Monday, August 3, 2009

Personal History As Cosmic Mess Or Vice Versa: A Photo Essay Of Houses

In the interest of exploiting personal myth towards historical ends (after all, what is the point of art but self-exploitation?), and inspired by the fact I just moved again, I'd like to dabble in a photo-essay chronicling the houses I've lived in while living in the Bay Area, those post-collegiate years where, for better or for worse much of my manhood played out, ridiculously at certain times, heroically at others, most often with staid, quotidian grace, the perfect trait of the pedestrian.

And walking is my forte.

I like taking pictures and matching them with words. It's a very simple yet effective way to create a story with multiple insinuations.

So A Brief History Of Homes. . .beginning with

The Lower Haight, a cat on my gut, when I was reading Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, also featuring a cat.

Onward to the infamous Capp St., with the writing room where very little writing was done.

And the tea party where very little tea was drunk.

and there was the kitchen with the shit-clogged windows next to the Gothic Buddhist temple.

And the bicycle in harsh contrast with the checkered floors.

And then the exodus to Oakland, a dream of lake-mist and scaffolding.

Where a "house" was secured in the Far West of the City, a house with dirty windows and a red door and faded yellow bricks.

With a room that was a "fixer-upper" to put it mildly.

And the foyer was a veritable junkyard fit for a king of sorts.

And our hallway, like the loading dock behind an Edwardian dance hall, was always decked out with the most fascinating props.

Which opened up onto your standard, suburban living room.

And from the interior ship's balcony, our kitchen proved not too shabby either.

But then I moved East in Oakland to the place called San Antonio where the skyline was like this:

The water trickled ashore into fake ruins, gnarled trees, odd little copses of greenery where people rolled around and mock marriages were held.

I moved into a house that was about 140 years old, according to the commemorative plaque next to the door, a house that included weird medical-style drawers in the kitchen as well as an attic that was as big as a small church and full of tiny crawlspaces and alcoves. (Unfortunately I neglected to photograph it.)

Nearby was this weird turf that looked like a maze at night. . .

Although East of the Lake was often warm, sunny and humid, there were days when the whole lake was obliterated by fog. . .

Sometimes I dreamt of living in other houses that were nearby. . .
It was the first time I ever lived with strangers, so I spent lots of time decorating my study
walls to indicate what type of human they were dealing with. . .

I also took moody, self-portraits before I hit the town. . .

I refer to it as a"tough" time in my life, but really how tough was it?

Anyway things happened and I moved again, this time back across the pond into a house with friends, a place that was well-wooded and mariner-themed and generally felt to be a cozy container ship full of the coolest people ever, all of us set sail for a life of red wine, boisterous laughter and baroque schemes that went well past midnight, much to the bemusement of the landlord below.

Among the first ship's mates were these wonderful ladies:

Some of the rooms in the house were truly astonishing examples in mood music.

My own room let in the most oceanic light of any place I've ever lived in.

The Inner Sunset was a neighborhood with interesting twilights and good strong sea smells.

There were evenings there where things got out of hand and people walked the ceilings.

With good tidings, I went abroad and stayed in 25 hostels and came back without a house. But then I found a place and a new neighborhood which has been well documented here.

That proved to be a weird year, and so I moved again. And that's where I am now, 152 Park St., Bernal Heights. No photographs yet.

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