September 27, 2009

"It was a routine job, really." The Serial Unfolding at Sippican Cottage

enchantedplace2.jpgSomething wonderful is being posted in episodes at Sippican Cottage. Sippican, not only a star-class furniture maker, has also put in his time in contracting. The current series, part memory, part imagination, part reportage explores money, position, status and a host of other elements seldom seen. It's a kind of extended "This American Life" in prose.

I've arranged the episodes so far in a normal order so you don't have to. It's continuing on Monday. You'd best catch up now.

Some Enchanted Place "It was all you could do to keep yourself from tugging your forelock when you talked to the owners, if you ever even saw them....

So you'd walk like a shade through the byzantine halls, looking for the right door out of the hundreds, to fix something that would stay unfixed for a thousand years in a normal person's house."

Some Enchanted Place, Part Three "No house is an inanimate object....

They all have the same stuff, these people with a vapor trail of names and numerals appended to their names and phalanxes of zeroes marching to the horizon in their hidden bank accounts. They have gravel that must be gathered from a riverbank in Elysium. It doesn't even look like little stones."

Some Enchanted Place, Part Three, Episode Two "A human waxwork had answered the door....

There were stoves that looked like boilers from an ocean liner designed by Toulouse-Lautrec. Sinks like metal-lined canoes lined one wall, massive dressers lined another like a cityscape. Copper pans depended everywhere from the ceiling like stalactites. The word scullery came to mind, not kitchen. The owner of the house would never set foot in this room except to fire someone."

Sippican Cottage: Some Enchanted Place, Part Three, Episode Three "I had to think quick or I was going to be working here alone for the rest of the week....

There's a certain poise you gain from being summoned endlessly to fix things that are beyond the capacity of others to do for themselves. You can be dressed in rags, little ovals appearing on the worn bottoms of your old boots, unshorn and bedheaded, and people are still a little in awe of you if you can make a toilet flush."

Sippican Cottage: Some Enchanted Place - Chapter Four "I looked back at the blank face of the house.

There was no sign of the butler from hell, or anyone else for that matter. These people are never home. They're like royal retinues, squatting in their own possessions now and again and then leaving a few of the help to keep pedaling while they go off to another of their haunts. It's like the whole world is their tram and they get on and off on a whim. The hell with it."

Posted by Vanderleun at September 27, 2009 9:36 AM
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"It is impossible to speak in such a way that you cannot be misunderstood." -- Karl Popper N.B.: Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately. Comments that exceed the obscenity or stupidity limits will be either edited or expunged.

Humbling... isn't it....

Posted by: Bill Henry at September 28, 2009 9:14 PM