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Friday, November 30, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 918 - 921

918. It was not just Rembrandt and the other Baroque painters like Caravaggio that Rose wrote off as useless in the restaurant setting, all of the works of Andrew Wyeth went into the same brown excremental trash heap also. 

919. Rose's knowledge of art came from a class she took at the local community College, it was titled "Introduction To Art History", and it used the well known text book, "History of Art", by Janson. Rose read her copy of Janson's book from cover to cover, and almost all of the text had been highlighted with yellow marker.

920. Coromo stood next to the table where Rose and the restaurant manager were discussing art, the Janson book was opened to a page on which was a color reproduction of David's "Rape Of The Sabine Women." Rose was saying, "Look at this painting, David knew nothing at all about the Romans and the Sabine Woman except some ideas he may have picked up from reading history texts.

921. David's paintings of ancient Rome are like the movie 'Ben Hur', after a period of time they stop being considered seriously, and become something to laugh at. But consider his picture of the Death of Marat, David knew Marat, he could have trod in the man's blood. Therefore some of his work is painfully truthful, and others just a sad joke.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 914 - 917

  914. The meeting between Rose and the hotel manager took place over dinner in the resort dining room. It was Coromo himself who had the honor of waiting on them, and the pleasure of listening to bits and pieces of their long conversation about everything from what sort of chairs and tables to buy, to why reproductions of neo-classical paintings do not belong on restaurant walls.

915. A great many of the considerations touched on by Rose would never have crossed Coromo's mind. For example, original oil paintings and copies on canvas were ruled out simply because you couldn't wash gravy off of them without damaging the surface.

916. All of Rembrandt's paintings were dismissed out of hand simply because they were brown. "When one puts up a work of art in an interior one is first of all putting up a spot of color,"  said Rose. "One may want a spot of red, provided by Matisse, or a big patch of blue provided by Rothko. Monochrome works have their place also to provide balance, but splashes of brown all over the place never work. 

917. This sort of talk was very upsetting to the hotel manager because he had never in his life imagined that anyone would write off the entire life's work of a great artist, works were worth tens of millions of dollars, paintings any museum would die to have in their permanent collection just because they were all somehow too excremental. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 910 - 913

910. In the morning, like a child getting ready for school, he presented himself to his wife for inspection, and never muttered a word of complaint, as she looked him over, changing a tie, or a belt.  He sold space in containers, but she made it a success with skills he knew existed, but could never for a moment really comprehend.

911. It is men like Mr. VanDusenberg who never dare to get a divorce, dependent on those skills which exist in a realm which to them is only magic, even though it's exercise is infallible.

912. This occupation of Rose's cost her husband around two hundred thousand dollars a year, but he did not mind it at all. Not only that, but he often tried to participate in her projects and could often be seen on a Sunday afternoon reading a copy of 'Better Homes And Gardens'.

913. Since Rose was on the board of the resort, and since she had so much interior design experience, she was asked to redecorate the dining room, with the understanding that if she was successful she would also be give the task of re-decorating all of the time share rooms when the time came. The first step in this process was for her to meet with the dining room manager, whose job it would be to execute all of Roses ideas. 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 906 - 909

906. Then one day the swivel chair Mr. VanDusenberg had been using for twenty years broke into three pieces and he asked his wife to purchase a replacement for him as soon as possible. Rose replaced the chair, but she also talked her husband into the purchase of a new larger more modern desk. 

907. The desk he had been using for the past twenty years had been purchased in a second hand store and was made of oak. It had three drawers on the left, three on the right, and one in the middle. You would be familiar with this sort of desk if you like Film Noir movies. His new desk did not have any drawers at all. 


908. Then Mr. VanDusenberg had his wife re-decorate his office, and at the same time she re-designed his stationary, his web site, his clothes, and his shoes, and also his hair-cut and even went so far as to begin to explain to him how to pronounce certain words. Soon after this Mr. VanDusenberg saw, to his great amazement, that his income suddenly more than doubled. He had never been to college, but his wife's new found interest in magazines like 'Metropolis', made up the difference.

909. Rose said to Mr. VanDusenberg, "A real-estate agent I know has four cars, she has a Cadillac, a Lincoln, a Mercedes, and a Fiat 500, it is her ability to know which car to take to see a client that is the reason she is such a success. But it is not just the car, it is everything else, right down to the heels. Taste speaks louder than words. The husband could see that his wife was right.

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 902 - 905

902. Once Rose's children were grown and out of the house her husband started buying houses in various desirable locations to serve as vacation homes depending on the season. Each of these houses was a blank slate in which Rose indulged a new found desire to experiment with ever newer and more expensive interiors.

903. She became an avid reader of "Architectural Digest", and "Art And Antiques". She spent her days looking through books of fabric swatches, collecting paint color samples, and talking at length with the sales people in furniture stores.

 904. She purchased so much furniture over a period of two years that the people she dealt with began to assume she was a professional, and so it was a natural step for her to have business cards printed up and get a tax exempt number.  She was her only client, but by offering her services free to her friends and neighbors she soon had an office, employees, a fax machine, a web site, and so many projects that she seldom finished her work day before eleven at night.

905. As is so natural with very rich husbands, Mr. VanDusenberg, began to complain off and on about the steadily increasing costs of his wife's hobby. She pointed out to him that every time they sold one of their investment properties the return was more than he expected. She wanted to take the credit for this, but he was skeptical. To him it was just a matter of the rising market.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 898 - 901

898. Rose did not attempt to answer that unasked question but feeling the need to offer something by way of explanation she said, "It seems that when prints are put up in mental hospitals the staff thinks that pictures by a psychotic who never sold any paintings, cut off his ear and shot himself in the chest is the sort of thing that will inspire the patients to try to do something creative.

899. The reason that Rose had opinions about interior decoration was because that was her profession. It was not that she went to college or had a degree in the field, but just like so many creative occupations it came about by accident.

900. Rose was married to a very rich man who made a living buying and selling space in trans-continental shipping containers. You shouldn't jump to the conclusion that anyone selling space in shipping containers is bound to get rich; Rose's husband could give you the names of several people he knew that lost their shirts and their pants buying and selling empty space; shirts and pants hanging in his closet in a manner or speaking.

901. One of the reasons Rose's husband was so successful at selling empty space is because he had inhaled the skill from his father's cigar smoke when only a child. His father made his living buying and selling abandoned lots in Yonkers, and was still a busy man of business well into his eighties.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 894 - 897

894. "These pictures and these frames are just the sort of thing I see when I visit my Aunt that has dementia in her critical care facility. There is nothing more depressing that this sort of art. And why is it that every single thing in this room is some variation of tan or beige. As for these fine art reproductions, Rembrandt may have been a great painter but who wants to look at his sour self-portrait while trying to enjoy one's vacation in the tropics.

895. "And look at this thing," he said, pointing to one of the manager's favorite Bouguereau prints, "Don't people realize that this sort of art, this kind of smarmy image was out of date fifty years ago. The thing to do is to take all this stuff down and replace it with impressionist paintings, full of color and light. My suggestion would be  to use only the works of Van Gogh.

896. At this point in the meeting the only woman on the board spoke up. "Please God not Van Gogh, if you put up all Van Gogh's the place will look like a psychiatric hospital, that is all you ever see in those places.

897. The woman who made this comment was named Rose VanDusenberg. After she made this comment there was a long silence and in that silence hung the question, 'how do you know about the interior decoration of mental hospitals.'

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 890 - 893

890. In the back of his mind were those strange Bouguereau paintings with their unbelievable accuracy and detail. Those were things he could never do if he had  a hundred years of practice. He could never resolve these questions, there was only one thing to do, set to work on what ever came to mind, with no idea where it would lead him. He made only one decision; paint every single day, paint something even if in the end he smudged it all out later with a rag.

891. While Coromo was working on his new paintings the manager of the food service department received a fax from the owners of the resort somewhere in Nevada, informing him that he should expect  a visit from an interior decorator whose job it would be to redecorate the dining room of the resort. 

892. The visit of the new interior decorator and the restaurant manager was a very painful experience for the manager. Five years previously, when the restaurant had been constructed no thought was given the the furnishings of the dining room and the manager had a free hand in selecting everything. The result was a cross between a retirement home and a funeral parlor. It was not a question of a limited budget, it was simply bad taste.

893. The annual meeting of the principal investors had come and gone, and the result was a consensus that dinner in the resort dining room was an oppressive experience. No one could put their finger on exactly what was wrong, except for one gentleman who blamed it all on the very large fake gold frames around the prints on the walls.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rose VanDusenberg, parts 886 - 889

886. One thing was obvious, whatever the answer to the question was, it was painful for him to even think about it. The muscles of his face tightened like a person about to have a sliver pulled. Aunt Jemima, seeing his distress, changed the subject, she said, "I was going to tell you about what Coromo did about his paintings." Buboni, looking down and did a careful inspection of his fingernails in reply.

887. As I said earlier, Coromo knew he wanted to paint pictures, he just did not have any idea what his pictures were going to be about. There was one thing he was puzzled about. He knew that Tallulia liked his childish pictures done in an overly simplified way, but it seemed to him that this could only be a complete coincidence. The idea that there would be other tourists at the resort who would also be interested in such paintings did not even seem to be a remote possibility to him.

888. He was driven by two conflicting desires; first he very much wanted to simply repeat the experience of selling a group of pictures to some rich tourists, but on the other hand he also wanted to repeat the pleasant sensation of making an image using the mysterious materials of oil paint, canvas and brushes.

889. Another thing bothered him. 'What if' he wondered, 'people actually liked his simplified childish pictures because they were simple and childish'. This thought gave him mixed emotions because he could see that if he was correct about this, it would be very easy to make money, but on the other hand there was something inherently insulting about it. He was an adult, he didn't want to be appreciated for childishness.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Buboni In Love, parts 882 - 885

Images 882 - 885 by R Britell
882. By the time he finished with these personal remembrances from his childhood love life he was talking to all of us rather than just to Aunt Jemima. He was nervous that he had said too much, and seemed to retract into himself as he finished, as if he wanted to avoid any questions. 

883. "Have you ever been married Buboni?" asked Aunt Jemima. What sort of a question was this? Was it a question driven by a desire to know Buboni more intimately, was it a question that signaled that Jemima reciprocated his new found interest in her?

884. Or was it a clinical question, like one of a series of questions a doctor will ask examining a person in the emergency room of a hospital, answers to be added to a list of other replies the sum total of which will be used to draw some conclusion.

885. Buboni knew the answer to the question, but he did not have any idea why the question had been asked of him. To Buboni the answer was irrelevant, but the reason for the question was, to him, very important. He began to answer, but found himself at a lost for words, and so said nothing.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Buboni In Love, parts 878 - 881

878. Apparently, when I was seven I saw one of her films by accident . Perhaps it was showing along with one of the westerns I would go to see back then. I can remember that there were two feature films showing together, and because of the Jane Russell film I sat through both movies twice.

879. I soon forgot all about those movies, but several weeks later I had a vivid dream about Ms. Russell. I can’t remember any details of that dream except that we were in love and then she rejected me for someone else.

880. For many days, even weeks after that dream I was terribly depressed. It was exactly as if it had actually happened, as if it was my own real life experience. This so upset me that I actually began to argue with, and ridicule myself. “Albert,” I would say, in a tone of indignant reproach, “You’re only seven years old and she has got to be at least twenty. Besides you’ve never even met her, never ever really seen her.

 881. I mean you’ve seen her image but that’s just some dots of ink on some paper in a magazine. It would be one thing to fall in love with a movie star, very understandable to suffer the pangs of unrequited love in that situation. But to suffer from rejection? Well, this is just idiotic!” But I discovered at an early age that no amount of verbal logic or reasoning has any power over one’s emotional life. It just roars along under its own steam, and you just wait until it is over.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Buboni In Love, parts 874 - 877

874.  In desperation I resorted to rope. I tied several two-by-fours to the branches of the tree with the rope, and then, standing on a chair, I jumped upon them like mounting a startled horse by surprise. The various branches of the sumac tree all broke at once and everything ended up on the ground. I had murdered the sumac tree even though I had not meant it any harm. I was just like Lenny, in Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men”.

875. My crime did not go unnoticed. My mother confronted me and asked, "Albert, why did you destroy the sumac tree?” I explained, “I was trying to build a tree fort.” “But why would you try to build a tree fort in a sumac tree?” This second question she said more to herself than to me and did not expect me to answer. To me, it sounded more like, “Albert, why are you such a stupid little boy?” I couldn’t even face her apron but stared down at my shoes, the laces I still had not learned to tie.

876. Late in the afternoon I occupied myself with throwing stones at the mortuary wall until, as luck would have it, I broke their only window. After that I went inside, told my mother about it and said I would be in my room until the police came to take me away.

877. Just a few years after my love affair with Cynthia I fell in love with Jane Russell.  This was a love both tragic, and confusing for me. It was especially confusing as I was a child at the time and I had absolutely no idea that I had fallen in love with her. It came about unconsciously, just like an illness with an incubation period.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Buboni In Love, parts 870 - 873

870. When I recall that dream I still can feel that delicious feeling of being in love with someone who I really do not yet know – set apart in some wild and strange place. We were like shipwrecked survivors on a deserted tropical island, for whom courtship, inquiry, fascination and consummation take place without the least possibility of interruption or competition and where even memory and fantasy are silent.

871. The very next morning I set about building a tree fort, with the restricted means of a five year old. Our backyard however presented a dismal prospect: a piece of dirt perhaps thirty feet square with a few strands of crab grass here and there. It was bordered with cinder block walls on three sides. One of these walls was the back part of a funeral parlor which had one window, its curtain always closed. Another wall was the back of an establishment that rented tuxedos.

 872. In the corner of this yard grew a lone sumac tree about seven feet tall with spindly branches and those long leaves that look like the remaining unkempt hair of some balding old man like myself.

873. I spent a long time trying to nail a two-by-four into a branch in that sumac tree but with no success. I remember being stupefied by the problem of how to hold the hammer, the nail and the wood up in the air all at once and still, be able to strike with the hammer. Each time I would try the nails would fly off into the dirt of the yard someplace and I would have to hunt around for them.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Buboni In Love, parts 866 - 869

866. Hearing the question he did not answer me directly, instead he look up at Aunt Jemima and said, "There has never been a time in my life that I have not been deeply in love.  It is, I suppose, part and parcel of an artistic temperament. Some of my earliest memories are of being in love, and of suffering over it beginning when I was five years old.

867. I was in love with a blond girl named Cynthia. Blond is the best description I can give you because I never saw her close up. She sat in a seat the farthest from me, diagonally across the room in kindergarten.

868. Once, at a great distance, I followed her home, but not all the way to her door. After getting several blocks away from my usual path home I began to feel a rising panic and gave it up, but I was only five.

869. That same night I had a vivid dream about my new love. I dreamt that we were married and that we lived in a tree fort in the back yard of my house. When I awoke it was with a distinctly absurd feeling of stupidity and I wondered to myself, “How could I think that people could be married and live in a tree fort?” I felt that the dream indicated a certain level of stupidity on my part. But the blissful feeling of contented marital bliss, as I now know it is called, would not leave me. 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 862 - 865

862. Here was this argument again between the Duck and Buboni about aspects of art that I knew nothing about. Was it true that someone had actually paid 40 million dollars for an oil painting once? I hardly believed it but perhaps it was so. And if they had, how could you explain it in a way that an ordinary person like myself could make sense out of it. Ten thousand perhaps but 40 million? I thought it was just an example of Buboni's exaggerations.

863. But speaking of  Buboni, I continued to wonder if I was correct about his being attracted to Aunt Jemima and I watched for any indication that would confirm my suspicions.

864. You will remember all of the things we discovered about him when we looked him up on Google, about his academic history and the denouement of his career. We knew about his childhood and his color acuity and how he 'by accident' started to be interested in art history. But we knew nothing about the man's emotional life. Did he even have a wife, for instance? Was he divorced? 

865. Was he the victim of a torrid love affair, and was he suffering through those many many years that it takes one to get over a deep all consuming love? His ugly visage did not indicate that possibility, but one never knows. Wondering about him in this way I blurted out an inappropriate question. "Tell me Buboni?" I said "Have you ever been in love?"

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 858 - 861

 858. It was a big retrospective of the works of Cezanne. Cezanne, being one of the foremost pioneers of modern art, I expected big crowds and a long line to get in, but it was the usual thing, fifteen or twenty elderly couples with white hair in each of the rooms of the exhibit. 

859. I went to a baseball game, there were ten thousand people in the stands screaming so loud I had a ringing in my ears for a week, and my poor little Duck body was almost crushed to death in the rush to get into the stadium. People are interested in baseball, people and people are interested in cinema. People in general are not interested in art in any way. There behaviors make this abundantly clear. Art exhibits are social affairs where the rich go to visit with each other, they are not about art.

860. "Social affairs you think, Mr. Duck?", said Buboni. "Are you saying that all of the billions of dollars that have been spent on new museums for modern art in the world, and all of the trillions of dollars that has been spent by collectors driving up the prices of modern works to unprecedented levels are simply the expression of a social phenomena, to be studied not as a part of art history, but studied as a branch of sociology. 

861. "I am not going to get into that argument with you today said the Duck, and besides I know you have read Veblen's book 'The Theory Of The Leisure Class.' That book was written in 1899 but it is still the best and only explanation for why someone would pay 40 million dollars for an object consisting of a piece of cloth with paint smeared on one side of it, which is all that on oil painting is in actuality." 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 854 - 857

854. But I did not find out the answer to that question because the Duck started to talk about the idea Buboni had just brought up. "Buboni says," he began, "that the artist is free to do what ever he would like to do in this day and age, and he has to bow and scrape to no Pope or Emperor. This is thought of as an advantage.

855. At this point in art history we often hear things like the artist is 'unfettered', he is encouraged to break the bonds of academic thinking and training and to 'experiment'. But is this really such a wonderful thing.

856. The truth is that the artist only has such complete freedom, because hardly anyone cares what the artist is doing. The artist's friends and relations all say wonderful things about everything the artist does, but it is really meaningless perfunctory encouragement out of politeness. The terrible truth is, most people just don't care what artists are doing.

857. You may chose to disagree with me, and you may point out that our museums are overflowing now with visitors, and there is more traffic to shows than ever before. But I see it differently. The last time I was in a museum was six months ago, before I became involved with Richard and Buboni.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 850 - 853

850. Buboni listened to Jemima with great interest and with each word began to squirm and twitch with all the thoughts swimming in his mind. Twice as she spoke he started to interrupt her, but held back trying to force himself for once to be polite, but when she finished a sentence he jumped in excitedly.

851. "This this..., is just exactly the crux of the problem of the modern artist," he said. "Don't you see, nobody is asking Coromo to paint pictures and nobody cares what he paints. He has to come up with the ideas all by himself, and on top of that, he has to provide the motivation." Here Buboni paused, and waited for Aunt Jemima to reply.

852. I want to take just a second and say something about this pause in Buboni's speech. By now you know what our Buboni is like, he has no respect for any one's opinions and will only listen to the Duck because the Duck is so intelligent, but here he was showing a subtitle deference to Aunt Jemima, and actually waiting patiently to see what she would have to say in reply. 

853. Yes, it was one of those unmistakable moments when you realize that one person is attracted to another person, and your eye flashes across the space between their eyes in order to ascertain if that attraction is reciprocated. I thought to myself, 'Buboni likes this Aunt Jemima', but I couldn't tell if she liked him, or was oblivious to his behavior.   

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 846 - 849

846. "But", the Duck continued, "I think it is you Aunt Jemima, that is embroidering your stories with pieces of fiction you have read in order to make the narration more interesting for your listeners. Perhaps long ago you happened to read Boccaccio's Decameron and so you added to your story of Coromo and the youngest sister the detail of his being very religious, in order to drag out that time in the woods when he was so full of desire."

847. "The difference is Mr. Duck", said Aunt Jemima, "I know Coromo and so I know he was very religious, but you did not know Marie Antoinette, so there.  Coromo's religious convictions had an interesting effect on his development as an artist as a matter of fact." "How so?" asked Buboni, always one to want to hear the details of some artists career. 

848. "Coromo had the idea to do paintings in his spare time and then try to find a way to have them get seen at the resort where he worked," said Aunt Jemima. "His biggest problem was always what to use for subject matter. He knew he wanted to paint pictures, he just did not know what those pictures should be about.

849. He finished six pictures, all of which were attempts to imitate children's pictures, as you know, but after he sold those paintings to Tallulah he had no reason to imitate children's pictures anymore. But if he was going to paint pictures, what sort of pictures should he paint, he wondered."

Monday, November 12, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 842 - 845

842. Do you notice the similarity of Coromo beginning to paint and Netochka beginning to sing.  Coromo was not interested in painting pictures at first, he came about it by accident because he was trying to emulate children's pictures to entertain his woman friends. So in both cases you see, people became involved in their art completely by accident.

843. The similarity in those stories makes me suspect that the Duck has invented the story of Netochka. He is transforming the details in my story about Coromo, changed it to fit a different circumstance, and trotted it out as some piece of discovered history only he can have knowledge of because of some Duck hocus pocus. But I have always thought it is very important to make a distinction between historical truth, and fiction made up by Ducks carried away by their own eloquence.

844. "Duck hocus pocus?" quacked the duck. "What are you talking about?" "I did not make up any story about Netochka, the story I told you was directly from the music tutor who heard it from his father the viola player and transcriber of Vivaldi's manuscripts. I told you what I heard, I never make anything up, and as far as Netochka being similar to Coromo, it is an interesting observation, but it is only a coincidence.

845. As a matter of fact although I have a fantastic memory and the ability to weave those memories into stories intended to explain certain ideas, I have no ability to invent anything because I have no imagination. My head is so full of the images of all the things I know actually happened there is no room for fairy tales and fiction, I have no use for fiction anyway. 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 838 - 841

838. When is a gum wrapper sticking momentarily to a lamppost the most interesting thing you ever saw, something you promise yourself you will remember till your dying day?  It is that time you walked across a parking lot just after some doctor in a lab coat told you you are not going to die after all. "No' the doctor said, 'you are going to live, going to live for ever."

839. To say that ones life had no meaning, and was a waste of time is treason against the self. One has to rise up against a thought like that and..., Just then, Aunt Jemima noticed me and said, "Richard what is going on in that head of yours, you look like you are going to blow a fuse, are you all right." Apparently she could see painted on my face all the disturbed things that were going on in my head.

840. Her question made me feel self conscious and I could not start talking about what was on my mind at that moment so to change the subject I asked Aunt Jemima what she thought of the Duck's stories about Marie Antoinette, and the tutor's story about Vivaldi.

841. "I have no idea where this Duck gets his information", said Jemima, " I don't doubt that he knows what he is talking about. One thing stands out for me however, and it is the detail about Netochka becoming an opera singer by accident. When Netochka first starts to sing with passion and conviction it is just to entertain her friends, and not because she is interested in the music she is singing."

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 834 - 837

834. Frost on a winter window matters just as much as all the works of Shakespeare, and a shoe by the side of the road, driven over and crushed by traffic and soaked with rain water is just as worthy to be in a glass vitrine in the Louvre as the paintings of either Da Vinci or Van Gogh.

835. I suppose the Duck would say: Let us stop Marie Antoinette's cart in which she is being taken to the guillotine, have her step down and you, whomever you may be, shall get in in her place. Now it is you that is on the way to your death which will occur in fifteen minutes depending on the traffic.

836. Wouldn't you want that tumbrel to go slowly, or perhaps stop all together for as long as possible, and can't you see that a bee buzzing around near your ear is just as interesting as anything you have ever heard. In this situation it is obvious that the old wet shoe in the road is as interesting as any object in a museum you have paid money to stand in front of.

837. You may get down from Marie's cart now, and she will get back in, and with a sigh of relief go back to thinking that some sights and some sounds are more worthy of your attention than others. But you will be deceiving yourself, because the fact is, you are in that cart, and you will never get out of it, accept it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 830 - 833

830. So I began to take classes at the museum, that was my new purpose once I retired, but it was always with a nagging feeling that casting things into plaster had to also be entirely pointless, if indeed all the years leading up to the making of those casts was pointless. How many times did I sit back and look at the things I worked on, and in my mind would arise this image of the sun exploding, and a huge wall of flame coming to consume the earth and everything in it.

831. All my little plaster casts of hands and feet, and the big casts I had made and stored out in the garage where my wife could not see them, burnt to cinders, burnt to less than cinders, burnt to a vapor, along with all the great masterpieces of history, all the special museum collections. Even that old shoe box full of unusual stamps some old man has collected from World War I, at the back of the shelf in a closet where thieves will never find it, burnt to a crisp, destroyed for ever.

832. Those were the images passing through my mind, images all of which agreed with Buboni and his notion that a life could indeed be one long meaningless decent into nothingness. For him it was really worse than that, in that he had built up a career for himself, only to see it all disappear before his eyes in an instant and be replaced by humiliation.

833. But the Duck had to be right in the end, because it was an all or nothing equation, either everything matters for all time, or nothing matters, how can it be both and neither. One is faced in the end with a simple fact, some day none of this will exist, and so everything matters, or nothing matters, since that is so, the Duck thinks that an ant crawling across the edge of a table is just as important as Einstein's theories.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Camus Crosses The Street, parts 826 - 829

826. And what did Dostoevsky and Marie Antoinette have in common? Everything, everything that mattered. Because both of them were placed in a cart, and driven by others through crowds to their execution. Marie to be executed, and Dostoevsky to be pardoned at the last moment.

827. "Now Buboni", concluded the Duck, "are you really going to suggest that those fifteen minutes in the cart had no significance? The simple truth is that every segment of  fifteen minutes in a life is either equally significant, or on the other hand equally pointless. Take your choice, and as a Duck I chose the former, and you as a worn out old frustrated professor, will probably chose the latter."

828. But what of me, I thought to myself. How many times did I look up at the back wall of the post office and note the time, fifteen minutes more till the morning break, or thirty minutes more till lunch. How many times did I mark on a scrap of paper a line to represent a minute gone by on the way to five o'clock. My life was exactly like that famous poem with the line, "I measure out my life with coffee spoons."

829. And in the same way that I marked time each day in intervals of five minutes, so also I marked out the years to pass until my retirement, my retirement when I could turn my attention to all those things that really mattered to me, the only problem being that nothing really mattered to me. It was just wishful thinking. I suppose I felt that once I reached the magic age of 65 some purpose for life would pop up as if out of the ground, and I would turn my attention to it.