When first I saw The House from my car on Dune, I was awed. It was a remarkable structure, a resort mansion in figure, but constructed from Beech wood and glass – lots of glass – with red earthen shingling and Doric attentions, post-and-lintel porticoes, and balconies so encroaching upon Atlantic airspace that It must have been rezoned before It was completed. The most prominent feature of The House was Its enormous spiral staircase, enclosed by an inch of crystal transparency, and mounted upon the building’s most obvious facet. It was loud, a postmodern assembly of absurd design elements that made me want to yell back at It – like a woman in Louis Vuitton pumps proudly dismissing the “DO NOT WALK” signal as she shuffles across Market Street in the late afternoon. The House was hardly a thing of art, but It was supremely beautiful, and I loved It.
That’s the reason I burnt it down. Or at least my justification. I could never own The House, and I wouldn’t ever want to -- it was too Hollywood Hills for my entire appreciation. But I wanted to have business with It, to be important to It. I wanted to know It, to watch Its layers peel away, and smell the soil from which Its wood came; to feel the holistic energy of The House’s matter; to realize the pungent distillates and tinctures that cured The House of the rot and weather that might have otherwise destroyed It. Now, It was eternal, gone from the world and into me. I’d exhausted Its expression, sucked Its meaning out – and that meaning will stay with me forever. I just wish I could have done something with the glass; it was among the reasons I burnt The House down, but the fury of my aesthetic wasn’t hot enough to transmute it.