Friday, December 5, 2008

Manhattan

Feeling funny again while travelling on the train lately. 

Having weird dreams.

Last night I was on a train, looking at the scenery. And there were huge scoops out of the ground. Big deep holes. It was scary. Adam told me in my dream that they were for salt mines, or maybe for subway tunnels. I don't remember. Later I dreamed about high schools and zombies and people getting upset at each other as society broke down.

Anxiety.

I would blame my anxiety on my entire world changing this month and next, but everyone at work and home is a bit edgy and having trouble sleeping too, so maybe it's the weather or the stars or something.

hmm.

Travelling into Manhattan in the morning (which I go through to get to South Williamsburg, Brooklyn) is different lately. I approach on an angle on the train, and the train turns, so I get a good north-looking-south view of Manhattan right before we cross the East River. 

Today it looked like we live and work on the top of the world.

The sky was a pure, clean and clear blue. Dotted with full and creamy, clumpy, puffy white white clouds.

It looked like all these tall, pokey buildings were poking up into the sky, into the ceiling of the world. Up into the heavens.

I don't really have any good pictures of Manhattan, strangely. I've been here over three years. This photo though, does do my feelings about it a bit of justice. It captures a bit of the blue and clouds and wonder I feel when I turn certain corners in the city.


I guess I've never been much for photos of people. Most of my photos are of architecture or sky or animals or weird inanimate objects. And when I see Manhattan in my minds eye, it's not about the people. It's about the shapes towering and walking in the sky.

I picked up some more Ursula K LeGuin at the library. God I love libraries. I like to own books too, don't get me wrong. But libraries are free. And text and worlds and love and life being free is so important. I believe strongly that even if you have your own special books at home, they only live by being read. And that there's nothing sadder than shelves full of books who will never be read again. If you have your own books you must read them, or lend them, or pass them on. They shouldn't stay and turn to dust without being read.

So I picked up more Ursula K LeGuin. And she always puts me in a bit of a mood. She brings out the inner shaman, the inner strong woman in me. It's hard to describe, but when I read her fiction, especially her short fiction that is less sci-fi and more pseduo-cultural-anthropological I just get in a bit of a mood.

It's sort of good. And sort of odd. 

I feel poetic. I feel as though it's easier to access my psyche, my inner words are no longer hiding from me. They spring to mind unbidden.

This morning poetry jumped to mind as we turned that corner and I saw Manhattan. Saw the fingers of everyone reaching into the sky. Saw the dreams and hopes and worries and fears and cares embodied by these sky scrapers. Sky reachers. Sky takers.

It's unspeakably strange to go from just moving and breathing and living to looking up at the city and feeling poetry. Being poetry.

It's too hard.

I realized the other day, with a start, that my favorite author is not HPL. I had thought he was for the longest time. Thought he was my author-savior. My permanent fixture. "Favorite Author". And then, with a start, I knew it wasn't him anymore. 

If I had to choose one author whose works I could take to the moon, or a desert island, or wherever it is, it would be her. 

I could live in her works forever.

HPL, though truly awesome in his power to take me to weird and interesting places, will never be able to capture the human soul the way that LeGuin can. 

And that's why she's my favorite. 

I wish I could meet her.

7 comments:

Lady Epiphany said...

This time of year it seems the world of full of a lot of beauty and a lot of pain. Maybe the starkness of the winter amplifies it? It seems to get easier after the solstice.

I haven't read UKL since I was a teenager. Thanks for reminding me of that...

steph said...

you know, I've been having some disturbing and troublesome dreams lately, too. I imagine it's from the anxiety caused by this time of year. to be honest, I sometimes wish we could just do away with the whole holiday fuss altogether. i'm a scrooge!

machinarex said...

One of my favorite memories with my friend Mat Defiler is lying on her bed with her as she read LeGuin out loud to me.

While she's quite a bit darker, have you read Octavia Butler before?

Down with anxiety!

machinarex said...

Oh wait! Who is HPL???

Rose said...

Oh sorry, Howard Phillips Lovecraft. Dreamer, writer, racist unfortunately (but i've always given him a bit of slack because he was writing in the early nineteen hundreds). Best stories are 'The Dreamquest of Unknown Kadath' and 'The Music of Erich Zann'.

Rose said...

And yes. I've tried Octavia Butler. I like her. I've only read a few of her stories. I liked them but they gave me an odd feeling in the back of my throat. I should pick her up again.

And she does feel related to LeGuin's writing. There's a kinship in the feeling of their stories.

cynjon said...

Oh, duh on the HPL...I knew I should know who you meant, but my brain wasn't finding that file!

Butler's work is wonderful...though it does sometimes leave one with an odd feeling. It was a sad day in fiction land when she passed away.