I have often shamelessly appropriated the technique of dictating a list of potently symbolic objects and stirring them up like a recipe into something more resonant than the component parts – most recently with the growing Fortress Longing reading list (more on that in a later post) and the reference in the Introduction to Fortress Longing podcast of the contents of the flight table, and the Andalucian hotel floor.
I first stole the technique from Leonard Cohen when I was a boy. It appeared in a two part piece called The Pure List and the Commentary in Flowers for Hitler. (The whole volume can now be read on Scribd, though I am not at all sure of the legal standing of this.)
This is point 6 from the commentary. Happy Birthday, Mr. Cohen!
“Albert Hotel sixth floor seven thirty p.m. On the scratched table I set out in a row a copper bust of Stalin, a plaster of paris bust of Beethoven, a china jug shaped like Winston Churchill’s head, a reproduction of a fragment of the True Cross, a small idol, a photograph of a drawing of the Indian chief Pontiac, hair, an applicator used for artificial insemination. I undressed and waited for power.”