Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Part 5 - The Nature of Books and Business - A Tour of the Books in My Bedroom

Exciting things are happening in the world outside the Dreamtime, and as is custom the more time you spend with Meatworld things the less time you have in the Dreamtime.

Everything has a balance, everything has a cost. The loss of momentum with the tour echoes the loss of momentum for solving the issues that led to the book collecting in their home in the first place and now it is time to return to the Books in the Bedroom - specifically the Stack of Books Next to the Hidden Bookshelf.

A quick recap is in order -

In Part 2 I tour the Books that Became Decor and was startled to find that many of them were decor because I didn't really like them much

In Part 3 I tour the Stack of Books Under the Window - which are primarily hardcovers and discuss the system by which books were supposed to enter and leave the bedroom

In Part 4 I tour the Books in the Hidden Bookshelf and the history of bookshelves in my former bedrooms and the place of books in my house and my emotional landscape. I even surprised me.

Part 5 is this one - it's not terribly long.

Section 1 - The Poetry of What Remains

Stacked exactly as they are, the books create a poem of their own. A scarily accurate one:

The line between
the Receiving
Wandering Stars making money
Selling the Invisible a Mind at a time

Words on Fire: One woman's journey into the Sacred
The Queen's Bastard
"XXXholic" The Unicorn Sonata

Of course the actual titles by themselves are less connected:

The Queens Bastard - by C.E. Murphy ( this was not my kind of book at all, I think it came into the house by way of The Girl)
XxxHolic Volume 12 by Clamp (The three X's are a mathematic variable not the the standard English Usage of the triple x in media)

Section 2 - How did they get there?

The Peter S. Beagle books were books I purchased directly from him at the event where I met the Poppets, which, on reflection was 2008 not 2009 as I previously estimated. I had his books from that event in the pile of "to be read" on my night table. They are non-standard sized beautifully illustrated books.

Words on Fire and The Receiving were books I was reading to put a historical context on the role I was trying to create spiritually in my organized religion. They were a way of understanding the barriers that I was experiencing as a Meatworld woman trying to fuse what the religion actually meant with the way it was practiced. Words On Fire is how I feel about studying Torah and Talumd. The words of Torah and Talmud are the real Ner Tamid ( eternal light) represented by the continuos light infront of the Aron Khodesh (the fancy box we keep the torah scrolls in at synagoge). Words alone can burn you up. Practice and application in the Meatworld makes you confront the reality of those words.

In my religion, as in many others, that struggle is usually written and recorded by men, and they declare women as "more spiritual" or "closer to God" and "excuse" them from the extra work of learning and studying because they "don't need it". In reality, to be able to study and be transported by those fiery words, or see them as anything other than fairy stories or literal instruction ( both of which are huge mistakes in Judaism) you need someone taking care of the kids, the businesses, and the laundry. All of the work to create the ritual meals, ritual spaces and transportive theater has to be done by someone whose eyes aren't burning with spirit but whose hands are busy polishing the silver and cooking the festive meal before the deadline so those holy, holy men can come in and be transported.

To no one's surprise those busy hands belong to the "more spiritual" women so the "weak" men can go learn and feel and do.

There has always been a deep spirituality to the women's work because of the way Judiaism is constructed, and literacy is required of all Jews including women's Torah Study. but it has frequently been denied or denigrated by the men who write the "serious" religious works. It's changing, but not from the outside, not by adding to it, but from the inside from uncovering things. There is in Catholicism something called a "sin of omission" and Jewish theology and educational traditions are rife with it. It's not that learned women didn't exist, it's just that periodically their history, commentary and contributions just got edited out as irrelevant or ignored as unbelievable. Judaic authorities don't really get rid of anything though and as society needed less back breaking labor just to get through a day of meal preparation women started asking questions and found documentation and we're still trying to sort it out. I'm in that sorting it out place.

Judaism works best for me with a lot of spirituality and intent, and a moderate amount of organized religion, but I found the more I actually cared about the spiritual part the less the organized part was working for me. In synagogue people who were more spiritual than I was were also more set in their patterns of thinking, but people who practiced the way that I did weren't really looking at the words with their little crowns in the Torah and seeing the fire.

Dealing with The Girl's illness was making me less social and more confused. It was unpleasant for me to go to shul. Those books came into the House for me to hear other women's voices. The words were burning me, the people were scarring me, these books helped cool things down for my fevered brain.

The book A Mind at A Time is about dealing with non-standard brains, completely Meatworld, given to me by another parent of another child with a different cause but similar presentation. It's painful for me to read it. I've read chapters, I skip around. It's still in the bedroom because it's a good, important book but unfinished. Words and The Reciving are still in the bedroom because I am unfinished. A Mind at A Time in in the bedroom because I'm still in denial about the darker years of The Girl's illness.

Selling the Invisible is a book about advertising but I've found it really useful as a project manager and someone who champions process solutions. It also helps make some sense of the constant barrage of overt and subliminal marketing we are exposed to constantly, not in a cynical anti-consumerist manner but in understanding the place of services and ideas in a capitalistic market place and how to position them and yourself in relation to them. It keeps coming back into the bedroom because I keep referencing it in other things. Somwhere in it I keep thinking there is a synergy between needs/desires and usability. That sweet spot between design, process, and end user. It's not in an obvious place but I keep glimpsing it obliquely, and I keep going back to it for that reason.

Section 3 - The Business and Nature Part

None of these books would have been obtained as e-books, they all have stories behind them and some were gifted or recommended. Some were purchased specifically to support the author. Some were because I would only find what I was looking for from people who had already tried to answer some of the same questions. The Beagle books were new, the rest were purchased used.

Undeniably, they are a snapshot to the six months they represent - I was struggling with the after effects of being the parent of a seriously ill child, my place in my religion and my ability to present transformative suggestions to my workplace. Intermixed with shadows of the world I used to walk in comfortably, the Pratchett and the Beagle work being things I fell into. It was important to remember humor and fantasy and at the time I was working through all the other books, I possibly lost track of the lightness of both.

The next entry will be The Books I'm Getting Ready to Read, and they will include the e-books that have been purchased between the start of this series and Part 6. Then we can talk about what it means to support your author between e-books and physical books

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