FROM MY TROPICAL DECK CHAIR
I have a confession to make. I have never read ‘War and Peace’. I have never read ‘Remembrance of Things Past’. I have never read ‘A Hundred Years of Solitude’. Don’t you think that retirement in Mexico, with its de rigeur daily siesta and the open hole where work has been, now gives us the chance to fill in the gaps on our book list, read the books we never had time to? Who among us has completely read the great books in the canon of world literature?
Not me. And yes, I have the opportunity now. But not the motive. Nietsche said “Is not life a hundred times too short for us to bore ourselves?” I haven’t read Nietsche, either. And I probably won’t. Because I can’t stand to bore myself. I did enough of that when I assumed the various uncomfortable positions one does when one is employed by the man.
The heavy books are a one hundred to one long shot. I will leave that sort of thing to people smarter than I. To see what is on my real reading list, as opposed to my imaginary friend who is a huge intellectual, a product of wishful thinking, and to be better off than I am, I go to my bookshelf.
This thing is six feet tall. Even though Leann just gave it to me last month, it is already crammed to the gill slits. On the top, I have a purple satin sack of Tarot cards, the Native American deck, that I have not learned to use yet. I have a red velvet Valentine’s candybox heart, a prop for my still lifes. There is my pink cowboy hat, and a plain black lamp. The next shelf down contains six vintage Santa Claus Christmas tree ornaments, a set of gouache paints I bought at the gift shop of the art museum on the Santa Fe plaza, and a pewter drinking glass I have carted around with me through studios in towns, cities, and strange situations like the push-me, pull-you tug of war I played out with my last boyfriend, bad Gary.
I see that the books on my shelf divide evenly into categories of murder mystery, action genre CIA/Navy Seals-type adventures, travel writing, writers who write about writing, self-help, chick lit, literary lit, and art books. Don’t see anything except The Great Gatsby on my shelves that indicate any interest in Great Literature.
Oh well. I have committed the last line of Gatsby to memory. “And so we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” The other 181 pages are there for show and comfort.
Here is a list of my top ten all/time favorite books. 1. Big Sur and The Oranges of Hieronymous Bosch, by Henry Miller. 2. The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment, by Thadeus Golas. 3. Writing Down the Bones, by Natalie Goldberg. 4. Tales of a Female Nomad, by Rita Golden Gelman. 5. Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard. 6. The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. 7. The Diaries of Anais Nin. 8. Meetings with Remarkable Men, by Gurdjieff. 9. Silences, by Tillie Olsen. 10. Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott.
Other than this lifetime list of favorite books, I like beach reads. Think nice thoughts.
website: santafekitchenstudio.com blog: http://outofthearmchair.wordpress.com paintings can be seen in Puerto Vallarta at Galeria International on Morelos and in the Marina.