Books


I’ve begun reading “I Am Legend” by Richard Matheson out of preparation for the movie release.  It’s hard not to say that what the book is about seems to be nothing like what the previews I’ve seen portray.  True, you have the “last man on earth” thing going, and there were references to a disease, something involving martial law imposed on what looked like NYC… but zero about vampires.  It’s a little irritating when producers or directors or whoever is responsible for making the decisions doesn’t trust that the actual story will be enough to draw an audience, and so lie (mostly by omision) about the plot, leaving enough interpretation space open to allow for other possibilities.  Had Jeff from class not turned me on to the novel that the movie (presumably) is based on – published in 1954 no less – I don’t know if I would have had to opportunity to investigate this direction.

There’s a question swirling in my head involving the possibility of allegory.  But it hasn’t grown into anything yet.

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There are so many surfaces on which to write. I’ve got a journal for my more intellectual ideas. I’ve got a half-hearted (but with some meaningful entries) diary for the more personal stuff no one wants to hear about.  And then there’s all the online spaces that range from email to Facebook/MySpace to this blog. All of which makes writing in any one place difficult or at least riddled with obstacles.

Living – Ben, brother of Aaron, moved out. Ryan, cousin, moved in. This should be a good change. I’m looking forward to having someone who is interested in cooking and having a clean apartment to live with. And he’s bringing the mother of tvs with him. A huge-ass flat screen tv with all the surround sound and other gizmos to make it all worth while.

Also, I now have a 3 month old Papillon puppy named Zero. He’s got all the common puppy problems but is wicked cute, affectionate, fearless (except when really big dogs run him over), and small.

School – Lastest update for Dartmouth is the summer. I was hoping for the spring term, but I’m trying to be realistic there. I don’t even know what classes are being offered at present. As soon as the old health-insurance deal is settled, I’m back.

Job – I just got hired for a new job involving non-food items and a couple grocery stores. Lots of work but good pay and room to grow. I want this.

Reading – Almost done with “A Prayer for Owen Meany”, finally. I finished Nabokov’s “The Gift” and CS Lewis’ “Out of the Silent Planet”… moving quickly into “Perelandra” and to finish the trilogy off with “That Hideous Strength”. Side readings are “In Search of the Miraculous”, Hesse’s “The Glass Bead Game”, and Girard’s “Oedipus Unbound”.

Italo Calvino is the man! He’s right up there along side Danielewski and Borges for me. He’s awesome and the stories that he writes are what I wish I could write if I were to take that ambition seriously. I just finished his “If on a winter’s night a traveler“, and bloody hell did it rock. As extroverted (and introverted I suppose) as “House of Leaves” and as much a love story as “Only Revolutions“. Essentially a book about reading (or at least the attempt to do so) and all the different situations in which reading and interpreting come in to play. It’s awesome. Awesome awesome. Definitely recommended to anyone with off the beaten path tendencies.

So how do you psychoanalyze someone who isn’t there? If all you’ve got is a bad taste in your mouth from years past, a resistance to deal, and two books? And what if those two books are “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance” and “Old Man and the Sea”? What conclusions could you draw?

I’m thinking we’ve got to dig into these books.

Consider the first. Zen tells me that we’re dealing with severe repression. The fact that the main character suffers from split personality and that the good half might in fact be the repressed half. Hard to say exactly, but it seems then that the psychoanalyst would say that my subject is suggesting from the subconcious level the actual condition. The guise would be the surface level distractors: zen, motorcycles, the question of quality, good literature, etc. What seems to be lacking is the 50k volt destruction of the condition.

Moving on to Hemingway. It seems to be rather vague. Even if I consider it within the context of the first book, all I can come up with (and this is very loose) that the subconcious repressed good personality has tried to emerge, but no longer has the capactity to do so. Seems to make sense.

And when I said psychoanalyst I don’t mean to suggest I’m going to get into the whole castration issue. It seems pointless and I already think that Freud is nuts enough, stuck on the issue of sexuality when raw human desire is much more at the forefront (just not as immediately appealing).

From here, I don’t know where I will go. But I think it was good for me to get it down, regardless of who actually understands what I’m doing. This is important, and it has to be done eventually.

Charlotte Observer | 11/13/2006 | Principals sprint with 3-minute class checks

Interesting practical use of ideas first presented to me by Macolm Gladwell’s “Blink“. I’m glad to see that the use isn’t an all out extreme version of what I read about, but something more moderate and useful.

Tomorrow is my nominal birthday. Two days ago I was freed from a number of predicaments that were limiting my actions. Now I’m here, full (once again) of possibility and potential. So the next move is to get a car, to open up more possibilities surrounding jobs. Margaritas just doesn’t make me happy (the best way to put it). The tutoring job that I was hoping for isn’t as positive as it was a week ago, though still possible. Just difficult.

My current reading is a number of books, still “A Prayer for Owen Meany” which I’ve been working on for a long time now. Then there’s Simon’s “The Necronomicon“, Gaston Bachelard’s “The Poetics of Space“, and Joseph Smith’s “The Book of Mormon“.  None of them are exactly pleasure books I suppose. Owen Meany is a good book but slow enough in plot that I’m having trouble staying focused.

Necronomicon is a book that is just weird and interesting for the (fictional) history surrounding it, and I’m seeing more and more possible connections between that and Danielewski’s “House of Leaves“. An imagined source delivered despite constant hardship, chaos, and insanity. Both books are about there being more space available and the horror of experiencing that space. I’ll have to write more on that later (I always say that, don’t I?) when I finish “Necronomicon”… there might be some good stuff there. And that would bring in an irony to reading about the poetics of space, subtitled “The Classic Look at How We Experience Intimate Places“. Then again, Bachelard’s book is one of the few titles in “House of Leaves” that is real. [Extra thought: is it possible to analyze the Book of Mormon in terms of HoL and Necronomicon? Think about Borges and his short stories.]
I need some Captain Crunch. Hunger is kicking in.

And after all that, all I really wanted to discuss was that I am at an interesting place in my life right now. After all the terrible circumstances of the past five months preceded by the three months of blind building chaos, I’m ready for something a little more even keel.

I just finished Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises“. I probably shouldn’t have read it. I did simply for the feat of having Hemingway in my head somewhere. At the same time, it’s a modernist piece that reminds me a lot of “Catcher in the Rye” in terms of tone. Maybe a little lighter, but similar.

However, now I’m wishing I had a group of literary friends who sat around, got drunk in interesting places and had bizarre conversations about this or that arbitrary merit – while we all compared progress on artistic endeavors. Manchester, NH isn’t the place for something like that I guess. At least not that I’ve seen so far.

In the meantime, I have to chose my next book. I’ve a couple already begun, and there’s always my Girard books to read… but I’m thinking of finding something different. I always say that. “I want to read something I wouldn’t normally read.” Hemingway was something out of the ordinary. As is the Book of Mormon (something I’m not a big fan of). Maybe I’ll just finish off some of the books I’ve already started.

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