I have fallen in love with reading again. I devoured three memoirs in three weeks. Damn good memoirs. ( I will discuss the others in a future blog post.)
Last night I started reading my fourth: Beachcombing at Miramar: The Quest for An Authentic Life by Richard Bode. I read 38 pages aloud to my husband. We would have read until the wee hours of the morning, but it was a weeknight.
Bode is a superb writer, and a kindred spirit. He is a beachcomber (and writer) who is as in touch with the complexities of his inner world, as he is the ocean landscape that he inhabits. He savours solitude (like me), and possesses a keen sense of wonder for the small, and beautiful mysteries in nature. (He dwells at length on a sand dollar he finds at the beach – observing the fine details on its surface, comparing it to a “lithotint of a master artist, a symphony on stone.”) And that alone would be enough to hook me. But it’s his observations of his fellow humans that really captivate me.
Divorced after a thirty year marriage, Bode searches for love, and is deeply analytical of the relationships he encounters between men and women. He speaks of being “alone”, not lonely like “the mismatched husbands and wives” he sees everywhere.
He walks the beach to find himself (and maybe her?) It is at the beach that he finds authenticity.
How is it, I ask myself, that I have so little money, yet I live so well?
I know the answer even before the question has filtered through my brain. It lies, in part, in what I have shed, the material encumbrances of life that once weighed me down, and, in part, in the useful objects I discover – the bric a brac, the artifacts, the relics, the castaway bits and pieces of civilization – as I comb the sand.
I have deep admiration for those who, like Bode, abandon materialism and take on this human adventure in a much more naked state. I believe that the more “stuff” we have, the bigger the chasm between our ego-driven existence and true enlightenment. I have far to go.
I used to sit cross-legged on my bed, scribbling poetry into journals.
Now there is Twitter.
Where is that cabin the woods? The one near the beach-with-heaps-of-sea-glass?
I’m going there soon.
140 Characters (or The Dimwit Martini)
By Christina Friedrichsen
as indelible as the white whisp of an airplane on a cotton candy sky.
Deep as paper, but stylish, with Ikea quality.
Embrace it, baby.
Learn to love it. No. Love, love, love it.
Like the halo of shoes that floats above your head
or the shades of lipstick
that smear glossy exclamation marks onto your
Do not lament
the yesterday scent of paraffin
on the bedside table.
The loops of ink
trailing on the page –
Embrace it, baby.
The code of characters
on your whipped
Pretend it’s a cocktail party.
Make-believe that the
is going down
Just don’t let ‘em
see you spit
in your purse.