My entire life has been a sort of déjà vu. Circular worlds, never time expressed linear, a sailor ever sailing concentric.
While living in New York City, it got so bad that I began living manic. In love with words, I’ve never lost the desire to look up any who introduce themselves. Sometimes I become aware of a word that I know I have never read or heard before, but then I start hearing and reading it everywhere. In gambling and science something like this is called bunching. The roulette doesn’t go red/black/red/black/red. Roulette tables are for screams and grief. Black/black/black/black/black. So you bet red? BLACK again. Bunching happens. But that doesn’t mean I have to like it.
And not only with new words, sometimes it happens with the absurd too. Always I have deeply identified with Pinocchio. First Disney’s little donkey boy, later the dark, much taller Italian. Pinocchio and I are kindred—questing for authenticity—baffled by our lies. I understand you Pinocchio, truth is overmuch revealing.
Back to NYC, the city where Paul Auster’s characters also suffer the malaise of déjà vu. Districts for everything. Diamonds. Fur. Dance. Sex. Books. Advertising. Poetry. Sex. And thrift. Which is where, appropriately, I found Pinocchio. Again.
A discard hiding in a stack of old cookbooks froze me into the posture of one slightly afraid to proceed. A very early edition of Pinocchio full with stunning pencil sketches of a gaunt but phallic Pinocchio, and his almost Uncle Lester styled Geppetto. The girl wanted twelve dollars. I would have paid a hundred or more. Buying that book began a month of hell and wonder. And for the first time in my life, the circles, the impossible bunching, all of it, had a name—the Pinocchio effect.
Few waking hours passed that month where I didn’t hear or read the word Pinocchio. No hour of sleep was absent his name. At first it was amusing. Ha! The whole world loves Pinocchio as I do. All these people, they never mentioned Pinocchio before, not once. Not my boss, or clients, or the hot dog guy and his passerby. It soon wasn’t funny. It is exhausting to wonder if you are mad. I quickly grew tired of suspecting the world was only a theater stage, where I was the only one not acting.
I still have that book somewhere. Hopefully in a box. The Pinocchio incident was years ago. I can’t remember the last time I heard someone mention him. Years and years and not a single Pinocchio dropped in conversation. There is a restaurant in the desert town where I now lived called Pinocchio’s. It took courage to eat there, I went alone. Just a place for omelets really, not a portal of any kind.