I bought a rice cooker. Other than little stuff like pens and soap, it’s the first thing I’ve paid full price for. It feels ok. I just spent $20 paying Target and Oster® to produce this heap of plastic and metal just for me, after spending $3.99 on a thrift store toaster, $4.99 on a used coffee maker, and $2.99 on a fancy black vest, but whatever. It cooks delicious rice.
Leigh called and told me that her restaurant was throwing a bunch of stuff away, so I zoomed to the dumpsters out back and picked up tons and tons of boxes of plates and bowls and pots and pans and knives and cups.
The creative sanctuary is progressing. I cover one wall with paint samples (thank you to Grace for that idea). I nail sheets of cardboard to the other walls to make the entire room a bulletin board for pictures and printouts and poems. I have incense and candles on my windowsill. A couple of plants. A little lamp with warm light, clothes hanging up in the closet, my musical instruments propped against walls. And bookshelves, from the thrift stores…I spend an entire evening setting up my books, arranging them and rearranging them and pulling them out at random to flip through pages. My books bring me a lot of joy. Then I pull out the boxes full of notebooks. I set them up on a shelf above my desk, leather bound journals and composition books and spiral notebooks and scribble-filled legal pads. I’m momentarily shocked at the amount of shelf space they take up. My entire journey is contained in these pages, and there are just stacks and stacks of notebooks. This is what I wanted…to be able to sit at my desk and have them surrounding me. To flip pages open randomly to the Yukon Gazebo, a return to the University of Miami campus after a long hitchhike, the streets of New York and the emotion of Occupy. Or to search notebooks purposefully, to find the words I wrote in the cabin the night before embarking on the very first day of what I had no idea would become a two year journey, to dig out the worst and most hopeless writings, and the most blissful and enlightened moments.
So, slowly the creative sanctuary is coming up around me. One evening I glance through photographs of old rooms that I’ve occupied in past years. The mark of my presence has always been strong, artistically and musically, and rooms have always centered around a good desk. And now I build yet another room; how many will I inhabit throughout my life? What gives a space its energy vibe and feeling, and how does memory tie itself to spaces? Do memory and meaning bond more strongly to spaces or to places, and what is really the difference between the two? I wonder if place is just merely a collection of spaces, of space-based experiences that come together to form a person’s idea and memory of a place. And somehow this notion becomes tied to a certain period of time; our experience of a place is intimately tied to the daily activities we carry out over and over again that at the time can slip by and feel mundane but with the passage of time and distance often ferment into an acute experience of nostalgia when recalled. But how then can I feel nostalgic for “the road,” and what is it that I’m really missing?