Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Da Bears

I realized that I haven't posted in a while, and I think my decaf was regular today so I am speeeeeeding along. That, or I'm bi-polar, and tomorrow will suck.

Anyhow, had the distinct pleasure of attending Tuesday night dinner with a room full of bears who watch trashy TV last night. Actually, they all used to be bears, but they are now post-bear, or as I was told post-post bear. And if you want a laugh, try a bunch of bears making fun of bear culture. I never studied the intricacies, but it was fun hearing them joke about it. But the most fun was watching Project Runway with a group of guys. Hysterical. Through the miracle of TiVo, we were able to stop and start the program, freezing on Emmet when he was knocked out. (Did we really think Emmett was going to last through the ice-skating challenge?) One of the guys said "he looks like an alien who is trying to remember the human protocol. He's like the the man who fell to Runway." And sure enough, if you freeze on Emmett, that's exactly what he looked like. I loved Zulema's eyeshadow, though the dress reminded me fo a cross between internal tubing and breakfast cereal. It won.

We were also able to see last night's episode of American Idol, spurring more serial killers with every audition, and reinforcing as many stereotypes along the way. The whole Rhonetta thing was such a reinforcement of the L'il Kim thing, and went on way too long. Ugh. And did anyone else notice the framing of the girl whose father was in prison and lived with her Granfather was exactly the same framing as Parker Posey's character in Waiting for Guffman when she moves back to Alabama after her father is released from Prison? Coincidence?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

If you were a tree

Here's another reason art is dead, again. The reviewer comes to the conclusion that the work is worthwhile pretty much only for "the thought and counter-thought that swirls around [the] work. Love it. Art as only an exercise for the critic. I suppose this is supposed to spur thought, or make us look at it differently, but it's a friggin' tree. The florid prose is self-serving. Geez. I'm glad he had this experience, but my god, take a walk in the park and look at some tree bark. Although I imagine it's hard to see with your head up your ass.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Couple of Interests

Just wanted to share a link to this disturbing, informative, and heartbreaking series that the New York Times is doing on Diabetes. Truly fascinating about diesase, poverty, and profit, among other things. Also, about where we could be as a country very soon.

And, speaking of interesting, I'm reading Freakonomics right now and loving it. Completely engaging, and thought-provoking. I'm sure there are some controversial studies in it (like the correlation between legal abortion and lower crime in the early and mid-90's), but it's done in such a wide-eyed, data-rich way it's hard to argue with. And I think people's responses to the work are just as telling.

Friday, January 06, 2006

The 365- 6

I don't think I'm posting these--I thnk it will be an effort just for myself. Then I can be as navel-gazing/sefl-pitying/artsy as I wanna be, and no one will ever know. I think I like that.

Listening to the new Kate Bush, which, unsurprisingly, sounds a lot like the old Kate Bush. Although now she has songs about her son and a housecleaner. Still atmospheric, repetetive, and strangely alluring. I love that some people have a sound so unique it could be no one else, and no one could imitate it. Kate Bush is one of those people.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Update on Didion

I find this letter to Joan Didion about her review to Woody Allen's movies fascinating for a few reasons.

Read it here.

What her criticism of his films seems to have been is that no one sits around talking about relationships, except adolescents. And here we have her latest book, for which she won the National Book Award, all about her relationships and searching for meaning--a very Allen-esque pasttime, although admittedly in a different vein. What is most interesting to me about her dismissal of Woody Allen, though, is that the life she describes--tony New York neighborhood, intellectuals, the best hotels and whim-ish trips abroad--is a life that seems out of a Woody Allen movie. And perhpas an idea for his next film. Huh--how we see ourselves, and how we come across--altogether different. And I love her response.

Year of Magical Thinking

I just finished reading Joan Didion's new memoir of the year after her husband's death, The Year of Magical Thinking. I was interested, rapt I suppose, in this book as I read it. It captures grief in a way that I have not read very much before, and she is fearless in exposing her life without giving us too much information or things that are embarassingly personal. I am struck with her summations near the end--trying to keep him alive, figuring out what she could have done, reliving the moment. I thought of what we do whenever there is a smaller accident--a cut finger, a bruise from a fall--how we can live over that moment and think what we could have done to avoid that little bit of pain. How much greater it is with a life she explores here. A lot of her process is trying to change, figure out her part, figure out how she could have prevented it, etc. The entire situat9ion is exacerbated by her daughter's strange and sudden illness, and spending much of her time in hospitals, worrying about her daughter. It's very upsetting, and more so as we've come to feel we know Didion a little, to know that after this book was finished her daughter died as well. I can't imagine.
I also found the book interesting for the life she describes. She is definitely priveleged, and it would be easy to think there is no reason to feel bad for her, with talks of trips to Paris, every day meals at Morton's, houses in Malibu, Brentwood, and the Upper East Side. We are aware, as she is, of how connected she is, the people she can call, the names she can casually drop. But though this could come off as haughty or self-important, it seems more just the honest recollections of a woman trying to find answers and coming up empty-handed. There are problems, there are tough times, and those aren't wallowed in either. What we have is an author trying to work through her grief doing the one thing she knows how to do: write. Near the end of the book, she shares a story of her husband John re-reading a passage in one of her earlier books to figure out how it worked technically. It was her Birthday and he looked up and said "Don't ever tell me again you can't write. That's my Birthday present to you." After reading this affecting memoir, I would agree.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

He is Riz

I am always looking for ways the Christ story fits with other myths/traditions/stories from other cultures. Currently, I'm reading Joan Didion's The Year of Magical Thinking. She describes (ppg. 150-153) her need to reread Euripides' Alcestis, which she hadn't read since she had been a teenager. Anyhow, she mentions that Alcestis agrees to die for her husband, and she is actually allowed to come back from the land of the dead, in what Didion calls a "remarkably (even for 430 B.C.) clumsy deus ex machina." What's interesting is that no one can hear Alcestis' voice until "she is purified from her consecration to the Lower Gods, and until the third dawn is risen." Huh. Three days. I seem to remember having to say "..after three days he rose again" in the Nicene Creed every Sunday in High School when I was dragged to the Lutheran Church. I wonder if there is any other tradition in which there are three days until resurrection. In the Buddhist tradition the spirit is finally gone from the Earth after three years. Maybe it's the number three. (Ecumenical) food for thought.

The 365 - 3

Tomorrow I wear normal shoes
That don't announce as I walk
Across a marble floor.
That don't hold me
An inch or two above the ground,
Comfortable, quiet shoes to not intrude.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

The 365--Part One

I'm at a friend's in New Mexico, with the first Barbra Streisand special from 1965 in the background, wondering once again why they cut "The only music that makes me dance" from the movie of Funny Girl. Such a great song.

But--the real reason I'm writing is that it's New Year's day, and I have had this idea for a time. I've wanted to do some automatic writing for myself--prose, poetry, dialogue--just see what comes out. And I'd like to write something every day. So I figured about as many people read this as my journal (me), that I might as well do it on line, as I will have a brand-spanking new cable modem soon, as it's about the same as dialup. Who knew? So this way I can write, put it out there, and not edit. And it's more of a commmitment this way. If I'm away from a computer, I'll just use paper (which, truth be told, I like better). And it hopefully won't be the navel-gazing obsessing of journaling.

So it's late, I'm not sure what I want to write if anything, so I'll leave with an image. I've been having some intense dreams lately--scary, crazy, intense. I don't remember most of them, but here's an image I woke up with recently. I am underwater, looking at myself from under myself. The sun is shining down in the water, and I can see it from where I am, looking over my own left shoulder. I think I'm wearing a turtleneck. I can swim, but my body is floating. Perhaps in pain. Perhaps floating--it's hard to tell from underneath.

So, not prose, not much, just an image. I hope to keep to this, and not cheat with criticism. Memoir, or me-moir as I like to call it, may pop up it's self-fascinated little head. We'll see. And movie reviews, etc., but those don't count for this. Watch for the title "the 365". One day at a time, right?

Well, happy New Year. Hopefully it will be a great one for everyone. And here we go....