You visit the Carnegie Library of your Oregon City youth, the one that underwent a substantial upgrade a while back. It used to be small and brick now it is large, and still brick but with glass, too. You thank that dead steel billionaire magnate for his philanthropy a century (and change) ago. This is what American billionaires used to do with their money to atone for their sins. Now they fly into space.
You consider your Oregon City youth and the hundreds and hundreds of hours spent in this library, reading sports biographies and military history, and also, a few years later, a little red hardback book about the human sexuality published in the 1950s, that you consulted when you thought you were going to have sex for the first time, but didn’t. A few of the books you’ve written are now on the shelves of the library of your youth. It was an interesting creative journey to have made that happen, but then again, every writer can say that.
After reading some old atlases and not finding any decent periodicals to peruse, you walk up the hill to the used bookstore whose proceeds support the library’s operation.. It opens in ten minutes so you decide to keep walking around and taking in a few sights connected to your personal history.
First, is the pharmacy, now turned real estate shop, that did not sell condoms back in 1981, so you and your girlfriend had to go to the only place in town that did sell them, the bowling alley. There, you and your girlfriend flipped a coin in the car to see who had to go inside, into the restroom, and slide the coins in the slot.
You also past the building of what used to be a church that you briefly attended in junior high. In the basement of this church, during a break from some youth group activity, you made out with a blonde girl slightly older and taller than you. She wore her hair in pigtails.
The nostalgia tour concludes, and you enter the bookstore and drift toward the classics. There, you find a book by Jack Kerouac, The Lonesome Traveler, that you’ve never read, and a collection of erotic tales by Anais Nin called Delta of Venus. You read its preface and learn that Henry Miller briefly wrote erotic tales in 1940 for a dollar a page for some anonymous New York client who paid Miller through some shifty bibliophile middleman. This story startles you because it surely ranks as one of the greatest obscure stories in the history of American literature. It makes you laugh because your write erotic tales for NOTHING but would certainly take a dollar page 80 years later just for kicks,
Now consider this: library, book about sex; pharmacy, no condoms; church basement, making out with pig tailed blonde Christian; used bookstore, Henry Miller writing erotica for a dollar a page and you write it for free.
What’s that kind of circle called?