Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Hiatus Keepsake

Going along with "Hiatus on Parade" from a couple days ago could've been and should've been some reference to a keepsake to wear or proudly display. My own preference would be a keepsake to display.

It's long been one of the themes of my life that there ought to be a keepsake for it. Even if it's just a bug in a jar to commemorate the picnic you went on, you need something to show it happened. It could be something as simple as a jar of rainwater, which would be more humane when it comes to bugs. Then if the jar is labeled and put on a shelf, you will know what it means. Somewhere around here -- maybe in the cellar -- there's my first jar of rainwater from over 40 years ago, unless someone threw it out.

Anyway, whose spirit doesn't thrill to the idea of a keepsake, a souvenir, a memento of some historic occasion? When the new president was about to come to office, souvenir dealers were having a field day trying to mark the significance of the event. And while I didn't get any of those souvenirs, I did keep some of the literature, including a rather handsome laminated bookmark (still unused) as a reminder that I alone am not the crazy one.

When I see one of these mementos, like when they're advertised on TV, it gives me a profound chill to see the glint of light off the edges as they're being rotated on display. You see the front and the reverse, the head and the tail, and you know it's necessary to have both. When the artist or sculptor conceives the one, perhaps he or she has conceived all that is possible at that moment. That can be a wrenching experience, not to be able to conceive the reverse (since usually the front is the first to be conceived.) With hard work, diligence, sweating it out, maybe in a sweat lodge, maybe a lot of late nights pacing the floor, drinking coffee way after hours, he or she will conceive of the B side.

Let's say I were to march in a parade. That is, I'm not the Grand Marshall. And I have one of these souvenirs or mementos. I would love to march with it so that it could be displayed to the folks gathered on both sides of the road. They could see it and know it was there. And any who happened to bring a magnifying glass or a jeweler's loupe magnifier, could stop the parade long enough to run up to examine the object. If there happened to be an actual souvenir official there, he or she could also examine my certificate of authenticity and attest to the genuineness of the object, or, in case I didn't have the certificate, could pronounce its authenticity in lieu of more formal certification.

Now, my thought here is of a keepsake to recognize, honor, and commemorate my current hiatus. At this point we don't know how long it will be till it's over, so there can be no finality in dating. But that only makes the preliminary object, struck in the flow of the hiatus, more likely to achieve a high value over time, because it clearly was from the time of the event, with all the aura of the first flush of those days. These are always rarer, especially if they seem to be more or less unconscious of their eventual collectibility, which is very hard to fake, these days especially.

The design of the front I can conceive in my mind's eye. A guy seated, his back to the viewer, and a computer monitor in front of him. Around the top, if it's circular like a coin, the name of the blog. Around the bottom a reference to my hiatus. I might have to go somewhere, to one of those heat hutches, and really sweat it out what the reverse would show. Those are always harder.

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