Finding the Art in Everything

18 October, 2008


  • I just watched the movie Once, and it was as lovely as everyone said. Its earnestness was captivating. As I watched the Dublin scenery, it made me really excited for the trip to Ireland I'm planning. But then I thought the Dublin in the movie does not exist in the touristy city-centre where I'll likely be. I'd have to live there to find it. I remember seeing that landscape in Belfast--gritty, working-class, hardened. I was drawn to it, but as a foreigner, there was nothing to draw me in. And I just wished something that seemed so real wasn't so off-limits to me.

  • I went to a gargantuan book sale today in Gainesville, and I had to quit buying books when, with a box and a bag, I had more than I could physically carry. And, while I'm excited about my finds, the finding and buying them was a surreal experience. Suffice to say I don't suffer crowds well to begin with, and this place was third-world crowded. The prices were so low and the searching was so aggressive, it felt more like looting than buying. And all at once we were the Yahoos from Swift's Gulliver's Travels. I wondered what the Houyhnhnms would think if they saw us. They'd think the hundreds of book grubbers looked like they were digging useless things from the earth for the sake of greed and competition.

    But these things were books--and classics and textbooks at that! The very things that are supposed to redeem us from the ignorance that begets greed and mindless competition. It was jarring to see this frenetic tableau paired with and created for its opposite, reading and contemplation. While I wanted to flee the debasing of the Books, I thought they're probably just books, and I bought a box full.

  • I've been wondering what to live for. And the weight of "purpose" resembles the weather--English weather. There are days of brilliant sunshine that soak the wild daffodils, where everything is clear and in sharp focus. Then there are some days of continual, relentless rain with the kind of piercing cold that makes you feel bruised from the inside out. But most days are in the middle, dry but overcast--not darkness but greyness.

  • Today I considered whether I could have / would have been friends with Holden Caulfield. And I don't think so. I think people who cite Catcher in the Rye as their favorite book might have missed the point. That child--and I do mean child--lives in a peculiar hell he made for himself.

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