Sunday, August 21, 2011


Whenever I'm living in one fantasy I'm dreaming of another. Take now, for example. I live in a bustling, giant house, built from recycled materials by my landlord - who now lives with his family down the street, in the second house he built. When I say he 'built' the house, I don't mean it in the upper-middle class sense of having had some say in designing it and bringing in the master builders. I mean, he built it himself. It's quite awesome. It took seven years.

My Mom said "wow, like a phd."

And I said "yeah, but way more useful. And almost definitely more fulfilling."

Apart from being a great landlord, he also came over the other day and fixed my car for me. I watched, his hands covered in grease and my car spluttering from the cold. And he said, "you know, it's probably a good move to know nothing about cars.."

And I said "what? I'd love to know about cars."

He looked at me, and said "really? well, it's unpleasant, cold work that you should really get someone else to do."

I apologised profusely and he laughed and said he didn't mind.

Aside from this idyllic life I find myself in, quite by mistake as always, I am spending increasing amounts of time day-dreaming of elsewhere. Of me, of my life, transplanted to somewhere where obviously I'd be so much happier.

So, it has been a good touch of perspective to be reading a French novel, where the characters are young and successful and living in Paris and just as miserable as me. I don't know if I should find those sorts of things 'uplifting', but it helps me place things more realistically.

For example, there's probably someone sitting in their little apartment in Paris right now thinking, oh God, I'd be so happy, if only I could live somewhere like New Zealand. Yeah, New Zealand. In a sprawling old semi-castle in a forest. Maybe near a beach. Yeah, on a hill, above a bay. And I want the house to be recycled.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

"My dappled sanatorium"

"During the nineties, Leib's parents lived in Maisons-Alfort, not far from the train station. It was nicer than anywhere they had ever lived, which wasn't saying much.
Leib talked about them constantly. And I mean nonstop.
Oh, but it's not as if he wasn't interested in mine - in my parents, I mean. He was always asking after my father. He just had an inordinate interest in parents, in general. It was one of the first things he wanted to know about people. Their parents. After all, wasn't that where they came from?"
- La meillure part des hommes, Tristan Garcia.

My mother, pictured above examining my brother's school shirt, lives in a kind-of-converted mental institute. She's always professed envy towards the kind of people who have clean, structured house holds and freedom furniture (although I think she imagines these people as neater than they actually are), but I've always loved our homes jovial clutter.

A few years ago, I was walking down the street and happened past my friend Luci's white Toyota - noticing a gorgeous black and white globe in the back seat. "Oh my god Luci, I saw this amazing globe in your car, lucky you!" I announced on our next meeting.

Poor Luci's face went sour, and she shrugged, "well, it was actually your birthday present."

It's been crumbling apart since the day I got it, and Mom and I have a mission to work out some way of making it work. At least as a piece of dysfunctional art. Ideas = welcome.

Mom's cluttered shelves:

Lukas' birthday display: (sweet 16. I think the number of candles is random?)

Wilting plants and a medieval guard:

Twin donkeys and a cactus:

Lukas and a new friend:

My spot by the fire: (contenders include the cats and Lukas)

p.s. Title of this post is a lyrics-quote from Joanna Newsom - Soft as Chalk.