Thursday, May 20, 2010

Older, No Wiser, and Feeling Fine


Today is my birthday. I will work, of course. I arrived at two-thirty on a sweltering afternoon, and have been sweating ever since. The riddle, if there is one, remains unsolved. If there isn’t a riddle, then that’s a riddle in itself, and something that must be pursued to an illogical conclusion. I might also do some dusting here in my parlor and workspace, which means looking at old pictures and opening and closing a lot of books. It’s important to verify that the type is still there, and, if it is, to see if it has rewritten itself into a strange new language. If the type isn’t there, I’ll look for it in other books. Because the truth is, we don’t know everything there is to know about the lives of books. For instance, I’ve suspected for quite some time that books also read people, and that pages remember sighs and fingertips. Ink is blood — we know that already; but it’s also brain marrow — as are images and letters in the form of pixels. The disease, fortunately, has no cure. I’m thankful for that.


Update:
In the Forum: bassoon overtones.

26 comments:

RUDHI - Chance said...

Congratulations to your riddle-day, William! And wish you good luck, that the books and muses will always be generous to your wings between your ears...

Gigi Little said...

lovely! that's all i can say. oh, and happy birthday. but... pages remember sighs and fingertips. wow...

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Rudhi, and thanks for being part of the riddle!

Gigi, from one book lover to another, thank you.

Dwight said...

Your post reminds me of the quote from Zbigniew Herbert:
"Someone very rightly said that not only do we read Homer, look at frescoes of Giotto, listen to Mozart, but Homer, Giotto and Mozart steal looks at us, eavesdrop on us and ascertain our vanity and stupidity."

Here's to many more years of books reading you.

Crissant said...

Congratulations!!!
The best sensation a person could have in a day as today is to feel productive and useful.
Health and love.

P.D: Today is my mom`s birthday too! :)

William Michaelian said...

Dwight, I can’t think of a better wish, even though my vanity and stupidity has long since been revealed. And yet I keep buying books....

Thanks for your good wishes, Crissant. I like the way you think. And it’s your mom’s birthday? Wonderful — the celebration is that much better. Tell her that a hairy nut in Oregon sends her his regards. She’ll think we’re both crazy!

Janice said...

William at least you were thoughtful to your parents and you entered this world at 2:30pm not 2:30am :)

Dusty books and old photos is a wonderful way to sit back and celebrate your birthday...after all three of your greatest loves are your family, writing and books, so celebrate with all of them.

I would like to print, with your permission, this post and keep it in my library. Your discription of books rewriting themselves and remembering "sighs and fingertips" is beautiful...Happy Birthday William :)

William Michaelian said...

Janice, your comment is one more birthday present. I would be honored if you printed this entry. And you have no idea how many times I’ve bumped this stack of new/old encyclopedias here on my desk the past few days. Turn on a lamp, bump. Reach for a pen, bump.... And yet, I have the urge to go out and look for books this afternoon.... Thanks for your birthday wishes!

Old 333 said...

Happy B-day, William. Your post made me think of the Philip Dick story in which certain volumes of philosophy, decoratively bound in the strangely immortal fur of the Martian wub (a pig-like being of great wisdom and delicate taste), begin to subtly transform their own text so as to reflect the gentle wub's honestly acquired knowledge of life everlasting.

Anyway, many happy returns, and carriages.

PeterG

William Michaelian said...

Gratefully received from this shiftless character. I’ve yet to read Philip Kindred Dick, but will make it there eventually. Our mutual friend J.B. has, though, and is an admirer of his. An inspiring scene you describe.

nouvelles couleurs - vienna atelier said...

William, you are really right and you say the true,
book are alaive, are living and not just one live but a lot of live, and hier we can explaining why we take care of book... it is clear and simple, because book are alive

I came in reatard but... nice birthday William from my heart

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Laura, and no, you’re not late, your good thoughts and wishes are always on time. And I love what you say about books.

Woman in a Window said...

May you remain incurable. Many warm wishes, William. Enjoy it all slowly, as though you pivot around the earth itself, the answer to that riddle the tight axis which we all spin upon.

xo
erin

~im just only me~ said...

lol darn it! I was totally going to wish you a happy birthday at midnight, but fell asleep! I may be getting old, but it can't be that bad from what I can tell through you :P Hope today is really wonderful :)

William Michaelian said...

Beautiful, Erin. You sound pretty incurable yourself....

Ha! Cassie fell asleep before midnight — nyah, nyah. There’s no turning back for you now. You might as well start whittling your cane. Strange how your barbs never really hurt. God, what a riot you are. You just might cheer me up yet!

Joseph Hutchison said...

Happy Birthday, amigo! One riddle to another....

William Michaelian said...

Puzzle-peace, my friend!

Anthony Duce said...

Of all the days to be spending like other days, you have written well of this one. Another very successful day in the life. Congratulations...

William Michaelian said...

Anthony, it really has been a great day; and to me, that you see it as successful, means that it is. Thanks.

vazambam said...

Happy Birthday Mister Older, No Wiser and Writing Fine!

awyn said...

Am I too late to wish you a (belated) happy b-day as well?
Bonne Fete William, many happinesses.

William Michaelian said...

Annie, it’s never too late to be late. Or are you just early for next year? Either way, thanks!

Vassilis, thank you too. My name sounds almost like a Charles Dickens character.

Momo Luna said...

I'm also a bit late, but i send you all my warmest birthday greetings dear William. May lots of these happy days come along, feeling fine, dusting, looking at old photo's and writing your delicious thoughts and dreams.

A taurus as well i should have known. I'm also a taurus. :-) The 20th of may is also the birthday of my love and life companion.

Sweet greetz for you, and i'm also thankful......

William Michaelian said...

Another good coincidence, Momo Luna, these overlapping birthdays of ours. Yes, here I am with my books and dreams, and they too are overlapping.... Best wishes to you and yours.

Gary B. Fitzgerald said...

.

Happy (belated) birthday, my friend.

(Sorry I'm late, but I don't get out electronically too much anymore).

T/G cusp, I see. I'm a G/C cusp. This similarity explains a lot.

William Michaelian said...

Thanks, Gary. Maybe it does. It also sounds like we don’t know whether we’re coming or going....