Wednesday, January 28, 2009

My House by poet Kelly Cherry

First, the hall.

On a wall in a room to the right,
a moon by Magritte hangs from a tree like a leaf.

Birds fly over the pillows.
Sunlight falls downstairs.

The study is small and scrumbled with revisions.
My bedroom is not quite masterful.

All night, and the books on their shelves are leaning
toward one another in search of meaning.


I am thinking of the ways that the writer/reader in me shows itself. Take my purse, for instance, which is stuffed with the books I am reading, my journal with a pen attached (I would never go anywhere without paper and pen), and a copy of the chapter of my novel I am editing, and of course my library card glowing through my wallet...

I have always been like this, sleeping with my journal next to my pillow in case I wake up and need to write something down, or writing in the dark at three a.m. because that's when things start to make sense, become more fluid. One of the things that I find so endearing about my friend Cindy is that she sleeps surrounded by all the books she is reading. So nurturing and cozy. They're right there in the morning when she wakes up.

My friends all know to ignore me if I stop mid-block while walking down the street with them, dragging out my notebook and jotting something down, some ribbon of thought that has just occurred to me that I can't let get away.

In my bedroom, on the floor next to my bed are three books on CD that I'm in the process of listening to: Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult -- I love all her sub-plots and how she gets into her character's heads, The Last Summer (of you and me) by Ann Brashares -- I love the physicality of Alice, how Brashares documents her every movement, and The Guy Not Taken, a book of short stories by Jennifer Weiner that I have listened to over and over again, probably my favorite book of hers, a book I love because of the tenderness and good-heartedness and sweetness and humor and kindness the writer shows towards her characters.

Then there's my stack of spiritual boosks that I live by with Marianne Williamson's red and gold Illuminata on top. That book has saved my ass on many occasions.... And my French workbooks and a stack of class hand-outs. And the mystery book I'm reading. And Sheri Reynolds latest novel The Sweet In-between that I haven't started yet, but loved Firefly Cloak. And The PH Balance Diet that I try to follow, but how can anybody possibly drink ten glasses of water a day?? And keep it up? And then there's the old journals and notebooks that I never got around to putting away.

There's all the little hints that a writerly readerly person inhabits my apartment. The novels in my bookshelves with notes scribbled in the margins. The poetry books left on the bathroom floor. My messy desk. My messy kitchen table. The books next to the front door waiting to be taken back to the library. I cannot imagine a life without the simple pen, lined or unlined paper, laptop, book, and most of all, time devoted....

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