Robert (gurdonark) wrote,

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Crafting junk, bending fenders, sorting thoughts

All the world's a library, and I usually have books overdue. A few weeks ago, I checked out three books from the Allen library. Thanks to a reminder from a robotic voice on my phone answering machine, two books, including the Folk Art in Texas book, made it back safely to the library near their due date. The third one, though, titled something like "How to Make Amazing Crafts from Household Trash", turned up missing.
I am surprised that this would be a book I would not get back on time, as it proved to be chock full of revelations like "you can make a discarded egg case into a rodeo lampshade if you just have a good eye". I browse the endless library of crafts, but I must have left my good eyes at home. I'm myopic as I stroll among the shelves.

The missing crafts book had been placed in a stack of books I arranged in the hallway during an organizational session. The one sure way to misplace anything is to organize it. Last night, it turned up, and this morning I turned it in. I used to have very good "multiplication in my head" skills, so that I could work out the potential fines without a calculator. For a few years now, though, my card catalog is automated, and the software does not run nearly as well as the old manual, inward pencil based system used to do. I'll have to wait for the result next time I seek to check out a book.

On my way to today's morning meeting, I got involved in a very minor fender bender. Fortunately, neither I nor the other fellow's vehicle was much hurt, and neither of us was injured. We both were able to drive away, and we stayed civil throughout the proceedings. It's pleasant when two grown ups can discuss a topic with courtesy even when a minor collision is involved. The body shop awaits me. I vaguely wish I still lived near Tijuana, as the body work would be perfect for those little body shops where the fellows hammer out the dents rather than peeling the auto banana and installing a new peel. But I'm afraid I must play the land as it lays.

I've been studying complex documents all day, trying to sort out the forest for the trees. All stories are so complex and take so long to tell. All stories are so simple and can be told in five sentences or so. I modify my earlier thinking, and now pronounce a paradox--life is startlingly complex and indefinable; life is frighteningly easy and reducible. I am very good at thinking both things and neither things all at the same time. I am not so good at enunciating my thoughts. My thoughts are not so good that enunciation is that essential in any event. Without my thoughts, I am adrift in the library of souls.

In this purgatory, we are all assigned a graduation thesis. We are then turned loose among the shelves of souls. We are not graded by how well we write, or how much we know, or how fashionable our bookbag might be. The examining committee graduates only the researchers who pull as many souls as possible from the shelves, review each lovingly, and accurately imprint the thoughts therein into the theses. When we turned in our papers, careful reviewers assiduously check our citations. If we have invented a source, instead of relying on the actual source, we must begin again. A few of us imagine that we have no influences, but can write a new novel from whole cloth. In fact, though, there is nothing new in our library; the books come and go, but the souls largely remain the same. All we can do is map our findings. If we can leave behind our anxiety and ego, perhaps we can finish the paper, and move on to something else.

I have so much to do lately that I am not getting the many things into the mail that I wish to get. One of my recipients sent me the nicest note today, though. That really picked me up. I do not know anything about libraries--or souls--but I know that, like my dogs, I don't mind a little pat now and then.

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