Saturday, March 14, 2009

Excavating My Own Mind

Straightening up my place on a Saturday morning, I come across a bookmark, stuck in between pages 100 and 101 of Paul Bowles' book A Sheltering Sky.

I read over the two pages. What had grabbed me? I wasn't sure. Maybe it was the description of Port Moresby as a man who was unable to break out of the cage into which he had shut himself, the cage he had built long ago to save himself from love.

Reading on, I think, "No, it must have been this passage."

"I think we're both afraid of the same thing. And for the same reason. We've never managed, either one of us, to get all the way into life. We're hanging on to the outside for all we're worth, convinced we're going to fall off at the next bump."

Perplexed, I stared at the two passages. I thought about the life skills I'd instinctively learned early on, as a white kid growing up between the Hole and the Burg, and about how I'd learned invisibility but it had been a faulty skill dependent on the goodwill and mood of the viewer. Were these skills somehow at play in my adult life, in my ability to seamlessly hover around cultures but never be truly in them, I wondered.

Or maybe I just put the bookmark in at random.

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