Thursday, August 16, 2012

On the Shelf

I finally got a copy of The Collected Writings of Joe Brainard and opening it to any page is like a happy machine for me.  He says everything that comes into his head, he says way too much, he makes drawings of his to-do lists and creepy versions of old Nancy cartoons.  It's naive and easy and makes you want to start copying excerpts from "I Remember":

I remember solid red when you close your eyes to the sun.

I remember the pale green tint of Coca-Cola bottles.

I remember French kissing and figuring out it must have something to do with the tongue since there isn't anything else in the mouth except teeth.
And now I remember how I miss teaching Composition because assigning students to write their own "I Remember" led to the creation a lot of my all-time favorite student work.

Will Oldham has always been one of my favorite enigmatic singer-songwriters even though I once convinced a bunch of friends to go see him with me in Bloomington and he put on one of the most awkward live shows I've ever seen.  Except for Cat Power, which was so much worse.  His new book is pretty much all I want to read right now.  I envy his gypsy lifestyle, friends in every city, no mailing address of his own.  I would have to get rid of a lot of stuff to do that, though, and I would miss my family, and the stuff, too, probably.

This simple article about writing has me making sentences in my head and then playing with them as a new pastime when I am driving around the city in silence or standing in the yard staring at my stacks of firewood.

Months later, I am still returning to this collection of Leanne Shapton's drizzly and intimate watercolors.

1 comment:

Kristina said...

I kind of want a poster print of that illustration. Also, a great article, especially for someone like me who has a great love of words and a great fear of the blank page.