Doug Bruns

What the Hell?

In Books, Reading, Travel on June 22, 2012 at 6:00 am

Another repost, as I’m traveling. This one from summer, 2006. (My god, I’ve been doing this a long time…)

Paris, Under the Tower, D. Bruns

When I die does this blog die with me? Or, rather, does a bit of it, like a clipped toe nail forgotten on the tile floor, remain indefinitely until someone comes along and cleans it up? “Yep, he’s good and gone. Better clean this mess.” I was in Paris only five days and am wading into such depths. Philosophy is in the water there–that is, at least, what they might have you think, as they might think stupid is in American water.
        By “What the hell?” I mean: what the hell have I been doing since February when I last posted to this sorry excuse for a blog. As I said, I’ve been to Paris, also Maine, where I fulfilled a life-long dream to get a little place on the coast, at least until the ice cap melts it gone under, which might be any damn hour. It was E.B. White that set me on this path years ago, writing: “Once in everyone’s life there is apt to be a period when he is fully awake, instead of half asleep. I think of those five years in Maine as the time when this happened to me.”
        Reading too, since I last posted–figuring first I am a reader, then everything else–and getting hooked on a Penguin Editor’s list of Modern Classics, being a big fan of lists and an advocate of self-improvement. [In 2006 I was naive enough to believe that literature could accomplish such a thing–ed.] Twenty books total, only four of which I’d read previously: Heart of Darkness (Conrad), Love in the Time of Cholera (Marquez), A Portrait of…Young Man (Joyce), Women in Love (Lawrence)

        I’ve also knocked off Dellio’s White Noise, which though wonderful and brilliant, seems debatably great, but time will tell. And current?– to the west coast and back again: On the Road, with Jack Kerouac. Also filling the hours at Allie’s graduation with Roth’s new novel, Everyman. Thank god for college book stores open on graduation day.

Also, since February, grinding through 100 Gentlemen of Baltimore, the book project I have set upon, a collection of 100 portraits and interviews with men living on the streets of Baltimore–where it is estimated the homeless population is between 3000 and 5000–a project which keeps a camera at my side and sharpens the tools of this Bodhisattva wanna-be.

And next? Next is this afternoon, sitting quietly with books at my elbow and faithful Maggie snoring as her sun-ray shifts, and working hard to remember that next is now.

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