with a quirky gusto". Her forays into alternative music distribution are a good example of a way out of the current corporate distribution morass. I see she is coming to Dallas in November,to play the yoga studio which doubles as concert space, and perhaps I'll try to get tickets.

I don't plan to change my name to just "gurdonark" or to move into a house the size of my closet. But the examples do inspire me to focus once more on de-cluttering my life, and for looking for the as-yet-imperfectly-found simplicity to which I aspire.

Sin pulgas

I rather like Mondays. But I don't always understand them.

Canton, Texas features the First Monday Trades Day. It's the largest flea market in the country,and supposedly in the world. It takes place during the weekend with the first Monday in it each month.

My wife and I drove to meet our friend Gene in Canton so that we could all hit the flea market midway. We all arrived at our meeting place, a Wal-Mart, by 8 a.m., and were at the trades day lots by 8:30.

Things were moving a bit slow, so we stopped in the huge indoor mall Market Center next door. They advised us that First Monday no longer has Monday session.

It was a Monday without First Monday.

We enjoyed the large market center, where more than one merchant saw fit to disparage the flea market not in session. "But that's just junk" one in all other respects frightfully polite east Texas vendor murmured, in her charmingly polite voice (as is the way of the frightfully polite culture in east Texas, which is practically the same country as my beloved homeland in Arkansas). I was too polite to rejoin "but it's the junk I really came to see!". We enjoyed shopping in the large antiques mall, and then left sans merchandise (and fleas).

We are in the lemonade business, so we set out to drive to nearby Lake Fork, which is known as one of the top x number of bass fishing lakes in the country. We did not wish to fish, but to hike. We stopped at a bait shop and gas station and asked "where is the
state park?". The man behind the counter advised me that Lake Fork has no state park, but allowed as how it would be nice if it did. The hiking portion of our trip segued into a cool drive through rural east Texas, where yellow coreopsis alternated with cowsills, the air was cool (80's), and cows and goats thrived. Gene had brought along a copy of the Residents' Commercial Album, which I love and which he had brought to give to me to keep because he knows how fond I am of the Residents.

We stopped in Mineola, a charming older town of 5,000, and shopped in its antique mall.
I bought a sack of Anasazi beans, which are desert beans which taste like the most jazzed-up sweet pinto beans one ever tasted. I will cook them up next weekend. We then
headed to a cafe called Kitchens, which served up sandwiches and soups we thoroughly enjoyed.

We drove home, with but a brief excursion to the Tanger outlet mall in Terrell on the way. We had a great time, though everything we did came out differently than we planned.

Nobody was upset or even dampened about the changes of plans, though, because all 3 of us are used to that being the rule, rather than the exception, when travelling with me.