Absolute Vertical

Tender Buttons reminded me of two photos from Andrea Scher's blog. A bookstore arranged by COLOR. Dreamy eye/mind candy!



And the blue green wall....

both bookstore photos: Andrea Scher


I have been known to buy books just for their covers, sometimes just for their titles.
When I was first traveling around the country with each new-born record, Borders was a unique and exciting place. I would do little in-store performances in their cafes, fighting for  air time with the cappucino machines; Ann Arbor, Chicago, Minneapolis, and in return, I would get $75 gift certificates. JOY! I think it was Detroit where I bought "Sunken Red" just for the title. It's still on my list of powerful serendipitous treasures. Of course, my suitcase got ridiculously heavy, and on every day off, I would have to send home boxes of lovelies. Borders is now chapter 11. Those were the days.

My father was a journalist, my mom is a poet, my oldest brother a writer and teacher. Books are sacred in our family. Any time any of us moves, it's the books that are lovingly dusted off and placed first in the new house.


my dad at his thundering typewriter.

John Updike died yesterday. Today in the New York Times, there were a couple excerpts from his writing. His were the first books I remember tasting like candy. I recall sneaking into my parents' bedroom and reading "Couples" when they were at work. It was grown up and sexy, I was smitten.

This is from "Assorted Prose:"

We recently had a carpenter build a few things in our house in the country. It's an old house, leaning away from the wind a little; its floors sag gently, like an old mattress. The carpenter turned his back on our tilting walls and took his vertical from a plumb line and his horizontal from a bubble level, and then went to work by the light of these absolutes. Fitting his planks into place took a lot of those long, irregular oblique cuts with a ripsaw that break an amateur's heart. The bookcase and kitchen counter and cabinet he left behind stand perfectly up-and-down in a cockeyed house. Their rectitude is chastening. For minutes at a stretch, we study them, wondering if perhaps it isn't, after all, the wall that is true and the bookcase that leans. Eventually, we suppose, everything will settle into the comfortable crooked, but it will take years, barring earthquakes, and in the meantime we are annoyed at being made to live with impossible standards.

                              John Updike

I just love the pull of the absolutes of vertical and level in that cockeyed house. I still find an emotional pull in the handmade cherry wood bookshelves my dad, always practical, gave me for Christmas one year.


And the antique plumb line he found for my birthday the year that "Plumb" came out. They are sometimes my absolute. My reminder and comfort when the world is cockeyed. They are also my chastening standards. The nagging call to get back to work.

 Back to the comfortable crooked.




Music in the HOUSE!
    posted 2020-07-15

    posted 2019-07-10

    posted 2019-04-29

I Love the Dentist
    posted 2018-11-06

Balloon Girl
    posted 2018-10-08

West Coast Journal
    posted 2017-10-24

Home Stretch
    posted 2017-06-07

Hashtag Kitchen
    posted 2017-03-09

This very old house
    posted 2016-12-13

The Big Move
    posted 2016-12-01

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