Saturday, January 30, 2010

Art in the Afternoon


I was back at Goodwill the day before yesterday, and yes, I did buy a couple of books: a stubby 799-page edition of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, and Masterpieces of American Indian Literature, a 623-page volume edited by Willis G. Rigier. Total investment: $5.98. But joy of books aside, this was one of those trips where I felt the need to handle as many things as I could — unlikely vases, rusted frying pans, baskets, spice racks, candle holders, dishes, cups, battered hats and coats, artificial flowers, angels with harps, waffle irons, salt shakers, stereo speakers — all the while inhaling the pervasive scent of moth balls, which I imagined poised in waiting avalanches behind each exit marked “Alarm will sound.” A little boy was trying hard to decide if he wanted a stuffed blue dinosaur. His father insisted he make up his own mind. But it isn’t easy to make up your mind with so many objects speaking to you at once — voices the father, bless him, didn’t seem to hear. An hour after I was home, I could still smell moth balls. Their medicinal perfume had attached itself to my whiskers, hair, and clothes. I stopped at a mirror. In the late afternoon light, I looked like a painting from the art aisle: dented and framed, $4.99.


Update:
In the Forum: hounded by delivery problems.

5 comments:

RUDHI - Chance said...

Treasure-Hunter by the way...

Anthony Duce said...

Great description of an afternoon. Your words create great images and thoughts that will linger waiting to surface the next time looking through notable books.
Thanks.

William Michaelian said...

Rudhi, that’s right, always searching for the perfect blend of form and function....

Anthony, thanks. It’s amazing just how many stories one is confronted with in a place like this. Each item played at least a small part in someone’s daily life. It’s always my hope that words can do the same.

Conrad DiDiodato said...

You seem a man at peace with yourself, wherever you are. Marveling like the child in the store at even the newness in old things.The voice only you and the child hear.

The final self-portrait is pure 'joy'.

William Michaelian said...

Conrad: wonderful words. Funny, it isn’t hard to imagine myself in miniature, looking out from the jumble of one of those shelves, winking at kids and other susceptible spirits. Or being a statue in the furniture department, and listening to people giggle and wonder where they would put me if they took me home.