Sunday, July 05, 2009

sucking up with good books

Can anyone tell me why -- wearing my Blundstones all day and at no time getting my feet wet or going near moisture -- when I remove them, each big-toe tip of my sock is soaking wet? Just the tip of the big toe, nothing else. Mystery.

I've been cleaning the dark side of my studio over the last two days. The boys have disappeared for five days in search of snow and sand and grandparents and anything else they can find, including this:

Eagle boy
Found in a Yass junk shop on the 4th of July, which I guess is pretty apt. Bumblebee wanted to take it home, but was persuaded to buy a Star Wars toy instead.

So I am home alone! Having a fantastic quiet retreat without going anywhere, and spending most of it at Studio Duck, vacuuming dust, sorting stuff, cleaning the press. The press mechanic didn't come last week, but he rang me with a good excuse, and now we are meeting tomorrow first thing. So today I went to the sales and bought a vacuum cleaner just for the studio, and then vacuumed the floor, the shelves, all the dust and muck in and around the press, and also from the drawers and all the little shelves on the sides of my Printer's Stone (actually a metal table with a very heavy metal slab top). This was a huge job, because the lovely man who gave it to me was a carpenter, and the little shelves (in varying depths, to hold press furniture) were just full of sawdust and wood shavings, and the drawers had masses of sawdust mixed with screws, nails and washers that had to be sorted and removed before vacuuming. And now the vacuum cleaner looks like I've owned it for years. And years.

Before the boys left I went out to the (cough) hardware (cough cough) store* in Gungahlin and bought a whole heap of derusting thingies and some nice killrust paint in Deep Indian Red, and over the next few days I'm going to paint the sides of the Stone and the decorative bits of my standing press. Then I'm going to go away to the Sturt Winter School and leave everything to lose the fresh-paint smell, so by the time I get back it should all be gorgeous for my open studio. Well, that's the plan, anyway.

I've been reading a lot since uni went on holiday; one really good book I've read was sent to me by the author as a thank you for 'getting' her last book (such a pleasure for both of us!). It's Why She Loves Him by Wendy Steele, a collection of short stories. There's a lot of stories, as many of them are *very* short, except for the last sequence, from which the book's title comes. I find a lot of short stories want to tell you everything: they aim to suck you in and spit you out satisfied at the end but in a neat, encapsulated way. Wendy doesn't do this; she uses most of her stories as springboards to vault you off the page and back into your own head (this is why I loved reading Thirdcat's now neglected blogopera, because she also has this knack). There's a wide range of voices, social settings and experiences, and each story made me stop and close the book so that I could finish the story for myself before starting the next one. Some stories were so disturbing that I had to put down the book for a while, and do something *completely* different, because I didn't want to think about what the ending was! Damn good read, do yourself a favour, etc.

Speaking of Thirdcat makes me realise that I didn't ever talk about her novel, Black Dust Dancing, after I read it. Another damn good read, but you all know that by now, don't you? It's that way she gets into the inside of her characters, the way she tackles the big issues in small, sparse and completely accessible gestures. She really clinches those Big Decision moments in life, when you have to change everything to be able to hold your head up in the mirror and look yourself in the eye. Yes, I think putting Tracy and Wendy together in a blog post is the way to go. I hope they read each other!

I've just had a hot shower and washed off all the sawdust and lead dust and whatever else off me, now I'm going to have a nice glass of white wine and do something, anything that has nothing to do with Michael Jackson. Maybe I'll read another book. Oooh, how posh.

*Rant du jour: hardware stores don't deserve to be called that anymore. In fact, I think they've all stopped using the term, and now they're lifestyle centres or some such crap. I couldn't find screw-in chair legs, too old-fashioned to be in stock, I was told. Everyone just buys new chairs these days...


Ann Beechey said...

IKEA has a good range of screw-in legs. I always want to buy them ... for something, but just knowing they're there relaxes my impulse. I hope they are still available the day I DO want them!

fifi said...

You just reminded me that I bought Black Dust online (or so I thought) and it never arrived,. so now I am wondering whether I did in fact buy it. ...I buy so many books online!

having said that I have read NO fiction for at least six months. Its incredible, I just can't stay with anything and am so caught up in "research"reading.

Envious of the studio time, I have not been near mine for four weeks and wont be back in there till August. I shouldnt complain because I am going to venice next week, to deliver a paper I have not yet finished, and I have nowhere to send my children to...aaaggghh!!!

Enjoy your time in there!

Penthe said...

Anti-rust paint. I wish I had a problem I could solve with it.

JahTeh said...

Duck, how could you have left that wonderful bird in the shop?
I'm sure BB could have fixed it up over the front door wired to a very authentic eagle cry as a door bell. Think what it would do to the religious nutters.

M L Jassy said...

Hi A. Duck,
are your Blundstones steel-capped or not? I wore unsteeled Blundstones for many a year while bartending and always emerged just a bit sweaty-toed, so it could be the leather. It could also be the chi seeping out from your meridians reflecting the positive flow of energy emanating from your lowest chakra.
I have enjoyed reading your blog and wonder if we may not need some
nation-wide research compiled on the high coincidence of cat-people who flock to blogging as way of life.
I small confession, that I ate many parts thereof your namesake while inhabiting a duck-loving town of Thailand. I went out of my way many, many times to feast on the formerly featherly. But with respect of course for the webbed and wonderful. mGb

Ampersand Duck said...

Ann: no Ikea in Canberra! Go figure!

Fifi: my my, Venice! Enjoy those gondoliers...

Penthe: almost solves all problems. Almost.

Jahteh: Actually, it would look good on our front verandah, right next to the 'Private Jetty' sign. I'm sure it's still there.

MG Burger: hi! thanks for delurking! I like the idea of the seeping chakra, much better than toe condensation. No, no steel caps. I've heard horrible stories of amputated toes from people who have had accidents in them. At least with squashed toes you still have toes.
I have no problem with eating duck, had a huge plateful of it just the other night (sorry, duck-lovers). Doesn't stop me liking them. It's funny, people have started buying me duck things, but I have a hell of a lot of frogs around the house. Maybe that's because ducks like frogs?

ArtWranglers said...

yes the wet big toe syndrome: and it's just struck me with my otherwise splendid new rockport hydroshield waterproof walkers. I suspect they're waterproof both ways? oops I'll have to change my identity to iconophilia...