Thursday, July 9, 2009

"Every man's memory is his private literature."

Alduos Huxley

I found a folder of drafts and notes from college and from my year in Pennsylvania. It’s very exciting for me to look through my writing and discover quite a bit that can be re-worked and perhaps used for some good. I am particularly excited to discover notes from my time at the dairy farm, when I worked for an old man with too many cows and no hope. The Harold notes, take up the majority of the folder and some are very good. I worked for Harold the year after college, while living with my good friend, who was an actress in a small-town theatre. It was the hardest job I’d ever had – 10-12 hour days with no lunch break, outdoors, or in Harold’s drafty barn. At night I dreamt I was at work, mucking an un-ending row of filthy stalls. But in the evenings, and on Sundays – our one day off, we had such good times. I kept my pottery wheel in my bedroom and threw at night when I couldn’t stand another work dream, we read E.B. White and Hemmingway incessantly, and wandered the town, running, walking, drinking, talking, and learning to see the world well.

Harold didn’t understand why I needed Sundays off. He was forever telling me of all the things he would do on Sunday if I would only come in to work. His nephew worked Sundays, but the boy was “Trash”, and “so wretched he hates hisself”, and so could never be relied upon to help with all the important projects. Harold remembered his one good employee, Kurt, who would work seven-days a week, 5am to midnight, and longer if need be. Kurt never asked for days off, he never took breaks, he never complained. When I would drive away, at seven in the evening, after a long December day of frozen manure, broken machinery, and spilled milk, Harold would watch me go - shaking his head and thinking of Kurt.

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