"Can" B. Worth
Feeding the Birds - Part Nine
The Small Inside - Inside the Large Inside
I was not hearing voices. Dead Can had been hearing voices. FOR DECADES. He listened to the voices. He liked the voices.
Mrs. Worth, Dead Can’s wife, put the photograph of the reading table AND the clipped newspaper obituary on the second presentation board. The school filled the first board. Mrs. Worth left promptly without retrieving her two contributions. The school took them down. Too.
Did Mrs. Worth really have no other photograph to show of her …husband and the father of her children? I doubt it. She picked THIS ONE. Why? Because… it represented… actually very accurately… exactly what SHE knew about Dead Can’s, to her, outside world. HE was …outside HER inside… and she knew this well, protected it and understood very well herself for decades that THAT READING TABLE was THE ONLY THING she ever saw or knew about “my husband”. Unlike the absurd workbench with its tools in HER nasty neat basement (“Can” B. Worth – Part Twelve) that Dead Can NEVER touched ever… but was “his” by Mrs. Worth’s territorial definition, the reading table was the ONLY THING in the whole house that “was his” by HIS words. HE maintained THIS TINY frontier outpost of his large and small insides for decades in spite of Mrs. Worth never relenting desire to “remove it”.
She always “didn’t dare”? Maybe it WAS that it WAS her husband’s, the father of her children’s, the “his work”, the “books back to the college” (“Can” B. Worth – Part Twelve again). Maybe it was that… she just didn’t dare THAT and the THAT became, after decades, the ONLY THING SHE KNEW ABOUT Dead Can. So she chose THAT photograph to …put up with his obituary… even though SHE had finally persevered at “remove it” when she …gave ME the “Trader Joes” bags (“Can” B. Worth – Part Twelve AGAIN). THAT “reading table” was NOW CLEAN and …finally after all these years… nasty neat. TOO.
A few feet away was the stoic post of the …only other outpost… Dead Can ever “had”. This was, just outside the window beside the reading table… THE POST that once held HIS bird feeder where HE watched the birds from the chair beside the window. Mrs. Worth had removed his bird feeder (“Can” B. Worth – Epilogue – Part Five). The old Tyrolean was right: “OH DID THAT break his camel’s BACK”.
It took me a long time to connect the dots between the bird feeder and Dead Can’s larger inside; his book collecting. It was only after I’d gathered the stories… FROM THE PEOPLE… that I had the dot connecting epiphany that explained the DIRECT ratio for Dead Can of his book collecting AND his bird feeder. Simply stated: Dead Can quickly became more then very proficient at book collecting, understanding book collecting, doing book collecting and …ENJOYING book collecting. This was his Large Inside; the “all” of “book collecting”.
Bird feeding; the act of feeding the birds, he TOO became proficient “at”, “understanding”, “doing” and “ENJOYING”. From his matured large inside vantage, not only were “these” (birds and books) not hard to do or understand, but they offered a pleasant world to be in… all the time. The birds come to the feeder and eat. One may watch. Book collecting was the same; a book collector was a walking bird feeder who attracted other book collectors or …book sensitive people… like Wally, the graduate students, the old Tyrolean and even the secretaries on the department’s office. One COULD “feed the birds” of book collecting on VERY HIGH LEVELS but… to Dead Can, “Why bother? Wally is good enough.” and EASY TO GET TOO, considering the “problem”. The problem was that the outside hated the inside so therefore their “the problem” of book collecting was reversed by the large inside to viewing the whole outside to be the “problem” (“Can” B. Worth – Feeding the Birds – Part One). And so, as commanding general of the local outside, Mrs. Worth was THE PROBLEM that prevented Dead Can from ever “going there”; to the top of the book collecting world where… he absolutely would have “fit in” “tight”. He didn’t care. He found happiness in those like Wally. He had a happy large inside as a book collector. And it was below notice to those “outside”.
Once I identified the birds and books ratio, I confronted the discovery of a smaller inside where Dead Can … as the old Tyrolean said “From then on he really DID live in that office” (“Can” B. Worth – Epilogue – Part Five again). It wasn’t in his office. That was a …very carefully designed prop of his large inside. He moved into his small inside. He knew it was there… because he’d been “hearing voices” from there, was listening to those voices and …liked what he heard.
I had been listening to these Dead Can’s voices for a while now too. IF I had NOT been listening, I would have tidied up his boxes, sold the good stuff, ditched the waste paper, never looked into anything and …be off somewhere screwing YOUR AUNT out of her dead grandfather’s “old books” “I inherited”. I became “has my complete attention”.
The one thing that I bring to this right here is that I …already knew about the Small Inside” of “book colleting”. It is common. Book collector’s “hear voices” and listen to them. And “see pictures”. And look at them. This is why book collectors are… talkative at first about their books and then… briskly… close tighter than a clam. It is their Small Inside that closes tight. The first thing to understand and NEVER FORGET about this small inside is that these “its” of the small inside NEVER HAVE TO BE FOCUSED. NEVER ARE FOCUSED. And ARE NEVER INTENDED TO BE FOCUSED. Like… “who wants focused?”.
I don’t. Dead Can did not. That’s the whole POINT: To …finally get somewhere… with yourself… IN YOUR LIFE to… NOT BE FOCUSED. Just let “it” and all “its” “go”. “Good bye”.
THAT’S WHERE… Dead Can’s “witch pie” came from. That’s where the clairvoyant observation to Wally about his Boy Scout axe came from. That where Dead Can’s CAN came from. Or his forty-five minute “he never looked up” …from the small inside to the large inside… shoot from a hip missive on “read to death”… came from (Feeding the Birds – Part Four – The Large Inside – Part Three). Dead Can, in his small inside, was just one mass of energy flicks of voices and pictures that he …did what ever he want / when ever he want… and if you happened to be around… preferably in his rare book large inside … YOU might “get some of it”. THIS small inside, I realized, showed EVERYTHING of Dead Can to be “a conscious” “prop”. VERY CONCIOUS… but NEVER FOCUSED. He understood… book collecting.