THE MUSEUM

I live in a museum. Really, a museum. I recently saw Ray Bradbury do an introduction to a television show he had a number of years ago. The camera followed him in as he opened the door and walked from room to room in what I took to be his “workplace,” the environment in which he created his books and stories. Now, I haven’t researched this, but I assume it was real and not just a studio set up. The two or three rooms he walked through until he reached his desk were filled with an incredible amount of “things,” all sorts of stuff covered the shelves, the tables, the corners, the niches, any open space, even his desk was piled high with “things.” And you know that each one of them was placed there with forethought and each had it’s own special association, significance and story. I watched in awe but felt strangely comfortable, at home. Ray lived in a museum too…

I would love to live in a huge mansion with loads of space and empty white walls, and a large kitchen, yes, that’s very important, a very large kitchen. But that’s not my station in life, financially I just manage to keep my head above water. And that’s just not me anyway. It doesn’t help that my present apartment is too small. Anyone who knows me well says it doesn’t really matter, I’d soon fill the mansion from floor to ceiling, the walls would be covered and Ray would feel right at home. Many things would belong in the Exhibition Of The Past section, family photographs, paintings by my father and his mother, other objects of bought or gifted art, bits and pieces of my life that I’ve gathered along the way like everyone else. But what fills my museum to overflowing are other things, many other things. Important things, I would think. My mother opened the flood gates when she began to teach me to read. And she continued to encourage me as long as she lived…

Most of the things I have put into this museum take their form in books, music and film. In one respect, to me, nothing in life is more wonderful than a book. Well, maybe sex is cool, but it never lasts as long as a good book or a fine album. The world is going digital and dragging me along with it, but when the walls come tumbling down and there’s little or no energy left, and everybody’s sitting around in the dark bemoaning the fact that they can’t access their data, I’ll still have some candles and my books, and if needs be my ancient wind up gramophone. There is so much killing and violence in this sorry old world, but perhaps one of the greatest crimes is to destroy a book. It’s the taking of a different kind of life. In my humble opinion one of the most incredible things about being human, about being alive is our ability to create literature, music and art. We are perhaps the only animal with an ability to surround ourselves with such an aura of abstract creation. And it could be argued that creativity is our greatest achievement as a species. Our creative visions, our music, out thoughts and words tap into an energy inherent in the universe and nature itself. Within the structured and unstructured realm of matter and energy, there is a quantum factor of uncertainty we call creativity. Out of matter through energy, we create. Without our ability to transform the world we experience into the creative forms of art, literature and music we would be but worms burrowing in the mud. It is one of the primary factors that define our humanity, that gives us a sense of being. Who really knows what the cow, chewing her cud in the green pasture, is truly thinking, philosophizing? She might be contemplating an awful lot, but she cannot turn those thoughts into abstractions, interpretations or reflections to be shared with the other bovines. That is our gift, our specialty as humans. Perhaps in a world that seems at times to have no sense, it is what give us a purpose…

For many, the burden of possessions becomes a prison, which I can truly understand. For others it becomes an obsession. A debilitating chase to possess for status, for show, for financial gain. Some people collect sports cars, jewelry, coins, stamps, women, men, only for their value. Others collect teddy bears, ceramic frogs, dolls or popsicle sticks for the sheer pleasure and enjoyment those items may bring. It is one of the luxuries our Western Civilisation affords us. When you live in a mud hut somewhere in the pampas, your ability and desire to collect more than what is absolutely essential to your daily existence doesn’t exactly take precedence. I never have collected for status, monetary value or prestige. I don’t have a wife, somewhere along the line decided I never wanted to have children, I have no large extended family, I am a soloist on this flight of fancy. I have been fortunate in being able to invest my time and money in things that bring me knowledge, inspiration and things that pushed and expanded my creativity to new frontiers. My museum is one too of memories that are bonded with the objects, a museum, if you will, of memories and associations, which, like the things that fill Ray’s claustrophobic rooms, inspire, foster and nurture my perspective on life and that which I create. I cannot fault myself for wanting to surround myself with things that help me to learn, help me to comprehend the life outside of and within me. Some people are able to obtain the same things with little or no possessions. I neither envy nor applaud them. That is the road they have chosen. If it works for them, fine. For me it doesn’t. I like being able to hold things in my hands, to truly examine them at leisure, to take my time. If anything, I fault myself on my desire for instant gratification, for being able to access things immediately and not having to wait and search until I can find what I am looking for elsewhere. My museum is mentally interactive, filled not with just the physical objects, but with a life of memories and inspirations that have embedded themselves within the fabric of this mind and this collection of “things.” I think Ray thought along the same lines…

Mr. Bradbury is no longer with us. His rooms, his museum has been most likely dispensed with. Auctioned off to the highest bidder. A sad fate for a collection of things that holds the essence of a life, the spirit of inspiration. The objects lose their substance and connotation once the custodian is gone. The memories that have embedded themselves in the objects have dissipated into another form of energy. They are no doubt still somehow within them, but without the custodian, they remain sealed, never again to be opened. I would hope someday to pass this museum of mine on to an institution, that could perhaps be persuaded to keep it in its entirety, in its context. Most of it has only value for me, although there are any number of valuable things within, objects that would have a monetary value for someone else, that I seldom consider, and only can force myself at times to take seriously. My museum and its exhibitions have a different kind of value to me. They are a reflection of who I am, what and where I have been and a window and a door on where I am still hoping to go. Through the years I have been an orphanage for homeless books, a depository for the unfathomable complexity and variety of musical vibrations and an archive for the creativity in the mediums of photography and film. I do not regret this. I would like to think that Ray would have understood where I’m coming from. Perhaps you would too…

000 MuseumOne corner of The Museum.


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© 2014 nightpoet all rights reserved


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