In Paul Auster’s latest, Winter Journal, written in the second person, he lists his 21 permanent addresses–or, acknowledging the inadequacy of the adjective, his stopping places.
Enclosures, habitations, the small rooms and large rooms that have sheltered your body from the open air. Beginning with your birth at Beth Israel Hospital in Newark, New Jersey (February 3, 1947) and traveling onward to the present (this cold January morning in 2011), these are the places where you have parked your body over the years–the places, for better or worse, that you have called home.
21 numbered entries that take up 52 pages and that include:
- the specific address
- a description of the place
- the ages he lived there
- a memory or memories
Here’s one of the shortest ones:
3. 253 Irving Avenue; South Orange, New Jersey. A two-story white clapboard house built in the 1920’s, with a yellow front door, a gravel driveway, and a large backyard. Age 5-12. The site of nearly all your childhood memories. You began living there so long ago, the milk was delivered by horse-drawn wagon for the first year of two after you moved in.
I just made a quick count. 12 on my list. And I’m looking forward to plumping up these addresses with details.
How many stopping places on your list?