I will blow your house down

Backseat taxidermy at the feed & seed

To inspire bloggers to blog more, WordPress is offering daily topics and invites us to commit to a weekly or daily post. The first topic was to write about three countries you’d like to visit. Day 2, to write about someone who deserves more credit. The topics are optional. I signed up to try to blog weekly rather than daily and hope to be inspired by a topic, for it will force me to consider things differently or to consider different things.

I like the idea of a random topic, but I prefer the randomness of my own finding, the taxidermized wolf in the backseat of someone’s car that triggers the kinds of ideas that may coalesce into a post.

Such as: What do we carry around with us? Is the driver taking this to someone? What will he (it’s a he, right) do with it? Did he kill it himself? Has the wolf been in his backseat for more than a month? Can the driver see it in the rearview mirror and how many times has it caught him by surprise? The backseat of your car is like your subconscious. Is this a metaphor for the nature of inspiration? Procrastination? Regret? Or take the wolf’s point-of-view. Or the driver’s child’s, having to squeeze in against the bristly fur. Maybe the driver, the wolf-killer, is a she, a grandma, a woodsman’s daughter, or a brick-laying pig.

My backseat wolf is paper, family records, undealt with material, unfinished novels and photo albums. I spent New Year’s Day cleaning house, organizing closets and going through boxes of papers that came in November from my mother’s house, which included a fashion magazine I had made with pastels at the age of about 5. I found it odd that magazines always included the price of the clothes. What had that got to do with it?, I had asked. I thought content was content, there because it was pretty and to inspire us, and ads were there, too, but unrelated, right? My mother, a former magazine editor, and my father, an advertising photographer, must have found this incredibly naive, funny or depressing. Have you told her what I do for a living?

I hear the sound of an animal misbehaving. It is our small, paper-eating tabby cat. She is on my desk giving a newspaper clipping a good chew. These are not as good an emetic as those plastic strips that come off of envelope flaps, but they’ll do. The clipping I prise from her mouth is the web address of an online French course which Noam Chomsky had recommended in the New York Times several months ago, which I had unearthed while tidying and left out as an action item of sorts. The cat has eaten most of the address, a sign perhaps that carrying around guilt and self-reproach about not speaking French properly is futile, requires action or needs to be purged.

Or she is saying, Don’t go to France. I will be bored and lonely without you.

The animals have been happy to have us at home over the past week. They would prefer that we visit no more countries, ever. The sunlight pours in and they lie in pools of it. Why would you ever want to leave? They advise me to skip this question and not to think about travel. That is not a good topic, the cat says. And You deserve more credit, she purrs, for being sensible.

This is something I found inspiring: the uniform project. This is the kind of yearlong project I wish I had thought of. She’s doing something about how we over-consume, and she has great, inspired and inspiring style. She was interviewed on Woman’s Hour this morning and the ideas she had made me happy all day and that was before I had a chance to go to the website and see how amazing the outfits are.

We were talking about creativity at work today. I think creativity is about the ability to turn things around and see them from different angles, not to wait for something to resemble something familiar and settle for the first idea that fits. My more cerebral husband said it is being able to hold two divergent thoughts in your head and come up with something new (probably an idea) though it could apply equally to how you wear your LBD on Day 100.

I think you need a little structure, a little form, to play off of, which is how I ended up jumping on the postaweek bandwagon, and why I think the uniform project is so cool. And why the U.P. LBD is such a tempting form of new “sping” clothing.


2 Replies to “I will blow your house down”

  1. Thanks for introducing the U.P. site. How much fun that must have been! Thanks also for your blog…I’ve really enjoyed reading it over the past year. Happy New Year.


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