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Location: California

I love paper. Books printed on acid-free paper and bound in cloth turn me on. I'm crazy about bookmarks, and I buy too many stickers. I could spend hours in the build-your-own-greeting card section of my neighborhood craft store. My favorite thing to eat is bread, and my second favorite is fruit. (Mm, pineapple.) I read too much and too fast, and I watch too many food shows (two ways of looking at gluttony). Gloomy, rainy weather calms me and so I can't wait to move out of California, which will happen, sadly, too many years from now to count. I'm vegan, though I haven't managed to eliminate honey from my diet yet. I practice yoga; it's the only way I can keep fit. I have a better life than I ever imagined I would (or deserve to) have, but I do my best to enjoy it rather than feel guilty about it. That's my daily struggle -- and also to be thoughtful and observant and honest with myself.

Monday, March 13, 2006

11, rue du Moulin

This weekend I finished putting together my first three-dimensional puzzle, a house with brick walls covered in ivy and flowerpots on the windowsills. It was such an experience working on it: a mixture of excitement and impatience and pain; and at the end, when I was done, this glorious embarrassing feeling of victory , as if I had accomplished something truly extraordinary. I yelped with joy. I raised my fist in the air shouting, "I did it, I did it!"

I'd spent hours and hours squinting at treacherously similar designs on the foam-backed pieces, concentrating so hard to figure out how the 3-D part of the puzzle worked that headaches started throbbing in the back of my head. And all the time this doubt kept plaguing me that I was wasting my time. This was child's play. This was for retired people with too much time on their hands. What was I doing hovering over these colored fragments of wall and windows and gardens, breathing shallowly and quickly as if confronted with a profound problem? Didn't I have better things to do? Re-read some Tolstoy? Volunteer in a soup kitchen? Scrub my bathroom? Bake some bread?

I don't know what it is about puzzles. I don't know what it is about play that the brain loves so. It seems so reckless, so impractical, to spend hours building a house out of bits of cardboard, that no one will live in, that I will eventually have to demolish after it has gathered a nice thick layer of dust on top of my bookcase.

I wondered if this house had ever been a real place. I wondered what kind of people had lived in it. So I googled "11, rue du Moulin." Well, there are dozens of 11, rue du Moulin. In Luxembourg, it's the address for a beekeepers' association: Union d'Apiculteurs du Grand Duche Luxembourg. In south-east France, it's the address for a swingers' club, and an entomological society, and a bed and breakfast, and a horse ranch. What a house! What a world!


Blogger madness rivera said...


March 13, 2006  

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