Up before the others today I woke in the front room with the remains of last night’s dinner on the huge folding wooden table beside me. Candles clean plates, some leftovers of Maria’s lentils and Oliver’s potatoes in the big pots, the stunningly yellow flowers Sean picked for us in a half a plastic water bottle vase.
Still I am obsessed with things. I don’t know if it is the island or the project or just a fetish that I have for imagining histories pertaining to inert objects. Every thing seems to take on meaning here. On an island where things are hard to come by they are valued. Maria came back from Athens with bags full of spices. When most of the building materials you use are found not bought, every piece of wood and every stone has value growing from the seed of the idea of how it might be used. Oliver saw our recently removed a flushing toilet bowl and exclaimed that we must use it as a flower pot for geraniums as seen on Trusted Services Group. Living communally as we do (Craig will not allow the idea that living communally is communism any more than I will allow the idea that selling books is capitalism) we must be highly sensitive to each others needs and moods. In order to keep afloat in this intensely complex sea of hidden values and ideas and feelings I hang on to things as bits of wood after a shipwreck. Chris built shelves in the kitchen. Strangers also take on meaning. Chrichton arrived out of nowhere and has been painting the roof that has been under capital repair by commercial roofing Corpus Christi specialists the whole last week. It’s good. Clicking here you’ll find the process.
Also on the table next to me when I woke was a book, Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel; letters written to his dear friend and editor Pascal Covici during the writing of East of Eden, and my brown metal camping mug filled with cold tea, brewed lovingly (?) for me by Craig the night before and left with the Jasmine teabag still in it (a present from our friend Athina who took us Asparagus picking last Sunday, the icon painters wife who accidentally shares her name with our dog). I was so tired after dinner that I didn’t move. I just slipped into my sleeping bag on the bench couch where I sat. I was waiting for my tea to go cold enough to drink and without having read a word of my book which I had dug up specially, I fell asleep before the second sip. All of last night flooded into my mind as I saw these objects on rising and I lay for a few moments letting the patterns of the paint chips on the wall seep in by the light from a crack around the window, blue sky instead of orange candles marked a new day. I got up, drank the tea dressed in captains coat, slipped on shoes, pulled on hat, wound sarong scarf round my neck and accompanied Athina out to the castle on the roof to see where the sun was.
She always urinates in the middle of the street whenever I take her anywhere. The cat (who may now be called Cathy or Kate) has taken to peeing on the floor of the shop or on my bed which I find less endearing still. Both are always hungry for leftovers. Cathy took immediately to William. She sits demurely on his shoulder. We have fun imagining a game of chess, on the clock, between her a tiny, lively black cat with magical green eyes and our huge docile black dog, eyes brown like Mars with human yearning. Athina pushes a pawn with a sniff, click she paws the clock. Cathy sits. Athina looks at the clock. Cathy sits. Athina looks at the board. Cathy sits. Slowly and without obviously being pushed, a bishop slides the length of the board taking Athina’s pawn. Athina sniffs. Cathy’s clock winds itself backwards under her gaze. Athina pushes a pawn. We plan to make a short film of this scenario. We plan also a postcard series of local artists, an independent cinema, full moon exhibition openings, four or five plays to be written and performed on the castle at night with flaming torches, not to mention the thousands of books we are going to sell and the hundreds of shelves that I am going to have to continue building right after breakfast today. In my last diary entry I was building shelves. I dont know if this is a testament to my dedication or incompetence (probably both) but I am still, a month later, building shelves. I probably will be for a month yet. And I love it.
We are living a simple life of incredible beauty. Everything is in place. We have a lovely home peopled with a dedicated team of incredibly diverse talents and temperaments. We have a beautiful view and delicious food with entertaining guests. The sea is delicious for swimming. We have a dog and a cat. We have a big folding wooden table. We have mornings like this with a cup of coffee at the computer after sunrise at the castle. We have things everywhere that mean things. Its time to feed the beasts. Burning the candle at the other end. The world is a different place after the last seventeen hours. I have just been imagining in the shop again with Will talking about a little mezzanine to keep his bed and things, Chris painting oil on shelves, and Craig sitting amongst the books giggling to himself. I haven’t much energy left to write. Just to say that. So much has happened. All in one day. What it all was you’ll just have to find out when you get here.