Friday, January 11, 2008
My mother had three ideas for edifying activities for me and my sister as children -- the zoo (which I hated and actively cried when I had to go), a wildlife preserve where you drove through and fed the animals (again more tears, more pouting) and art museums which I loved. The dead world of art and beauty seemed my style from the beginning. I liked it all -- the traditional, the modern, the downright inane (the kind of thing that makes people say, I could do that! My six year old could do that!) Museums, things of control and quiet, visual libraries. I did wish so many of the works weren't Untitled though. I loved titles even then and loved when the artist gave us a hint as to what he or she was thinking.
I've never had a pet, save for two suicidal clownfish, in my adult life. My friends marvel at this fact and some often make the incorrect assumption that I was not raised around animals. To their surprise, I tell them I can't remember a time when there wasn't some vile biting stinging creature around my parents' house, a couple of dogs, and a cat or two and once even a white bat named Ronnie for reasons that never became clear to me. One of the ironies of my adult life is that I'm surrounded by people who love animals, most more than people, rejoice in their simple, untroubled love. But to me love without trouble would be something else. Still, I'm grateful for those days at the zoo and the strange animals coming up to the car. There's something to be said for not controlling everything! But it's the museums I keep returning to, the way they say something about the past and the future, all perfectly preserved and guarded, lest harm come their way.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Memory is hunger." Ernest Hemmingway
Drinking memoir suggestion: The Kitchen Wars Betty Fussell
Benedictions and Maledictions