Monday, October 25, 2004

the book store

here i am again in the book store. i applied to work here the other day but i don't expect to hear back from them about that for a while. i like this place a lot more on mondays and tuesdays, because it's not so crowded. at times you find yourself wondering, when you're in a borders on a monday, whether all the other people who are in there reading books are employed or not, or whether they just have the day off or something. and you also wonder about the types of people, myself included, who choose to spend their days off, or their unemployed days, in a bookstore. i do notice that it's a slightly more scholarly-looking crowd, who i see in borders on mondays and tuesdays. i never know what i must look like to the other folks around; some days i show up looking like a bookworm, like the way i imagine Caliway must look, and then there's other times when i look much more bohemian, much more gypsy-ish, and i imagine that i appear to people as one of my other semi-professional titles. it's funny how differently people look at me, and respond to me, from day to day, depending on what, or who, i look like. sometimes i just can't tell, and i don't think anyone else can either, what i appear to be. sometimes i just don't try. other times i try too hard and wind up with people thinking they're talking to someone completelly not myself. i often am unrecognized, by people who thought they were talking to me the day before. and here i am blowing my cover, if there was any cover to be blown, about the whole thing. it is sort of a constant interest, and a constant mystery, to me, which i come upon or which catches up on me often; the question of names and identities. i never wanted, in the beginning, to be anyone but myself, or the one i thought i was when it all began. but people see a person draw and they think they're seeing an artist, and when the person is writing later people go "why is that artist writing? why isn't she doing what she loves to do and what she does best: drawing?" and it becomes all complicated. i turn out to have too many talents for people to believe i have, or for people to have patience in meeting. lots of people seem to encounter me through one or the other of my talents and then think of me that way forever after, and this makes it hard for me to talk truthfully to them about my life because it's never a complete picture of my actual activities. i've had troubles with my reputation since i was little; in fact i still remember in second grade i wanted to actually hide my drawings from people, because it was so annoying to be permanently and universally identified with only one of my traits, and not even the most important one. i keep thinking it wouldn't be this hard if only people were more willing to believe you, when you tried to explain to them about who you are and what you do. another difficulty is that people don't seem to like to read, and people can't avoid seeing visuals. we're very visual, here in this culture, and so people think that i'm a strictly visual creator. it's unfortunate and irritating to be thought of that way and i can always tell when someone thinks of me that way, because they get into this two-dimensional speak-pattern with me and never go into depth about anything, and then they reveal that they don't think of me as a very brainy person, or a very deep-thinking person; and it's all because they don't think of visual artists that way. it's really hilarious how frequently this happens. so now i'm juggling these multiple identites, trying to manufacture masks for myself so that i can be seen for the first time, even if it's in pieces and on different continents. and it's a very strange process and not one for which i know where to possibly find guidance, except in that very strange habit people have, and continue to have, of responding only to the images of people, images which they already have in their imaginations, images with stories already told, lives already lived, loves and events and even a private death, already occurred and over in the imaginations of everyone. always we are walking around in this twilight-world, talking not to people but to visions cast on the rippling cell walls of our own imaginations, responding to and being spoken to by shadow-images, hollow shells without inhabitants or which have been empty for many years, and meanwhile all the people, the actual thinkers and the ones who actually live, the ones whose lives and deaths are actually meaningful; actually change things; lie sleeping far beneath them in a quiet pit; seeing nothing and looking nowhere around themselves, quietly letting shadows do the talking, keeping to themselves all the makings of this world, and any other.


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