Ah, yes, the blog. I could offer up the profuse apologies, but we all know what happens in life, so I won’t start in on that for wasted paragraphs. Instead, I offer you, for 2015, the ever-changing landscape that is my nightstand. With other missives I’ll assault you with my desk shots, like I’m prone to do with my Instagram followers.
This photo might have been better for a side shot, with warm night lamps on it, but it gets this attention this morning/afternoon for proximity–it’s my right-hand being when I’m in bed to draw from it. The baskets are for the details. I have a bug smasher handy because for the second time in my California existence I’m living with mosquitos (remarkably, the other time was in San Francisco, because my place there was mere blocks from Laguna Honda reservoir and our apartment lacked screens–a problem only on the six hot days of the year. Here? Well, it’s hot almost every day of the year with climate change, so…), not to mention a collection of spiders that looks like it belongs to the manufacturer of Tiffany lampshades or the artisans of cathedral windows. Stained glass is pretty in still life, but when it’s the size of your palm and crawling over your head you tend to recoil. At least, I tend to recoil. I’m an environmentalist until one of the environment looks sinister and threatens me with a treatment for a staff infection…then I fight back in hand-to-hand combat. No chemicals, just a contact sport. Hence, the yellow hand.
Those baskets have other things: portable speakers, eucalyptus lotion (nature’s mosquito repellent, rumor has it), eye cream, face cream, melatonin liquid, lavender essential oil, and an eye mask…my mind often wants to stay awake or wake me up when I desperately need the forty winks, and in the desert my skin is often in need of nourishment. I’m of the feeling that the act of moisturizing is often better than whatever the Oprah or Redbook crowd says it will do for me in the long run; it’s the one time of day when I’m not beating myself up…much like the point of sleep.
And I keep quarters in a jar because…I don’t know why that’s there, but if you want to rob the house you’ll have laundry fodder, I suppose.
The books change, of course. Right now I’m reading Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solomon,” on loan from the local library until their generosity runs out. The other is my Kindle (I always have to mentally auto-correct when I say that…a former mentor called it a Kindred, which might be a better name…depends on the day), loaded for bear with the latest issue of The New Yorker, “Still Writing” by Dani Shapiro, Barack Obama’s devotional (due to deplete on the 31st; what WILL become of my daily spirit then?), and Richard Ford’s “The Sportswriter.” You can see (and I can’t hide) that there’s also a stack of thickly-bound trees under that nightstand, too, and maybe they’ll get their turn; library books from the local library and the one 35 miles that way (*points south, Mexicali-way*), which is mostly crammed with Austen at the moment. I consider it odd that I’m currently getting my humor from Morrison, Austen, and Ford, all of it dry, but is it really all that odd considering I live in the desert? Does the climate concentrate our passions, our art? I guess it depends on how long I sustain these choices.
Morrison was difficult to breach, but she always is; I have a tote bag covered with the titles of banned books and “Song of Solomon” was on it and I picked it up on a dare, only to wade through the first thirty pages in a thick misunderstanding. Then, like a language, her voice knocked through the ice wall in my cultural bias and now I’m reading in perfect comprehension, with flashbacks to my years in Oakland and my childhood visits to cities in Michigan and Ohio. It’s all about the city vs. farm, and then I just want to hang out like a fly on the wall or on Pilate’s bag of bones (spoiler alert: there’s a bag of bones, reader) and listen to these people talk ALL DAY and deep into the night, sister, and then place it back on that nightstand and sleep with a song in my soul. What I didn’t understand for the first thirty pages slows to a crawl because I will not rush eating this novel with my eyes…you will not rush me in this, world, even if I have to throw some dollar bills at the library like a customer and neglect my other material on same surface.