Wednesday, October 6, 2010

card catalog

i believe in the value of other people's things. i use vintage silverware my uncle sent me and i wonder if the people who initially used it cared enough to actually polish it or if they let it tarnish like me, day after day. i live in a building constructed in the 1940s to house actors under contract with the studios. and i look at walls and doorways and the too large cabinets that modern day refrigerators don't fit under and try to imagine who lived here. that creaking floorboard in the tiny hallway. sometimes i will lean back and forth on it and wonder how many toes touched the same spot before it started touching back.
i'm sure most people don't think about these things.

i attribute emotions to books and jewelry and toys. statues and pictures and dishes. globes don't hold emotion, they just showcase possibility and the way we change our documentation of the world as we chip away at it. we find new planets and declare others obsolete and we run our fingers around the grooves of raised countries bordered with water that are dying of thirst.
clothes do not hold emotion. except maybe fur. but that depends on who is wearing it and when.

i spend a good portion of my life curating. one day, when i am an old woman, i envision a card catalog across one wall. in each drawer, a perfectly organized library of memories. cross-referenced and tangible. corresponding photos and small multi-colored dots indicating the vault to which you must descend to reach the highest shelf in the fine art section. if you skim them quickly enough, you will notice small pencil drawings in the corner. a flip book of me, small to large, there to here.


  1. So imaginative, to imagine yourself curated...the little flip book. I had to smile. As I age, I imagine such a card catalog would be helpful. Even now, I look back at my scrapbooks and can barely remember being there. But I have always had difficulty being present. I am miles ahead of myself most days. Sad really...but an unfortunate class I took in childhood that hangs on.

  2. Beautiful. My mom's farmhouse is almost 200 years old and has undergone massive renovations in that time. But there are still original rooms, floors and walls throughout that hold so much history. When I was little, I'd sit on the floor in my room and try to imagine the other children that lived there. What they did, what they played with...

  3. Your post makes me wish you could have seen and stayed in your Grandpa Hobson's parent's house - you would have LOVED it! Great Grandma would get every up morning at 5 a.m. and make breakfast, get the milk from the front porch where it was delivered along with eggs and butter, stand on the old kitchen linoleum floor so worn that there was no more pattern, grabbing something from the cabinets that had the old clasp closures, and making fresh bread. You would walk down the hallway on the carpet runner that was threadbare in the middle from eons of footsteps and hear a different timbre from each board. You could take a bath in the old clawfoot iron bathtub sitting in the huge bathroom that had a toilet and and old standalone sink but a huge cabinet/vanity along one wall. You could sit at Great Grandma's polished wood vanity with the huge beveled mirror and low center holding her gold handled brush and hand mirror, her perfume spray bottle (with the lace covered bulb to squeeze to spray). You could answer the old non-dial black HUGE telephone that had it's own built-in cubbyhold at the end of the hallway. You could get one of her frozen homemade apple pies out of the single top center door deep freeze chest out on the back porch. You could sit in the sunroom (a little room all windows at the back of the house) and have breakfast at the little table there while Great Grandma pulled the ironing board out of the wall and ironed her dresses (she never owned a pair of slacks). You could have played with the toys (all are now seen on Antiques Roadshow) stored in the huge basket in the living room; and there was always candy in the crystal covered candy dish on the coffee table - usually caramels and toffee, but you had to ask permission first. There were always fresh flowers (roses from her garden - her own hybrid!) on the dining room table along with the lace tablecloth and 8 chairs that must have weighed 10 lbs. each! The heating grates along the floor were fancy brass designs that would now be hung as art on a wall. Everything in the living room and dining room was built in for storage and was this dark burnished wood. Each board creaked one time or another - whispering secrets of the former occupants. And let's not forget the awesome swing on the huge front porch - You, my daughter would have loved it and everything inside. Alas, the whole house was razed and is now condominiums--but we have a few pictures and memories I can share. xxoo Mom

  4. the little flip book of you. and that middle picture. I love coming here.

  5. Oh what an image that is- you accumulated through the past! Brilliant. I too am one of those kind of people who loves the story behind the things- they are invested by spirits, patina- but I can't talk about it the way you do!

  6. OH, I love your words, your images... the gifts that you share with us. But, today, most of all, I love your mother's memories.

  7. Again, so lovely.

    I always wonder about the memories I've lost over the years (and still so young). What have we lived through/seen/felt that we will never, ever think about again? I feel like there are worlds there that I will never actually know. That someone else lived in them and now somehow I am here. Now. With invisible memories suspended in an extra dimension with everyone else's. Like they're there, but will never be within our reach.

    I'm glad you don't proofread/rewrite. You have the kind of brain and feeling that's best in raw form. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  8. Touch touch touch touch. Somehow, I will it to pass through those things and into me. What is it? Why? Why you? Why me?

    You take the absolute best pictures. All mood. Important stuff. No shit.



use your kind words.