#11 The Wallace Archive (A Research Visit amidst Personal Musings) – a temporary break with blog convention (well this one) as I conduct research at The Harry Ransom Center, Austin, TX

s.i.g.n. (acronym)…

sign that being an electrical socket is not all that easy after all (look at their tortured little faces). and the lower socket appears to have weight issues…

Day Eleven:

picture the scene. alarm goes off at 5:30am – sister has to be on campus to prepare for a class by 7:30am. hit snooze, then hit it again. sister shouts through, “campus not open ’til 10 – go back to sleep.” ok. lying there thinking – wish i could go back to sleep. sister shouts again at 9:45am, “are you getting up?” yes, yes i am. protein shake, coffee, and off we go.

deposit some snickerdoodle cookies at the ransom center reception (2nd floor), with the caveat that eating them is not obligatory and that they can trash them if they wish – i mean, a brit cooking snickerdoodles for texans – the impudence. assured that said cookies will indeed be enjoyed by the library reading room team, i saunter in and take my usual seat. one day last week someone else sat in the seat for a half day session, but other than that my behind has been parked in the same exact chair the whole time in the reading room – changing seating position willy-nilly, on some sort of ad-hoc, devil-may-care, reckless descent into the hell of spontaneity is not my idea of fun.

that being said, i get on with the matter at hand. today is the day where i am forced to laugh the most whilst picking my way through the torturously small handwriting that is inscribed on pads, loose leaf, journals, etc. although much of what wallace wrote about was disturbing, unsettling, lonely, and a whole host of other adjectives that i need not list, there is so much humour in his works. today’s particular treat was reading the pieces about stecyk in the pale king. on my scribbled notes of yellow paper, in my scrawliest handwriting i’ve actually written: ‘stecyk (just plain funny!). i have two more full days of research left. tomorrow should see me complete my list of containers/boxes, and so the last day is a kind of bonus day where i can revisit materials and take sharper pictures (did them on the ipad for the first day and a half and the quality is awful – iphone much better). i may even throw a couple of wildcards in there – wallace’s own annotated books from his personal library.

talking of humour, the funniest moment of the day came whilst wistfully staring out of a window facing the courtyard out front of the ransom center. a young guy was walking a diagonal line across the courtyard when something fell out of a tree from a great height right in front of him, almost hitting him i might add. it looked like a branch or something, but no sooner had it hit the ground than the thing went scuttling off from the scene. said guy kind of did a swerve thing without really slowing his stride, and maintained an almost androidish calm – no hysterics, no jumping, gasping, or any other stuff one might expect. the thing turned out to be a squirrel. looks like it chose the wrong branch to bear down with its weight. so there you go. that’s a first for me, but now we know that squirrels can, and do, fall out of trees. who knew? and after scuttling away (under one of the heavy set concrete benches dotted around the areas of segregated florae) it actually behaved in a way that if you’d been watching it, as i was, you’d have thought it was embarrassed about what had just happened – more embarrassed than the terminator it almost fell atop of.

oh, and the ziploc bag of cookies – almost all gone as i headed on out of there…

About the textual silence project...

...reading, thinking, and thinking about reading... ...and then writing... View all posts by the textual silence project...

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