Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Big Flea Market



On impulse, I snapped this photo through the windshield of our truck on our way to the Big Flea Market. This is a road that runs beside our house. Sometimes when I'm riding in a vehicle, I look at the Northwest Ohio landscape and it seems surreal. This happens especially when the roads are bathed in a certain kind of yellow light. It happens also after it has snowed and the wind is blowing snow across the road or when the blowing snow makes patterns on the road like writhing snakes. The flatness of the land, the perspective created by electrical lines and poles, and the vastness of the sky speak strongly to me of destiny. But where am I going, and why?


Yesterday, in the boiling heat, Allen, Buddha, and I went to a big flea market in a city very near us. It's a 3-day celebration that people look forward to here every year, but I can't remember it ever being this hot when it was going on.

What I remember most from yesterday:

1) Item: A cast iron mermaid (about 3/4 life sized)
2) Item: A pocket Bible with a delicate picture of Mary on the front, circa 1800's.
3) Place: The low part of the field, soggy from the previous day's rain. My sandaled feet wet from sinking in the cool water covering the grass.

I bought three books, paying for them $2.25 and two pair of pants for Allen, totaling $4.00, grand total: $6.25.

The books:

1) A college edition of Art History, for making my collages.

2) The Works of Oscar Wilde, copyright 1927. This book looks identical to the Checkov volume I purchased in Vermont and is published by the same company, The Walter J. Black Co. The Checkov volume is worn, due to heavy reading and handling from being in the public library. However, the Oscar Wilde volume looks virtually unread.

From "Rosa Mystica" by Oscar Wilde:

To drift with every passion till my
soul
Is a stringed lute on which all winds
can play.
Is it for this that I have give away
Mine ancient wisdom, and austere
control?

3) The Best American Short Stories 1943. I own several volumes of the best American Short Stories, but this is the earliest edition I've found so far. The inscription inside reads: "Belated Birthday Wishes to Frank from Andy." The book's dedication is to:
"Irwin Shaw, Private, U.S. Army" and "To All Writers Enlisted in a Great Task."

Isn't that wonderful? What is my "great task"? What is yours?

Authors of a few of the best stories of 1943 include: William Faulkner ("The Bear"); William Saroyan ("Knife-Like, Flower-Like, Like Nothing At All in the World"); Eudora Welty ("Asphodel") and James Thurber ("The Catbird Seat"). Who doesn't remember "The Catbird Seat" from highschool or college freshman comp.?!

I like to study authors' first lines. Here are a few from The Best American Short Stories 1943:

"The smell around the training farm was compact like a wall, rising from the ground which was muddy with yesterday's rain, and surrounding the chicken coops huddled white in the muffled dark night." --Vicki Baum, "This Healthy Life"

"Ora Larrabie stayed still as long as she could hold the wonder to herself." --Rachel Field, "Beginning of Wisdom"

"Eunice looked at me across the table and said: 'I've a corking idea for a novel.'" --Vardis Fisher, "A Partnership with Death"

"The Isle of Man is a very small fragment of the British Commonwealth of Nations and a place you never hear much about." --Grace Flandrau, "What Do You See, Dear Enid?"

"Last May you were married, and now this morning your widow is wailing." --Peter Gray, "Threnody for Stelios"

And my two (so far) favorites:

"As they all knew, the drive would take them about four hours, all the way to Weed, where she came from." --Paul Horgan, "The Peach Stone"

"One evening when Ellen Goodrich had just returned from the office to her room in Chelsea, she heard a light knock on her door." --John Cheever, "The Pleasures of Solitude"

I think Cheever's is my favorite of all. What is better than starting a story with a knock on the door?

Any story I have ever loved has been like a experiencing a knock on my door. It has been an invitation to mystery and transformation.

After the flea market we came home and cooked hotdogs, bathed, and went to the hospital to visit someone we love.

11 comments:

Judith HeartSong said...

lovely..... it is good to be here as always.

judi

beths front porch said...

So I guess I'm not the only one who reads the first sentences of stories in an anthology. What a treasure! The anthology, and your entry. I like the "knock at the door" image. And ending the day by visiting someone you love. It sounds like...well, a perfect day. I hope it was.

beths front porch said...

Excuse me, am I permitted two comments? You ask, "But where am I going, and why?" What an excellent question. Eternal, isn't it? It's one of the reasons I am exceeding fond of this entry. I do think I am in love with questions. Answers, maybe not so much. But I love the asking.

Erin said...

Theresa,

A great entry! I think I know what you mean about the flatness of NW Ohio. When you can see so far, you're bound to ask questions about your journey, I suppose--literal and figurative. Here in Cincinnati, I sometimes miss that expanse. Hills block my view.

It sounds like a great day at the flea market! I like your thoughts on knocking! I also love the Field quote--"Ora Larrabie stayed still as long as she could hold the wonder to herself." I find more and more each year how difficult it is to hold on to wonder.

Finally, thank you for your recent entry in my blog. It means a lot to me, and I hope you're right about my epiphany!

Much love,
Erin :-)

alphawoman said...

The photo looks eerily like INorth East Indiana...lol!! Flat, hot, and baked. I love flea markets...sounds like you found some excellent things.

Gannet Girl said...

A art history book for collages -- what a GREAT idea!

ggw07 said...

Wonderful-"when the blowing snow makes patterns on the road like writhing snakes"
Gretchen

ckays1967 said...

Road trips are lovely because one can simply sit and look at the country with new eyes without committing to staying. YOUR opening line is perfect too, by the way.


The beauty of used books is often in the treasurer that the previous readers have left behind, don't you agree?

xxoo

Tom said...

Your snapshot looks sort of like the neighborhood I live in, except the fields are full of tobacco instead of corn, and the rural roads are a little wider. It is awfully hot down here in NC. No wind was blowing today.

Flea markets are great places to buy books. Old books are better than new ones. Cheever's opening line was my favorite, too.

V said...

Of all the 1st lines, I prefer the 1st paragraph.
...On impulse, I snapped this photo through the windshield of our truck on our way to the Big Flea Market. This is a road that runs beside our house. Sometimes when I'm riding in a vehicle, I look at the Northwest Ohio landscape and it seems surreal. This happens especially when the roads are bathed in a certain kind of yellow light. It happens also after it has snowed and the wind is blowing snow across the road or when the blowing snow makes patterns on the road like writhing snakes. The flatness of the land, the perspective created by electrical lines and poles, and the vastness of the sky speak strongly to me of destiny. But where am I going, and why?......

I`ve been writing of myth and destiny, as you know. Sometimes I think you are leading me places, as a teacher does. Sometimes I know it.
V

ckays1967 said...

Coming back to this entry today as I am embarking on a new journey of my own. Self-centeredness abounds...

With fresh eyes YOUR country road has given me new hope and I thank Professor.


And I thank my friend.
xxoo

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"I was no better than dust, yet you cannot replace me. . . Take the soft dust in your hand--does it stir: does it sing? Has it lips and a heart? Does it open its eyes to the sun? Does it run, does it dream, does it burn with a secret, or tremble In terror of death? Or ache with tremendous decisions?. . ." --Conrad Aiken

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