About a mile and a half down the path from my attic rooms, (home since March) is Grey Matter Books, a maze of a used bookstore. I am feeling for threads, listening for the emergence of guiding voices as winter descends upon the aftermath of my final frenzied weeks of graduate studies.
The art section that I thought I was headed for is two rooms deep through multiple corridors of books, but I barely get past the register today. Immediately to the right, I notice the section labeled Ye Olde Books. Why are old books so alluring? I can’t say precisely and won’t bore with a philosophical digression. Immediately adjacent to the beautifully aged tomes, is an entire wall dedicated to books about books: people who collect books, deal in books, write about how to collect books, write about the books themselves and treatises on the medium of the written word.
I wonder how many of those browsing the shelves along side me are plotting to dissect, rearrange, tear and consume their booty as I am. My desire to express from beneath or between the reasoning lines of the conceptual mind has evolved on one front, into a assemblage/collage process at least partly motivated by a wish to be permeated by the timeless and disembodied wisdom that old books seem to represent.
The question is: How to create fertile ground for poetics? To allow chaos its strange jumbled juxtapositions, to set up opportunities to encounter and acknowledge the sensory aha that spins the mind like a dice, (to eventually to land upon some previously unnoticed key). This providence, this synchronicity, this resonance cannot be arranged. It can only be invited, recognized or realized. And so, my work today is to prepare and cultivate fresh ground for an encounter.
I follow a gleaming trail of attractions, orbitals of an aesthetic that is an antidote for the wasteland of vacant commercialism that pollutes most populated landscapes, (in the US at least). When I find The Book of Signs; 493 Symbols Used from Earliest Times, it is as though I have found the grail of this small trip, but next,The Art of Written Forms;Theory and Practice of Calligraphy and then two tattered and obscure titles that will certainly fall under my knife and the hot wax.
So begins the next phase of research.