November 1st, 2006
a brief tour through my neighborhood, followed by a glimpse into the mind of Ignatius P. Reilly

i am still getting to know my neighborhood, i am learning it’s language, and exploring its cracks and hiding places. my favourite parts are the ones that are not so obvious, an old sidewalk overgrown with grass, a littering of seed pods on a hill, an ancient window lit up at night on the top floor of a house.
our house is old and creaky, but stands solid on a slight hill. i have never lived on a hill before. if i look out of the front windows i am at eyelevel with a church steeple off in the distance. it gives one the feeling of being a lookout of some kind, standing at attention while peering out over the neigborhood. i wonder if i see the sun a few seconds earlier in the morning. or maybe i just like thinking about that.
i live next to a castle. going for walks is like going back two hundred years. (I often like to pretend that I have.) there are turrets, and vaulted ceilings and arches, and gargoyles. hundreds of gargoyles. they look down on me with their sneaky looks to let me know that I am being watched. I don’t trust them one bit. sometimes, if you are lucky, you can hear a concert pianist practicing in the great halls, the sound wafting out into the trees through an open stained glass window.
There is a network of pathways through the woods behind the castle. already i have started to form a relationship with the woods, the trees, and the animals that live there, (deer, stray dogs, squirrels, hundreds of rabbits, and birds.) there is an old moss covered foundation that is buried in the heart of the place, which we have dubbed ‘the stone cottage’. the fallen walls are like green benches inviting you to sit, maybe have tea or write for a time. I often wonder what it used to be, a barn, or a house of some kind. the animals own it now, and there is a large tree on the east side with a large hole, perfect for an owl, or for hiding notes which I am apt to do.
This week I am forced to slow down due to a cold. while I resist the lack of activity at first I acknowledge that it could not come at a better time. work has slowed at least for a few days. and I allow myself the gift of being sucked into a good novel, one of those where the characters become a part of your life for the time being. you think about them while going about your day and wonder what crazy things they will be upto when you see them next.
I am wandering through the world of Ignatius P. Reilly, and it causes me to uncontrollably laugh out loud and lose a bit of my grasp on reality. (those of you who have read the book will know what i mean.) what crazy hero is this, with his tendency to preach about the ills of modern society to everyone he encounters, while taking no responsibility for the miserably, pitious state of his life? he must be one of the most annoying, insulting, obnoxious characters ever written. yet i can’t help but like him somehow.
i can’t put it down.
don’t you love when that happens?
(and to T.Tucker who recently found me by doing a google search on the subject of “book sniffing”, I have on two occasions taken a whiff of this current volume, and find it brings me back to sitting on the floor in Bogey’s bookstore in Davis California, under the literature section.)

Nov 6 2006
12:52 pm
eliane writes:

Yes, that was a great book. I remember being disappointed with the end, but I don’t remember why. Such a long time ago.

Nov 6 2006
2:27 pm
Reach.Dabble.Shine writes:

Oh. I. love. this. book. This character. I remember the experience of reading it 23 years ago, and still can feel the joy of uncontrollably laughing out loud at ol’ Ignatius, that reflection of all of us at some point in our lives. Thank you for this blast from the past. Just might have to read it again…..

Nov 6 2006
7:22 pm
Kelly writes:

Wow, what a great place to live! Right next to your own dream world. I think I would be tempted to leave jam jar vases of wild flowers and other signs of life “in” the stone cottage, or within it’s now imaginary walls.
I only remember one scene from that novel. It has stuck with me forever… the wonderful idea he came up with for dealing with the work and filing at one job he had. Tempting, so tempting.

Nov 6 2006
8:13 pm
Sameika writes:

i like sniffing and smelling books.
i love the old ones.
i have a book given to someone in 1910. it smells beautiful.

Nov 6 2006
10:31 pm
Christian Kiefer writes:

“Book sniffing” isn’t nearly as weird as my latest. Someone miraculously found me by searching for “Sumerian scrabble invocation.” WTF?

Nov 7 2006
9:07 am
Lil writes:

I love Confederacy of Dunces. It’s one of the books that stands out among the thousands I’ve read.
And book sniffing? Nothing smells as good as a new book.

Nov 7 2006
11:18 am
Jodi Lynn writes:

I think it’s probably wise that you don’t trust the gargoyles one bit! That made me laugh out loud…
~jodi lynn
p.s. hope your cold is brief. I’m sure you’re drinking lots of tea and taking care of yourself?

Nov 7 2006
1:30 pm
nadine writes:

mmm… What a lovely post keri. It’s cold and rainly here, and you have transported me to somewhere green and crisp and full of secrets.

Nov 7 2006
5:00 pm
Leonie writes:

w o w.
that’s all i can say.
about everything.

Nov 7 2006
5:52 pm
donielle writes:

wish i could live in a neighborhood like that. i bought the book. and, “hello.” i found you through a crafty friend, bought your living out loud book & the tear this book up one, too. fun & inspiring. love them! now…it’s time to go read the book you can’t put down :]

Nov 8 2006
10:15 am
Carla Sonheim writes:

One of my absolute favorite books! Brilliant!!!
Thanks for the post.

Nov 8 2006
3:20 pm
laney writes:

Thank you for your writing/art/inspirations/gifts
I have just discovered your blog and like many others I’m impressed. You seem to be realizing your full God/Father/Mother/Universe given potential. I thought I’d pass along some good books I’d read…so if the spirit moves are two more books to read
In Search Of Grace Kristin Hahn
Where the Pavement Ends Erika Warmbrunn

Nov 9 2006
10:39 am
my pink sky writes:

mmmm…love putting my face right into the pages of a good book and taking a big wiff! and what an amazing place to have to explore – if walls could only talk. hope you’re feeling up to snuff soon.

Nov 10 2006
7:51 pm
margi writes:

My daughter and her fiance (sp?)had just moved into a new apartment. The next day, her birthday, she got laid off from her job, one that she loved. She had recieved a G.C. from chapters and I pointed out your recent post and the book you are reading. She immediately went and got it, and loves it. Thanks for brightening her day.

Nov 11 2006
10:40 am
marie writes:

hah! my friend graduated from that school!
she told me that it was also the site of that academy in that kevin kline movie, “the emperor’s club”! imagine that.
i’ll have to look into that book…
i hope you are feeling better. (:

Nov 12 2006
12:37 pm
Martina writes:

Living in the Pacific NW, where the winters are grey and rainy, I do a lot of tea drinking and reading in the wet months. “Confederacy” is one of my all time favorite comic novels. Lots of dust jackets claim to be laugh out loud funny, but not as many actually deliver!
It’s so sad that John Kennedy Toole died before he could write more. At the same time, it inspires me to embrace whatever creativity I have and say what I have to say. You never know when your chance to “speak” will be over.
Speaking of inspiring, you have a great website! Since a friend sent it to me a few months ago, I have been turning to it often. Thank you! :-)

Nov 14 2006
5:46 am
wendy writes:

Wow! Your home and neighborhood sound just magical, it reminds me of Tasha Tudor and her Secret Garden and the like. I hope your life there unfolds into a lovely happily ever after : )

Nov 14 2006
7:14 pm
karl writes:

thanks for the journey

Nov 15 2006
1:46 pm
B writes:

I graduated from Davis – your comment about Bogey’s is perfect :)

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