Friday, July 15, 2011
stoner by john williams
p. 100 "As William had feared, the house soon proved to be an almost destructive financial burden. Though he allocated his salary with some care, the end of the month found him always without funds, and each month he reduced the steadily dwindling reserve made by his summer teacher. The first year they owned the house he missed two payments to edit's father, and he received a frosty and principled letter of advice upon sound financial planning.
Nevertheless he began to feel a joy in property and to know a comfort that he had not anticipated. His study was on the first floor off the living room, with a high north window; in the daytime the room was softly illuminated, and the wood paneling glowed with a richness of age. He found in the cellar a quantity of boards which, beneath the ravages of dirt and mold, matched the paneling of the room. He refinished these boards and constructed bookcases, so that he might be surrounded by his books; at a used furniture store he found some dilapidated chairs, a couch, and an ancient desk for which he paid a few dollars and which he spent many weeks repairing.
As he worked on the room, and as it began slowly to take a shape, he relieved that for many yers, unknown to himself, he had an image locked somewhere within him like a shamed secret, and image that was ostensibly of a place but which was actually of himself. So it was himself that he was attempting to define as he worked on his study. As he sanded the old boards for his books , and saw the surface roughnesses disappear, the gray weather flake away to essential wood and finally to a rich purity of grain and texture - as he repaired his furniture and arranged it in the room, it was himself that he was slowly shaping, it was himself that he was putting into a kind of order, it was himself that he was making possible."