In this town is the only time I ever lived alone for more than a few months -- no roommates, no lovers, nobody crashing on the living room floor. I ate beans and rice and plantains for lunch and for dinner and finished a book every couple of days. I was obsessed with fiction then. There was a traveler's bookswap in the middle of the town, but most of the books were in German or Czech or were the epitome of travel-fiction fodder. I ended up mostly rereading what I had brought.
I read the first nine-tenths of Gao Xingjian's Soul Mountain three times on this island and never finished it; it was too good to close, to read a final chapter, to have wrapped up in any way, to let go. I had nothing else to be attached to but these books and the sunshine and the volatility of the weather. Once a week went by without me saying anything to anyone. I will never forget that week.
I also carried around Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek. I finally began reading it in the last month because I was desperately lonely, and it reminded me of the place I had been before coming to the place I was - physically and otherwise. It reminded me of someone's skin from my past, and it was as good as putting my mouth against that flesh. It was a momentary happiness, and I learned that pushing through that last bit of loss was the only way to experience joy again.
And then I read Julio Cortazar's Hopscotch and felt better - confused but better. You can't take yourself too seriously when you read a book that suggests a non-chronological reading.
Tuesday, June 30, 2009
And the only way to get there without a boat.
at 8:24 AM Posted by traci lynn matlock