Miguel arrived this afternoon tangled in the weather and a certain amount of anxiety which was extinguished when he learned that his book, The Pea Pickers had arrived. He showed me where, in his library copy of the same book, the bookmark was seated.
Outside, the weather would not be extinguished, Miguel looked through it and said: it’s coming in.
Then he told me about his grandson. He leaned forwards and backwards to tell me about this grandson. He could not stop telling me about his grandson, a curious and fabulous young man who read books and listened to music and lived interstate and was hilarious and divine. And when Miguel visited Sydney they will all eat Korean food and then Italian and then Lebanese and then Indian and then Greek and then Spanish and then African, such is the richness of the hours with the grandson.
When Miguel swung round to tell me of his grandson, his glasses were lamps of joy. When he leaned back to make room in front of the counter for the words that described only his grandson, his glasses were lamps of hilarity. And when he left, out into the rain and the rest of the day, he swung round to say goodbye and his glasses were lamps of everything.
The thing about Hal Porter is that I do not know why I am reading him. I found him by accident and the volume was dull, without a dust cover, neither new nor old. The title, The Tilted Cross was quiet. It did not look at me.
This book came to me within a library that was gifted to me, an enormous and unexpected gift that will take me the rest of my years to discover. The reasons that libraries are put together and the decades it takes to put them together makes each one its own province with an understood currency and an exceptional climate. This library is a monarchy and this book, by Hal Porter, is now my favourite so far. The library is now blended with mine, and after the usual difficulties of integration and acceptance of minorities, is now settled mostly comfortably. It sheds more light, merged light, so different light and it is very beautiful inside it.
Now I am reading this book, The Tilted Cross, which is bizarre and difficult to read and difficult to understand and set in Hobart Town, Tasmania, convict history and ugly.
But what it is about is just the skin. The characters and the places are all just skin. What happens is just skin. What it holds is really it. It is not entertaining and not reassuring, and it is not clear. What it is, I am not clear on either, but it is important to me. I am unable to analyse the book, I am only able to read it.
It is something like a glass jug, held and turned and regarded in every light, upside down and inside out, bottom and handle, lip, glass, base and translucence. Regarded empty and fallen or full and erect. What is it and why.
Photography by Andrey Grinkevich
My friend, who is too full of joy, wrote me a note:
Hi Kerry again. When you choose the glass beads for the bookmark with the bronze clock please make it rich, with a Gothic and Medieval feel to it like when you enter the Medieval Churches in Europe and are confronted by the wonderful stain glass windows that glitter and shimmer as the windows catches the light. May you please revise now already and make 2 bookmarks now and not one, thanks, love Sharon.
Sharon is from Singapore and everything she reads and writes and talks about is full of joy. She comes and goes, spilling books and happiness carelessly and everywhere.