Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I knew if I stayed home, yesterday, nothing would get done. Just a little too excited about Election Day to work in the studio. My wife and I had mailed in our absentee ballots the previous week, everyone can mark that as two votes AGAINST Senator Conrad Burns of Montana. They could have run a freakin’ killer grizzly bear against that SOB and I would have voted for the bear. Schools were closed since so many election centers are actually stationed in their facilities. So off we went to cruise around central New Mexico with a predictable destination of Albuquerque. Inevitably, I had to make a stop at… Goodwill (or Badwill as my children have come to call it).

I have a sickness… a true issue concerning the loving and hoarding of utter crap. This is a problem considering how often I choose to pack-up and move. It first happened years ago when I noticed a thrift store called “Teen Challenge” was located right next door to the gallery where I served as Assistant Director in southern Missouri. I had an affinity for old Super 8mm movie equipment and they frequently stocked my drug of choice. Years later, I rediscovered the thrift store addiction in the Goodwill stores of Montana, Idaho and Washington (Seattle has a huge store). The new item of my affection – cheap books. Quite by accident, I came to understand that the type of books I enjoy are often rejected by used book stores (lack of interest by the general populace) and thus often end-up in the $1 racks of Goodwill. Although, I dare say the Gideons and followers of the Mormon faith seem to be heavy suppliers of “materials” for Goodwill donation bookracks, there is also a high percentage of former purveyors of non-fiction adventure memoirs, travel narratives, philosophy texts and national parks photo-guidebooks. Therefore, me likey a lot.

Yesterday, I bought the travel memoir: The Jew in the Lotus about a man’s rediscovery of his Jewish roots via a journey through Tibet and India to meet the Dali Lama; a guidebook to the history of barn construction titled: An Age of Barns (very excited about using this one in a new series of work that will take the kitsch barn paintings that surrounded my youth and thrust them into a contemporary abstracted minimalist context); and Those Who Came Before: Southwestern Archeology in the National Park System – which is basically an in depth study of the people that populated the southwest a thousand years ago.

I also have a strange habit of what I term… good book rescue. If I see a dirt-cheap ($1 or less) copy of a book that has made a significant impact on my life – I buy it and give it away at a later date (often to strangers I encounter in the course of a day). There really isn’t a specific list of books that I search for; it is more an issue of running across one and feeling bad that it is considered seemingly worthless. Most often I find my self “rescuing” books by William Least Heat-Moon, Jon Krakauer, Hemingway and any of the beat writers (particularly Kerouac). In just the last week, I bought and gave away copies of Fountainhead (Rand), Blue Highways (Heat-Moon) and Into Thin Air (Krakauer). I probably lost a total of 75 cents on the venture; but what did the world gain if the strangers I gave the books to actually take the stories to heart? – DN


Anonymous said...

Good place to look for books or to even leave books for others to read is You leave a book at a particular sight and register it on the web site, then someone will pick it up read it and pass it on to another person or site. You can track it if you like as people post where it has gone and where. Maybe you could be a new book crosser! Smooches John said...

Thanks, John.
I looked and now I'm hooked! - DN