Little Book of Days, by Nona Caspers

This book could be thought of as a diary, a commonplace book, a writer’s notebook, or as an assortment of prose poems…. Caspers keeps track of what it feels like living in an apartment overlooking a specific intersection in San Francisco’s Mission district — see map — a space she preserves for us in rather the same way that a part of Sei Shonagon’s life is forever preserved in The Pillow Book.

“The truth about romantic love is that it has little to do with peace or security. Security is illusion, everyone knows. Peace comes from inside.” — Little Book of Days

We get the colors of passing cars, transcriptions of overheard street conversations, assorted facts about pigeon and squirrel biology, the noises made by upstairs neighbors, memories and confessions, the sounds of the city. Sometimes monks pass. There are references to relationships that are over and, towards the end, one that may be starting, but that’s about it for plot — Caspers seeks here to do justice to the richness of the present moment, the incoherence of consciousness that constantly gives rise to unexpected or contradictory meanings.

“There is something new in my body. A new sound, a buzzing. Like a refrigerator motor. There it is. No, it’s gone now.” — Little Book of Days

Caspers tries to do yoga while cars honk outside. She does some people watching. She buys a rug, experiences aches and pains: what she’s after is the feeling of dailiness… If I’d been in a different mood, this might not have been the book I wanted, but in the mood I happened to be in, it was. It reminded me that the ordinary is so strange that we generally forget to notice it. Onnesha Roychouldhuri also wrote about this book for the Rumpus.

“Arctic ground squirrels dream. Scientists know this. They wake up because they dream. What do they dream about? Topsoil? Sun? Arctic wolves galloping towards them? — Little Book of Days
pinit fg en rect gray 20 Little Book of Days, by Nona Caspers
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