Gayle Madwin (queerbychoice) wrote,
Gayle Madwin

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A Photographic Tour of My Apartment

. . . as it occasionally looks, about twice a year, when I clean it up a bit to make it look presentable for the extremely rare occasions when someone other than me is actually going to see it. (I may be horribly messy, but at least I still have enough sense of dignity left to cover it up somewhat when people might see it.) Sure, there's still some degree of mess in these photographs - but it's mostly strategically placed mess, artifically arranged to give the illusion of naturalism without actually being nearly as bad as true naturalism would be. ;-)

This is the very first thing you will see when you enter my apartment - the view from the front door, facing directly ahead. On the left you will find my television, above which is a mirror (currently reflecting a David Bowie poster hanging in my kitchen, and my breadmaker on the kitchen counter). In the middle is the "panelfold" which divides my "junior one-bedroom" apartment into a theoretically separate bedroom and living room, enabling the apartment management to charge more money than they could for a plain studio apartment, even though I absolutely never close the panelfold and therefore it might as well be a studio. Through the panelfold you can see my bedroom, which includes a bricks-and-boards makeshift bookcase that I've owned ever since I was born. It also includes a bed, with gloriously purple bedding, and some books and pens and my shoes on the floor beside it. On the headboard of my bed is a bumper sticker reading, "You May say I'm a Dreamer, But I'm Not the Only One." (A bed is a good place for stickers referring to dreaming, yes?) Above my bed is a picture of David Bowie with a bird on his head. You know you've always wanted one of those over your bed! Around the ceiling of my bedroom are the rainbow fish rekraft gave me! Back outside of my bedroom now, over to the right is another bookcase I've owned all my life, less makeshift this time, but not containing any books. It contains some of my CDs, all of my videotapes and DVDs, and a very messy assortment of computer disks/manuals/hardware components/etc. Above this bookcase is a watercolor painting I made in college, which used to be in the back cover of my binder, and which is supposed to be an illustration of the first few verses of David Bowie's song "Width of a Circle." It depicts a person (who for some reason looks nothing like David Bowie - it appears to be a female person with long straight black hair) "sitting by a tree," talking to a blackbird who is perched on her knee. On the left side of the picture is a straight and narrow road ("all the roads were straight and narrow"). Further right is a winding footpath which is neither straight nor narrow. The apparent vertical white lines are just light reflecting off the glass of the picture frame.

Closer in front of you, about four feet from the front door, is my computer. On the left side of my desk are the last several dozen CDs and cassettes I've played, that I haven't gotten around to putting away yet. (The Bowie fans among you may recognize the cover to the Aladdin Sane album. And see that stack of cassettes that all have the same pale cyan spine color? Those are all Bowie albums, with the trademark Rykodisc spine layout.) The cords looped strangely over my desk are digital camera cords and a cord for plugging in my music keyboard. My stereo is to the left of my computer monitor, which is displaying my LiveJournal friends page. My mouse pad, although you can't really tell from this angle, says "Queer by Choice" on it. (Thank you, CafePress.) To the right of my monitor are a big red Merriam-Webster dictionary which I almost always keep there, and on top of that, my Spanish dictionary which I also almost always keep there, for translating journal entries by chisparoja, vi_kka, huasteca, kurohime, alcibiades, personunknow, and cybernetiko82. Behind them are a roll of Scotch tape and chisparoja's red bandanna which ey left here, and which is sitting on top of the children's book Querido Señor Diablo that ey also left here. Further right than these is an ever-changing pile of books I'm either in the middle of reading or planning to read soon (the current pile is Lesbian Choices by Claudia Card, Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism edited by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé and Martin F. Manalansan IV, Palimpsest: A Memoir by Gore Vidal, White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son by Tim Wise, and A People's History of the United States: 1492-Present by Howard Zinn).

On the counter directly behind my computer are one stereo speaker (the other is on my desk), my computer printer, my breadmaker, and a stack of papers that includes everything ever snail-mailed to me by anyone I met on the Internet. On the kitchen wall toward the left is another watercolor painting I made in college, which also used to be in the back cover of my binder (during a different year of college - only one painting could be displayed in the back cover of my binder at a time, and the front cover tended to be filled with a self-portrait painting instead), and which is also an illustration of a David Bowie song. This time, the song is "Cat People (Putting Out Fire)": it contains "eyes so green" and "eyes so red" (both shaped like cats' eyes), a moon ("I can stare for a thousand years/Colder than the moon"), two tears coming from the eyes ("See these tears so blue/An ageless heart that can never mend"), grass on the left side of the picture, and flames on the right side of the picture (See these eyes so red/Red like jungle burning bright). The apparent horizontal white line is, again, just light reflecting off the glass of the picture frame. For that matter, the apparent large white rectangle on my furthest-right kitchen cupboard is also a trick of the light. Oh, and hanging on the wall above the television is a photograph of David Bowie in his glittery Scary Monsters clown suit, printed out from my computer.

My computer desk was originally covered with fake-wood contact paper, when I received it free from my old workplace (they were replacing their desks and didn't need this one anymore). Eventually this paper tore, and then I picked on it until the desk was nothing but plain plywood, and then eventually I painted it purple. Not that painting it purple was the plan to begin with - I just have a tendency to pick at flaws in my furniture surfaces until I eventually destroy the surfaces entirely. Then eventually I get sufficiently embarrassed at having ugly furniture that I repaint things.

If you turn to the right, still standing just inside my front door, you will find this bookcase - it's one of two that I inherited from my paternal grandmother when she killed herself in November 2000. It has a lamp on top of it, my old art portfolio (still containing my paintings) leaning against the wall to the left of it, and a table covered with books in front of it. The books on the table are ones that I have not yet read, or at least that I have not yet finished reading and have stopped actively continuing to read, and that I am not yet even planning to begin (or resume) actively reading all that soon (because when I'm planning to read them soon, I move them to my desk or a chair or the floor next to my bed, or pretty much anywhere else other than this table). After I finish reading them, they go in my bookcases. The books you can see from here on my bookcase are, on the top shelf: Death by Spelling; Grimm's Fairy Tales; the novel Lover by Bertha Harris; poems by Seamus Heaney; the autobiography of Anne Heche; The Best Writing on Writing; novels by Ursula Hegi, Robert Heinlein, Joseph Heller, Mark Helprin, and Carol de Chellis Hill; two short story collections by Alfred Hitchcock; Siddhartha by Herman Hesse; several novels by Peter Hoeg; and the excellent exposé of our culture's overconfidence in genetics, Exploding the Gene Myth: How Genetic Information Is Produced and Manipulated by Scientists, Physicians, Employers, Insurance Companies, Educators, and Law Enforcers by Ruth Hubbard and Elijah Wald. On the second shelf: numerous John Irving novels; several anthologies of Christopher Isherwood's work; novels by Henry James, Ha Jin, James Joyce, and Franz Kafka; The Invention of Heterosexuality by Jonathan Ned Katz; and novels by Jamaica Kincaid, Jack Kerouac, and Barbara Kingsolver.

The tapes with the pale cyan spines are, once again, David Bowie's. The streaks of identical-looking ones in the next row over, with white lettering on a black background and then barely-visible red lettering on a white background, are both Depeche Mode. My tapes and CDs are, like my books, alphabetized. I'll leave it to you to guess what the rest of them are.

This is a closer look at the unread (and partially unread) books on my table. They're also alphabetized. (I alphabetize everything, and never separate it into subject matter at all, because I like how mixing everything together enables me to get a sense of my own interests just by looking at what ended up mixed together on any single shelf.) The books on my table are: the novel Lives of the Monster Dogs by Kirsten Bakis; Critical Essays by Roland Barthes; poems by Olga Broumas; the novel The Place of Dead Roads by William Burroughs; Gender Trouble by Judith Butler; two novels by Don DeLillo; Of Grammatology by Jacques Derrida; novels by Junot Diaz and Joan Didion; the second and third volumes of Michel Foucault's History of Sexuality (one properly alphabetized and the other face up in the lower right corner); Allen Ginsberg's journals; The Construction of Homosexuality by David F. Greenberg; Ritualized Homosexuality in Melanesia by Gilbert H. Herdt; Modern Nature by Derek Jarman; The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind by Julian Jaynes; novels by Ha Jin and Franz Kafka; Women and Writing in Modern China by Wendy Larson; Queerly Phrased: Language, Gender, and Sexuality by Anna Livia and Kira Hall; novels by Gabriel García Márquez and Anchee Min; short story collections by Rick Moody and Lorrie Moore; Islamic Homosexualities: Culture, History, and Literature by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe; novels by Manuel Puig and John Rechy; poems by Arthur Rimbaud; an essay collection by Salman Rushdie; The Woman's Hand: Gender and Theory in Japanese Women's Writing by Paul Gordon Schalow and Janet A. Walker; Sexuality and Eroticism Among Males in Moslem Societies edited by Arno Schmitt and Jehoeda Sofer; Scribner's Best of the Fiction Workshops; a short story collection by Leo Tolstoy; The Girls Next Door: Into the Heart of Lesbian America by Lindsy Van Gelder and Pamela Robin Brandt; Same-Sex Love in India edited by Ruth Vanita and Saleem Kidwai; One Writer's Beginnings by Eudora Welty; novels by Edmund White and Jeanette Winterson; and Margaret Mead Made Me Gay: Personal Essays, Public Ideas by Esther Newton.

Walking further inside now . . . here's a view out my bedroom window, of the pool and the chairs on the pool deck, from my second-floor vantage point. Everything visible inside has already been introduced in my captions of previous photographs, except for the flowerpot on my windowsill. The flowerpot used to contain a beautiful purple hyacinth, but unfortunately the hyacinth died within mere days of when I bought it. I removed the corpse of the hyacinth, so now the flowerpot contains absolutely nothing but dirt. As for why it's still sitting on my windowsill anyway, I can't really provide any good explanation.

At the foot of my bed is another David Bowie poster. As you've probably noticed by now, I have a lot of David Bowie in my apartment. Out the window here you can see my balcony, and over in the living room you can see the vertical blinds over my sliding-glass door which leads to my balcony. Also, chairs. The rust-colored chair used to be my dead paternal grandmother's, and the pink chair used to be my parents', before which it used to belong to a maternal great-aunt who gave it away when she got Alzheimer's Disease and moved into a nursing home. My chairs are hardly ever arranged in sane, normal positions like this, except when I specifically put them there as part of my preparations to have visitors come over. The rest of the time, the chairs tend to be scrambled in absolutely random positions throughout the room, or pulled up next to other chairs at right angles so I can use them as tables. I absolutely never use any of my chairs as chairs, rather than as tables, except for my computer chair, and when I'm sewing, the pink chair that's pulled up to the sewing machine. Well, if I have a visitor sitting in one of them, then I will sit in another. But when there are no visitors, the purpose of the chairs is to stack books and other random objects upon - never to sit in.

My bed is the same bed my parents bought for me when I first outgrew my crib. Its mattresses are yellow because my room was painted yellow when I was little, because my mother asked me what color I wanted my room to be, and when I was that little (three years old), my policy on colors was to open up a book I had that asked what my favorite color was and provided a big spectrum of different colors to choose from, and I would choose a new favorite color every day. The day that my mother asked me what color I wanted my room painted was a day when I picked yellow as my favorite color. So I got a yellow room, and a yellow mattress, and yellow furniture everywhere. Much later, when I was in high school, I repainted my room in shades of blue and purple, which is when my blue bookcases got painted blue.

I almost always have books on the floor by my bed. And pens. Not so much shoes - sometimes I'm wearing them. The books on the floor right now are: An Invisible Sign of My Own by Aimee Bender, Rayuela by Julio Cortazar (in Spanish), My Friend, My Enemy by Ismat Chughtai, Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass by Isak Dinesen, Sister of My Heart by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver, The Summer Before the Dark by Doris Lessing, Minimax by Anna Livia, The Charioteer by Mary Renault, Cracking India by Bapsi Sidhwa, Kalki and At Home: Essays 1982-1988 by Gore Vidal, and the one I'm reading right now . . . Imaginary Homelands: Essays and Criticism 1981-1991 by Salman Rushdie. (I love this book . . . I highly recommend it.)

The next photograph shows a closer view of my bricks-and-boards bookcase. The reason that only the top portions of the bricks in the bottom row are painted is that my mother only painted the boards blue, and left the bricks unpainted. I decided to paint the boards, and I painted them myself, while the bookshelf was in use. I didn't dare paint the bottom ones too close to the floor, for fear of getting paint on the carpet. However, it wasn't this carpet - I painted the bricks back when I still lived with my parents. The smart thing to do, when I moved here, would have been to put the bricks that had previously been in the bottom row in the top row now, because then I could have painted them. But for some reason, I didn't do that. Too late now.

On the top shelf, at left, is the cross-stitch I was making as a wedding present for saxifrage and trysha, who got married in Massachusetts nearly a year ago, and now it doesn't look like I'm likely to even finish it in time for their first anniversary. But at some point or other, I will give it to them! Just extremely late. It's sitting on top of a cardboard box which contains art materials. Next to it are a thesaurus and a rhyming dictionary, with two little jars on top marked "modeling paste" and "ceramic stucco." Next to them is another cardboard box full of art materials, with a box of oil pastels on top. Then comes a gold-trimmed bowl which, along with my two tall bookcases and the rust-colored chair, is my only remaining inheritance from my dead grandmother. (I also claimed a flashlight and a bathroom scale from her house after she died, but they've both broken since then.) After that comes a cardboard box with mostly pens in it, followed by a jar of Vaseline, a bottle of Aloe Vera, and my reading lamp.

Second shelf: two ceramic cats that some relative gave me years ago; Japanese by Spring by Ishmael Reed (one of my most hated novels of all time); Between Thought and Expression: Selected Lyrics of Lou Reed; Remarks: The Story of R.E.M.; Of Woman Born by Adrienne Rich; novels by Samuel Richardson, Tom Robbins, and Marilynne Robinson; On Subbing: The First Four Years by Dave Roche; Science and Homosexualities edited by Vernon A. Rosario; novels by J. K. Rowling, Arundhati Roy, Jane Rule, Salman Rushdie, and J. D. Salinger; poetry by Sappho; two novels by May Sarton; A Brief History of Japanese Civilization by Conrad Schirokauer; the novel The Reader by Bernard Schlink; four books of poetry by my former Creative Writing professor Dennis Schmitz; Everyday Japanese: A Fully Illustrated Guide to Japanese Language and Culture; several books of ghost stories for children; The Sophie Horowitz Story by Sarah Schulman; The Full Color Fairytale Book; Tendencies by Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick; Dídola, Pídola, Pon: o La Vida Debe Ofrecer Algo Más by Maurice Sendak (in Spanish); I Had Trouble in Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss; an anthology of women's writings edited by Marilyn Sewell; various books of plays by Peter Schaffer, William Shakespeare, and George Bernard Shaw; two novels by Mary Shelley, Seven Plays by Sam Shepard, The Stone Diaries by Carol Shields; The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu, two novels by Bapsi Sidhwa, two books of poetry by Shel Silverstein; a collection of plays by Neil Simon; novels by Jane Smiley, Dava Sobel, Starhawk, and Gertrude Stein; Revolution from Within by Gloria Steinem; Refusing to Be a Man by John Stoltenberg; three plays by Tom Stoppard; Facing the Mirror: Lesbian Writing from India edited by Ashwini Sukthankar; Queer Japan by Barbara Summerhawk; a binder containing nothing but one note I never sent, written years ago, addressed to "Frank," saying so little that I find it impossible to tell whether the note was intended for Frank Aqueno or for frankepi; and a purple plastic box containing various magazine clippings and other writings that relate in various ways to queer by choice issues.

Third shelf: novels by Amy Tan, D. M. Thomas, Leo Tolstoy, Sue Townsend, Anthony Trollope, Gail Tsukiyama, Mark Twain, John Updike, Gore Vidal, and Alice Walker; The Philosophy of Andy Warhol by Andy Warhol; Fear of a Queer Planet edited by Michael Warner; The Art of Pencil Drawing by Ernest W. Watson; Calvin y Hobbes by Bill Watterson (in Spanish); the play Spring Awakening by Frank Wedekind; novels by H. G. Wells and Irvine Welsh; Queer by Choice: Lesbians, Gay Men, and the Politics of Identity by Vera Whisman; novels by Edmund White and Oscar Wilde; The Riddle of the Dinosaur by John Noble Wilford; Immortal Poems of the English Language edited by Oscar Williams; novels by Jeanette Winterson, Jack Womack, Shawn Wong, Virginia Woolf, and Richard Wright; poems by W. B. Yeats; novels by Banana Yoshimoto and Miri Yu.

Bottom shelf: This is where I put things that I can't logically alphabetize. Lots of Norton Anthologies of Literature (left over from my college English classes); an outdated Novel and Short Story Writer's Market and an equally outdated Poet's Market; A Handbook to Literature; Pushcart Prize XX: Best of the Small Presses; a dictionary of symbolism; a metaphors dictionary; Roget's Superthesaurus; a Japanese-English dictionary; the programs from the few concerts I've been to (only Depeche Mode and David Bowie); various songbooks; Advanced Spanish Grammar; two job-hunting guides (one of which is titled The Only Job hunting Guide You'll Ever Need, yet I still have another one); Dr. Koop's Self-Care Advisor by C. Everett Koop; Medical Makeover by Robert M. Giller, M.D., and Kathy Matthews; Reading the Social Body edited by Catherine B. Burroughs and Jeffrey David Ehrenreich; The Original Coming-Out Stories edited by Julia Penelope and Susan J. Wolfe; Pomosexuals: Challenging Assumptions About Gender and Sexuality; Hidden from History: Reclaiming the Gay and Lesbian Past edited by Martin Duberman, Martha Vicinus, and George Chauncey, Jr.; Body Guards: The Cultural Politics of Gender Ambiguity edited by Julia Epstein and Kristina Straub; Gay Sex Quotes edited by John Erich and Gerry Kroll; Dictionary of the Future by Faith Popcorn and Adam Hanft; Depraved and Insulting English by Peter Novobatzky and Ammon Shea; How Was I Born? A Story in Pictures by Lennart Nilsson (this was given to me when I was in preschool); A Baby Is Born: The Story of How Life Begins by Milton I. Levine, M.D., and Jean H. Seligmann (this was given to my mother when she was in preschool); and various school yearbooks, school literary journals, a college catalog, and other mementos of my school years.

The darker spots on my carpet are in all likelihood balls of my hair. And this is, I might add, immediately after I vacuumed the carpet in order to take pictures of it. My hair is simply too much for the vacuum to handle. It's one of the few things about my own messiness that really bothers even me.

To the left of my bricks-and-boards bookcase is my dresser. No, I don't know why it has the word "CHOICE" spelled out in big red capital letters on one of its drawers. Well, I know that I put it there, but I don't know why I put it there. I think I just had some leftover big red letter-shaped stickers from some project or other, and was looking for someplace to stick them. Further down, on the bottom drawer, is one of the only remaining remnants of my former baseball fanhood: a California Angels bumper sticker. They're not even the California Angels anymore. In fact, they've gone through so many name changes since then that it's rather frightening. But I never took the sticker off.

Above the dresser is an oil pastel drawing I made in high school. It was a drawing of some student that the teacher brought in to sit on the floor and model for us. I didn't know her, so the picture has zero emotional significance to me. I think the only reason I put it on my wall at all was that my parents had a big picture frame they were willing to give me, and this was one of my only drawings or paintings that fit well in the size of the picture frame.

In the corner between my dresser and the bookcase, behind the white chair, is a large cardboard box full of various mementos of my past. You can't see it because I draped purple fabric over it, because I had nothing else to do with the purple fabric, and I thought having a mysterious purple fabric thing in the corner of my bedroom looked better than having a cardboard box there.

Oh, and this is as good a time as any to point out how the purple fish swimming around up by my ceiling are all headed in the opposite direction from the other fish.

Walking through the doorway behind my dresser will bring you to the bathroom. It looks like a bathroom. Actually, it looks like a rather un-lived-in bathroom, because I've never decorated it in any way. I don't even hang towels on the towel racks (I just get them directly from the closet when I want them). I do, however, tend to collect hair ties on the countertop. (You can't tell, because I am taking this photograph from an unnaturally low angle in order to avoid capturing myself in the camera and making the image of me with the camera into what this picture is really about, because it's supposed to be you touring my apartment and you who would be reflected in the mirror; but that's what that dark purple thing is there: a hair tie.)

My bathroom has a mirrored medicine cabinet next to the regular mirror. This provokes me to try to take pretentiously arty photographs from strange angles. Also, that random circle up high on the wall is quite inexplicable.

When you come out of the bathroom, you will find yourself facing the other of my two large bookshelves. The top shelf contains: Are Girls Necessary? Lesbian Writing and Modern Histories by Julie Abraham; My Mother: Demonology by Kathy Acker; The Life of Thomas More by Peter Ackroyd; novels by Douglas Adams, Sherman Alexie, Dorothy Allison, Julia Alvarez, and Sherwood Anderson; I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou; The End of Gay and the Death of Heterosexuality by Bert Archer; novels by Margaret Atwood; poems by W. H. Auden; A Writer's Guide to Overcoming Rejection: A Practical Sales Course for the As Yet Unpublished by Edward Baker; The Dinosaur Heresies: New Theories Unlocking the Mystery of the Dinosaurs and Their Extinction by Robert T. Bakker, Ph.D.; Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity by Bruce Bagemihl, Ph.D.; Homosexuality: Debating the Issues by Robert M. Baird and M. Katherine Baird; and Conversations with James Baldwin.

Second shelf: novels by Russell Banks and Pat Barker; Barlowe's Guide to Extraterrestrials; novels by Paul Beatty and Matt Beaumont; the play Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett; novels by Saul Bellow, Aimee Bender, Alan Bennett, Lucy Jane Bledsoe, Francesca Lia Block, Amy Bloom, and Hannes Bok; Gender Outlaw and My Gender Workbook by Kate Bornstein; a whole bunch of books about of David Bowie (of which the only ones really worth reading are The Pitt Report and The Bowie Companion); Something Wicked This Way Comes by Ray Bradbury; several plays by Bertolt Brecht; Exquisite Corpse by docbrite; and Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

And the bottom of the same bookcase! (Just for the record, no, I'm not typing out every book I own - if you look closely, you'll see that a large portion of the alphabet is missing from these lists. Those books are filed away in drawers of those end tables that my sewing machine is sitting on, and on the lower shelves of the other tall bookcase that you can see in the background here, where they don't photograph well.) Third shelf from the bottom: novels by Rita Mae Brown; poems by Elizabeth Barrett Browning; a really offensively sexist travelogue called The Lost Continent: Travels in Small-Town America by Bill Bryson; Gender Shock: Exploding the Myths of Male and Female by Phyllis Burke; novels by William Burroughs and Howard Buten; Sex Changes by Pat[rick] Califia; novels by Truman Capote, Willa Cather, and Louis-Ferdinand Céline; Black Voices: An Anthology of Afro-American Literature; the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky; Creating Fiction: Instruction and Insights from the Teachers of the Associated Writing Programs edited by Julie Checkoway; the novel Falconer by John Cheever; a short story collection by Ismat Chughtai; various plays by Caryl Churchill; the novel Beautiful Losers by Leonard Cohen; Writer's Mind: Crafting Fiction by Richard Cohen; Eyewitness Art: Color by Alison Cole; novels by Joseph Conrad, Dennis Cooper, and Douglas Coupland; and various autobiographical writings by Quentin Crisp.

Second shelf from the bottom: poems by e. e. cummings; the novel The Hours by Michael Cunningham; The Decline and Fall of Practically Everybody by Will Cuppy; Mastering the Business of Writing: A Leading Literary Agent Reveals the Secrets of Success by Richard Curtis; novels by Roald Dahl and Edwidge Danticat; Moving the Mountain: The Women's Movement in America Since 1960 by Flora Davis; two novels by Louis de Bernieres; The Day of the Dinosaur by L. Sprague de Camp and Catherine Crook de Camp; four novels by Don DeLillo; The Ape and the Sushi Master: Cultural Reflections of a Primatologist by Frans de Waal; the complete poems of Emily Dickinson; novels by Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, and Isak Dinesen; Sex for One by Betty Dodson; and two novels by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Bottom shelf: three novels by Umberto Eco; Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards; The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; Folding the Universe: Origami from Angelfish to Zen by Peter Engel; novels by Laura Esquivel and Jeffrey Eugenides; Chloe Plus Olivia: An Anthology of Lesbian Literature from the Seventeenth Century to the Present edited by Lillian Faderman; Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man by Susan Faludi; novels by William Faulkner and Leslie Feinberg; Skin Deep: Women Writing on Color, Culture, and Identity edited by Elena Featherston; novels by M. F. K. Fischer, Jonathan Safran Foer, and Ford Madox Ford; That's Mr. Faggot to You by Michael Thomas Ford; novels by E. M. Forster; Minding the Body: Women Writers on Body and Soul edited by Patricia Foster; The History of Sexuality, Volume I by Michel Foucault; The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank; Campfire Chillers edited by E. M. Freeman; Six Records of a Floating Life by Shen Fu; The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean; a short story collection by Mary Gaitskill; Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner; and two books by Jean Genet (one of which is actually stacked on the floor next to the bookcase, not in it, because I moved it in order to add books to somewhere earlier in the alphabet, and then I never finished moving the rest of the alphabet). The other books stacked on the floor are The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, Dick for a Day: What Would You Do if You Had One? edited by Fiona Giles, and Learn Art in One Year by Robert Girard.

This is the view back toward my front door from my bedroom. Admire my mirrored coat rack next to my front door, carved in the shape of two cats curled up over the mirror together! My Aunt Kitty sent me that as a present many years ago. She also sent me a Christmas tree ornament as a present more recently, and since I have no plans to ever own a Christmas tree, I hung the Christmas tree ornament on an unused peg of the coat rack. It's still there. I think that by leaving it up all year round, I've radically deconstructed its Christian origins and reconstructed it as simply a random metal sculpture in the shape of a gold star and some glass beads. :p

In the kitchen, we have better views of a David Bowie poster and the painting over my kitchen sink. Through my window you can see a light outside on the landing. It should be noted that I virtually never open any of my blinds except for the purpose of taking pictures. I opened them for pictures because even though I don't open them normally, I still have an awareness of what I would see through them if I did open them, and you wouldn't have that if I didn't open them.

One way to verify that the kitchen you are in is mine is to look in my cupboards. If you are in my kitchen, you will find in my cupboards approximately one gazillion boxes of Pasta-Roni. And those few slightly smaller boxes on the right side of the middle shelf are my very occasional Rice-a-Roni. Then when my taste buds are feeling really adventurous, I might even venture up to the top shelf for some ramen or boxed macaroni and cheese.

My refrigerator is covered with abnormal amounts of magnetic poetry. And through my window, you can see the window of my neighbors across the hall.

In my freezer, you will find things that are not Pasta-Roni. Namely: two giant tubs of ice cream, an additional gallon of ice cream (do you think I like ice cream? really?), some frozen individual-sized pizzas, and a partial loaf of potato bread. And some ice trays. The ice is mostly useful for tying into my hair when I'm uncomfortably hot. Also, please note that my stupid apartment complex has stuck me with a ridiculously antiquated freezer that doesn't automatically defrost itself, so every few months I have to turn the refrigerator off and wait for all that ice on the top and on the walls to melt away, and then dump all the water out, so that the ice doesn't break the freezer. It's really quite annoying.

The other annoying part about having a freezer that doesn't automatically defrost itself is that the liquid from the ice in the freezer continually drips down into the refrigerator, making everything in the refrigerator soggy (so whatever you do, don't ever leave any open containers of food in my refrigerator, or they will turn all watery and scary) and collecting in a giant pool of water on the bottom of my refrigerator. I do not enjoy being forced to put up with this kind of behavior from my refrigerator. Anyway, what you will find when looking in my refrigerator is that I am fond of milk, orange juice, applesauce, root beer, Tropical Punch Soda, little individually packaged containers of Orange Mango fruit pieces, and . . . Fleischmann's Bread Machine Yeast.

This concludes your tour of my apartment. Maybe next time, you can actually come over in person.
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