Before 2010 arrives I'm cleaning up my computer.
Over the year I placed 3000 photos on my hard drive. This penchant for taking an excessive number of photos coincided with my purchase of a small digital camera—-a camera small enough to carry into museums, a camera that hung around my neck, but didn't cause a neck strain, a camera that encouraged me to take hundreds of photos of paintings.
Technology changed the way I decided what I wanted to shoot. Did I ever contemplate taking a photo of every Egyptian mummy in the Museum collection or thirty-four photos of Indonesian beaded aprons with a film camera? No. I showed some discernment. Now I'm a free spirit.
And how can I delete multiple photos of an apron? Some of the angles highlight colors; other photos inspire meditations on patterns. What to keep and what to leave, omit, discard, expunge? What to designate as fodder for the trash basket?
Before 2010 arrives I want to create a list of ten. Essayists, writers, musicians, comedians, and ubiquitous commentators proffer opinions on the previous decade or the past year. Soothsayers offer their opinions. The economy will recover, dip precipitously; the ebook will finally drown the printed book, the printed book will gain ascendancy; the Democrats will be the victims of their folly, the Democrats will gain even more seats; in the Antarctic high rise luxury hotels will replace the "Himalayan Hotel" due to climate change, the low recorded temperature exceeds the previous low temperature of —129 degrees Fahrenheit. Opinions will differ from the best way to dye Alpaca fleece— the use of Kool- aid or acid solutions —to directions for creating a zig-zag part in your hair. I foresee an abundance of essays, Op Ed pieces and podcasts.
Simply be like a Coney Island Polar Bear Club Member and take the plunge. Create a list of ten. Ten what? — Ten happenings, some personal, some universal. Do I list them in an order? Do I go first to tenth to first? Or are they all of equal importance?
The absolute joy of reading. I take notes when I read, engage in the act of marginalia, and often copy down lines from the book. Ten favorite books read in 2009.
Dry Storeoom No 1: The Secret Life of the Natural History Museum by Richard Fortey
“All our lives are collections curated through memory.”
The Library at Night by Alberto Manguel
“If the book is second hand, I leave all its markings intact, the spoor of previous readers…”
Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
“Travel far enough, you meet yourself.”
Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese
“We are all fixing what is broken. It is the task of a lifetime. We’ll leave much unfinished for the next generation.”
The Indian Clerk by David Leavitt
“The things that you save—you save them, I suppose, so that when you’re old, you can fondle and caress them and feel the breeze of niostalgia brushing your face.”
Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
“The wind made the weeds gossip.”
The Wild Marsh by Rick Bass
“Spring’s so close it could be nudged in with a feather.”
The Attack by Yasmin Khadra
“…your most beautiful possessions: the chance to profit from every moment of your life.”
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
“It was as though there was a hoard of quiet in that room, as if any silence that ever entered that room stayed in it.”
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
“Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.”
9.• Eating a 1.6 lb lobster at Thurstons in Bernard, ME
8• Hiking —up a mountain or around a pond.
—looking at the person of Obadiah in Amos, ( Hebrew Scriptures).Who or what does Obadiah represent? Obadiah is ambivalent and ambivalence won’t work. This is a universal dilemma—the incapacity to land, to say this I believe.
Walking up to the third floor of Concord Library where three tables are tucked into a small space surrounded by books—setting out my writing implements and writing.
“To teach is to learn twice.” ~Joseph Joubert, Pensées, 1842
Taking courses—from Egypt in the fall to Russian History and literature and the History of Film in the winter.
Chinese Brush Painting— and it always includes a lunch with members of the class.
Doing anything with my partner—from crossword puzzles and coffee and reading in coffee shops to vacations or sitting quietly in the same room comfortable in the silence.
This year I’m thankful to those I know in person and those I’ve met on line who offered to pray for my daughter’s recovery. I know that the eventual scan that revealed no mutant cancer cells in her body was attributed to the vigorous treatment she received—the chemo, radiation, internal and external; but I know that the outcome was also buoyed up and affected by the prayers of people she never knew.
Nan, referred to a prayer net. I like that phrase. There were so many people who prayed for her or sent good thoughts, but I want to thank several people I’ve never met save online: Nan, Cathy, Marsha, Jan—thank you.
I’m posting this now—and going out with friends to welcome the New Year.
A Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you who have stopped by to read Marginalia, I appreciate your visits. My wish for 2010 is for Peace.