I can't decide if it's opera, or soap opera. It was David O. Selznick's followup to Gone with the Wind and was such a fiasco that it destroyed his career. The basic story is about a mixed-race woman who goes to live with distant cousins after her father is hung for killing her mother. Both brothers (predictably) fall in love with her; though you might be surprised to find that the bad brother is played by a very young Gregory Peck. (We associate him with decency, generally, so it's strange to see him as a rogue.)

The ending is... well, Chinese, to say the least. I imagined the same movie as a Chinese costume drama and it would be an enormous hit directed by Zhang Yimou or Ang Lee. (Hint: the film has a very House of Flying Daggers flavor, though I don't want to give any more away, lest anyone actually wants to watch this film.)

Read more... )
Two Mules for Sister Sara, directed by Don Siegel, (one of Eastwood's key directors,) is the closest thing I've seen to an Eastwood comedy. Eastwood's character chances upon a half-naked woman in the desert being attacked by ruffians. He quickly dispatches them, but makes her bury them. This is pretty much the way the movie works. She does all the heavy lifting and most the comic relief. Clint, as usual, plays it totally straight.

A movie that depends on a pinata filled with dynamite as a major plot point. )
From A.O. Scott's review of the remake of 3:10 to Yuma:

If it is a lesser movie — more likely to be recalled as a moderately satisfying entertainment than remembered as a classic — that may be a sign of the times. The best of the old westerns were dense with psychosexual implication and political subtext. Often dismissed, then and now, as naïve celebrations of dubious ideals, they were in many ways more sophisticated than their self-consciously critical (or “revisionist”) heirs. And the new “3:10 to Yuma,” even in its efforts to stick to the old ways (apart from some obligatory post-“Deadwood” cussing), is neither spare nor suggestive enough. It lacks the confidence to distinguish between touchstones and clichés.

I haven't written about any Westerns or Eastwoods lately, but I wanted to let you know it's still on my mind. (I took a break from Eastwood night while being totally enthralled by Friday Night Lights: Season 1. It occurred to me last night while driving home late ON THE FREEWAY listening to the 'butt end' of the Foo Fighters double CD that I finally figured out who the hottie bad boy character in the show reminded me of: he's like a burlier, Canadian, version of River Phoenix.)

I think Scott's comment about the dismissing the psychosexual and political subtext hits the nail on the head when it comes to Westerns and it took Eastwood to get me to see it. Still not a professed fan of Johns Wayne or Ford, but I'm moving in an enthusiast direction and I'm very excited about all the Westerns coming out this winter. I'm also really wanting to see The Proposition (which looked interesting when it came out even to someone who didn't like Westerns) and Seraphim Falls.

This fall not only has 3:10, but The Assassination of Jesse James (which is pretty much also a remake) and I could swear there's one other, but it's escaping my mind at the moment.

For those of you not particularly partial to Westerns I highly recommend Michael Winterbottom's The Claim, which is a Gold Rush retread of Hawthorne's 'Mayor of Castorbridge.' It also has this fabulous image of a town pulling a house up a snowy slope. Fantastic film. And it features too rarities in the Western genre: winter and women.
So I'm about halfway through Friday Night Lights: Season 1 and I am loving this show. Everyone's going to say 'it's not really about football,' even though that's not really true. It's about a world in which EVERYTHING is about football. Even things that are normally not about football, or things that shouldn't be about football. Which means that football (at least for me) becomes interesting in a way that I wouldn't previously have dreamed.

It's based on the book/movie of the same title and is about a small town in Texas that really loves their high school football team. I've heard about this phenomena, but the way its explored in the show is really interesting; particularly as the show is kind of a microcosm of middle America and the problems it faces.

Read more... )
Last night I dreamt that I had a history with James Hetfield (Metallica) and he was following me around the hospital trying to convince me we should get back together. This is probably because I watched Some Kind of Monster not too long ago. I can't say I recommend the documentary, it was incredibly annoying to watch, and yet, almost irresistable. Like reality tv.

Read more... )

Spiderman 3

Aug. 1st, 2007 07:13 am
I went to 50 cent movie night last night and we saw Spiderman 3. I was expecting it to be horrible, as bad as Ghost Rider or something. But I ended up liking it. Sure it had some problems. Sure the musical numbers were a little weird; but it had a very interesing tension between camp and angst. I laughed a lot more than I usually do in superhero movies. A lot of the best scenes were throwaways: the J.J. buzzer desk scene had fabulous comic timing, but wasn't particularly important to the plot. Ditto for Bruce Campbell's cameo as a French waiter. ("Peter Pecker.") In fact, part of what made the movie so funny is that the characters inside it couldn't seem to see how hilarious it was. Comic irony, I guess.

As for Spidy's sleazy transformation, I kind of appreciated the representation of shadow as being kind of cheap and petty. I know from my own experience that my dark side isn't merely rage or revenge, but the part of me that talks smack about others, that worries about having the right clothes to wear to an event, the part that gets bunchy over ettiquette, the part that stands aside observing and judging instead of engaging and participating. My darkside is part spinster school teacher and part Eddie from Ab Fab.

Excelsior! )

Also: the hot water heater is not working again. Boo!
Mom and I drove down to the Springs yesterday to see Thaddeus Phillips' latest project Flamingo/Winnebago. I first saw Thaddeus in New York where I caught his one man trunk production of The Tempest at LaMama. The Tempest has never been one of my favorite of Shakespeare's plays, but there was something so poignant about his production with props, puppetry, and a grown man splashing about in a wading pool. It gave this sense of the patheticness of Prospero, with all the characters as a reflection of his mad self. (Caliban, for example, was a mirror, which was an interesting take on the relationship between monster & master.)

We also saw his one man tap show Lost Soles about Cuban exiles. When I discovered he was from Colorado and regularly made appearances here, I told everyone I knew here to check out his shows. People here have seen his Planet Lear and his Henry V, which was set at a streetvending stand in NYC shortly after 9-11. Flamingo/Winnebago is the second play in a trilogy about American identity, and marks his foray into multi-actor shows, with live incidental music.

Flamingo/Winnebago )
This book was recommended to me by Kevin (an ex) after the severe heartbreak following Jason #3. It helped. I often give it, or recommend it, to people suffering from the aftereffects of romantic damage. It is a series of dreamlike vignettes exploring the hopes and fears of a man totally destroyed by love.

When I first read the book, I was a little disgusted by it. The first portion of the book has a number of almost violent/militant fantasies about the war between the sexes. "This man really has issues," I thought. "It's obvious he hates women." But somewhere in the middle of the book, the tone shifts. Suddenly the dreams become more elegaic. They involve traveling and meeting the other survivors of heartbreak. Of brief, romantic, encounters that will not be fulfilled by full-fledged relationships because those partaking still feel incapable of total engagement.

The real core of the book is a piece called Night Thoughts, "I reach the sad opinion that I have been irreparably damaged for the rest of my life by a broken heart...." he begins.

I have a flaw now in the quick of my soul, a wound that will never quite heal, will never quite be as good as new. I believe my capacity for joy has been permanantly disabled. I say 'joy' as opposed to 'happiness' because I mean something quite profoundly basic-- the sense, I suppose, that life fundamentally works out for the good, that the great connection that was lost from chlidhood might be reclaimed, in new forms of trust, with a beloved companion. It's this harmonizing, this affinity, this sharing of the soul's secret speech that I mean.

And what has happened to me in my heartbreak is such a calamity, to me, it's really beyond consoling. You see, I met her, the heart of my heart, and for a while we were together, but we parted. And I just dont think I shall ever get over it, and be whole again...

And the beautiful thing about this bit appearing where it does is that everything that has preceded this piece, with its nightmarish, ridiculous, or absurdist images, has prepared us for this level of sentiment. We're already so familiar with the author's psyche that even something so abstract and devoid of imagery has meaning and poignancy. It's at this point that I realized that the book isn't about the many women appearing throughout the pages, but is about one woman who has shifted the entire reality of the narrator.

Here are some other wonderful teasers from the book:

I'm romantically involved with a cannibal. My friends disapprove. 'Listen,' they begin uncomfortably, 'far be it from us to interfere with matters of the heart. But really, how could you--' But I interrupt them. 'I won't hear a word afainst her,' I inform them. 'She's a marvelous one-of-a-kind girl...' -- Taboo

While my girlfriend sleeps, I lean among the bedclothes and gently wiggle loose the top of her cranium. I place its ruffled crown of hair carefully on the blanket behind me. I edge closer and inspect the contents of my girlfriends sleeping mind... -- Domestic Intelligence

A woman's sex breaks loose from between her legs and escapes out into the streets. It terrorizes a residential neighborhood for an entire afternoon. -- Elm (one of my favorites)

Rereading the book I'm finding that despite the humor it still has an almost morbidly dark tone. It isn't ameliorated by time, experience, or the fact that I have read it before. Yourgrau's gushing, sentimentalism, is harder to take. In someways the book seems darker because, ten years down the road from the experiences that defined heartbreak for me, I remain unconvinced that one can ever fully recover. Some experiences and people do change us forever, even if I still have to hope that it's not necessarily for the worse. (And it does get easier, which is almost the cruelest thing about heartbreak. You think you could die for love and then you don't. Almost as though your body is traitor to your heart.)

As to recommending it, I find myself less certain than I was before. I'm rereading a lot my standard recommendations these days primarily because so much for me has changed I don't know if I can recommend them anymore. The Sadness of Sex stands up to the passage of the years, but I might be more reserved in my recommendations. Reading it in one large chunk is kind of gloomy and might make a person feel worse than not having companionship in heartbreak at all.

But I still like the book, and remain a fan of Yourgrau. His short vignettes have been a guidepost for my poetry and hinted at uses for my vivid dream life. He's currently made a big name for himself writing short, disgusting, stories for children in a series of NASTYbooks, which are horrible, brilliant, and tremendously popular with young readers.

Yourgrau was also one of the first authors to exploit the possibility of internet film. In 1995 he adapted vignettes from The Sadness of Sex into a series of short films still available at ifilm. He costars with a very young, and not yet famous, Amanda Peet. The films always suggested interesting possibilities to me, more so now that internet film is maturing.

Anyway, I'm pretty sure this book is still OOP, but thus far it hasn't been too difficult to track down additional copies for a friend in need.

Good news!

Jul. 6th, 2007 10:15 am
I've been offered my first paying book review! ($250!) It's due next Friday. I've also been asked to prepare an interview, which, I've discovered, is far more interesting then the reviews. In large part because one can ask all the questions of the author that erupt when reading a book, regardless of whether one liked it. (Ex. "Mountain lion attack? What were you thinking?") I've decided I'm keeping my cards close on this one, because I do not want any input from those of you who may or may not be affiliated with the book, and because I've caught a faint whiff of payolla, which worries me. I don't have much integrity to compromise, but I do not want to write my review with a sense of obligation.


Jun. 18th, 2007 08:06 am
The weather's been very hot for the past two days with a hot dry wind that makes the top of my skull ache. The only relief is late at night, once the sun has finally gone down. It's enough to make me want to sleep outside, though I know better than to try without some serious mosquito netting. (And raccoon repellant.) Last night, driving home from the Bears' Den, it was with a sense of relief that the air was finally cooling. I wished I had a truck I could go park in the middle of a field and just stare at the sky; the moon a waxing sliver, with Venus gliding at its side. Full dark isn't until about 9:30 or 10 now. I love the endless twilight and want to go for long rambles in the darkness, though I would prefer not to go alone.

Barbarella was featured at last night's movie night. It is simultaneously dreadful and delightful. The plot makes no sense, but the art direction is really interesting. The camp is entertaining, and ultimately what I have always loved about this film is that it features a sexually precocious character whose behavior is not punished in anyway. (One character asks her if she has no shame, but that's only one, and as Jerry pointed out, "He's clearly impotent.") There are no unwanted pregnancies, diseases, or spurned lovers. (It was one of Amethyst's favorite films. Of course, she looks like Barbarella, which doesn't hurt. I guess I still miss her, at those times I remember to think of her at all.) And the opening sequence: fantastic! Worth the rest of the film. We were all left wondering, "How did they do that?"

Unfortunately, watching films like Barbarella makes me wonder what happened to that optimism about the future. We don't spend a lot of time thinking about space, anymore. When we do, it rarely involves anything as benign, sexy, or campy as Barbarella. Does anyone else find the retirement of the space shuttle without a replacement as disheartening as I do?
(this one is especially for [personal profile] sdn who is the first person I thought of when I saw the "wedding pinata.")

So, yesterday in the mail I got a catalog for a whole bunch of weird wedding favors and gifts. I was equal parts amused and horrified looking through the catalog, knowing full well that people spend many hours arguing over this crap and actually buying it for their weddings. The top several contenders for weird or just plain tacky included the:

Love for sale! )

I just realized that this year there have been two graduations, one divorce, and several gestating babies, but thus far NO WEDDINGS! My summer is feeling a little empty, either you're all married, or I have been blacklisted as a terrible wedding guest. (It's that orange dress, isn't it? People used to make me be in the wedding party so I wouldn't wear it, now they just plain don't invite me.)

Either that, or, DOOOOM! it's my turn to throw an outrageously expensive party and prey on all my friends to buy hideous dresses for it. I promise, if I ever get married, you will all be invited and allowed to mock me mercilessly. (And hopefully intervene if I ever try to don a "Property of the Groom" tshirt, even if I insist I'm doing it ironically.)

OMG = Wedding Trash Can Cover. It's like a plastic liner that goes on the OUTSIDE of the trash can instead of the INSIDE. This catalog is making me feel like I am an alien visitor to the Planet Bride. Do people actually care about these things? ("My day would've been perfect except that those trash cans were so ugly, and clashed with my bouquet.")

More trivia:

* Yesterday my teacher brought several buckets-worth of plants to fill in the bald spots in my xeric garden. She was impressed with how good it was looking and gave me a spyria bush as a bonus. She will also be bringing me a miniture plum tree. The plants are all in the ground and looking good. Plus, I got to play in the mud, which (duh!) makes digging a lot easier and a lot more FUN!

* I sunburnt my lips.

* I made sloppy joes, even though I don't like sloppy joes and can't remember the last time I ate them. They turned out really tasty. (And sloppy.)

* Brother bought 9 lbs of bananas for 99 cents. This translates to something like 25 bananas. Strangely, I'd been collecting banana recipes for just such an emergency. I gave him [personal profile] averygoodun's banana bread recipe (which is really fantastic, btw) and he will also be testing the Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal recipe, while I try my hand at Banana Cake with Banana Frosting; Banana Pie (more bananas than your traditional banana cream, with a fantastic no-oven variation); and if I get really desparate: Banana Coffee Cake. So, if any of you like bananas or would like to request a taste or a loaf of banana bread, let me know. I will be baking with bananas all week.

(Also, banana trivia, if there are too many bananas and they are ripening too fast, chop them up and put them in the freezer. You can cook with them later or make smoothies.)
Marla & I both have tape decks in our vehicles, so one night (probably while drinking) we decided we were going to have a Mix Tape Contest. I've chosen 'Bitchin' Camaro' as my theme, (thank you Dead Milkmen, you may now mock me) 'music one would listen to if one were driving a Camaro.' I described the concept to my brother: one side is all empowered female hits, the other all hair metal anthems. He said, "So it's kind of like a hairspray battle of the sexes."

So we were discussing my choices for the mix tape and I mentioned how many hair metal songs feature the word 'Wind' in their titles. Poison: Ride the Wind and Scorpions: Wind of Change immediately came to mind. Spinal Tap has already satirized this with their Break Like the Wind album. We both started snickering.

"Geez, that and cowboys seem to be an obsession with these guys," I said.

To which Brother replied, "See you've already got a theme for the next mix tape in your 'Bitchin' Camaro' series. You could call it 'Rootin' & Tootin'.'"

Which led to a barrage of fart jokes and reminiscing about one of our favorite childhood books called Who Farted? which was a collection of silent film stills with the actors making mortified looking faces. I sent our copy to Iraq when one of our childhood friends was stationed there, little knowing that the book is out of print and now commands a used price of $61.49 on Amazon.

Darn, I'd thought about using it to replace Lies to Tell Small Children as my guest bathroom reading material. Now I'm thinking about framing a bunch of postcards of silent films stills of with the actors making mortified faces as a kind of inside joke. (This kind of bathroom humor was inspired by a dear teacher who taped the carton for 2000 Flushes to a piece of paper and attached it to the wall behind her toilet. She put tallymarks on the paper and included a pencil on a string. It was intended as a joke, but she delighted in the fact that every time people would visit her home, new tallymarks would appear.)

I will never forget that line from Good Will Hunting when Robin Williams is talking about intimacy and then mentions that his wife used to fart in her sleep. "Sometimes it was so loud it woke the dog," he says.

Many people recall this moment in the film because it's a point when the student and the psychiatrist share a laugh and finally start to communicate. It turns out this line wasn't even in the script. That was some inspired adlib, because this is really what intimacy is about. Our nasty, humorous, mortifying bodies and how they get to know one another particularly in close proximity. The way we can detest the bodies of the people we love, or adore those same bodies even when they are at their most ordinary.

I once had a conversation with [profile] muphf when he said, "So 'n so's family was always so smart. It kinda made you wonder what they talked about around the dinner table."

"Don't fool yourself thinking you were missing out on any deep intellectual discussions," I replied, "they probably told fart jokes like everyone else."

Anyway, I thought I'd post something light this morning, because despite Tuesday's post and Thursday's unpleasant experience, I'm really feeling pretty good this week. Off to the Farmer's Market!
Is everyone else hearing this extensive coverage of the TB quarantine case? I'm shocked that the story keeps getting bigger. Must be a slow news week. One of the most interesting comments I've heard in all of the 'shocked & horrified' discussion, is someone who said, "Our quarantine system is designed to keep people out, not to keep people in," which seems to really capture the essence of the issue.

TB is one of those great diseases of 19C literature, probably because it is less disgusting than other diseases of the period, (typhoid fever is especially disgusting, involving a mucus film blocking air passages) and the patient can remain engaged for years before death. It is also associated with the creative temperament. Many great writers and thinkers suffered from the disease including Thoreau and Checkov. (Maybe they would've been out working instead of writing/thinking if it weren't for their damaged lungs.) Sadly, it also makes people thin and clears up their skin. People in late stages of TB are often described as ethereally beautiful, which means TB will be the disease of choice for Hollywood starlets in the coming years.

More riffing on TB )


May. 27th, 2007 10:34 am
I'm listening to Blood on the Tracks this morning, which means I'm probably feeling fatalistic. The long view, and all that.

Yesterday was one of those days that had entirely too much crammed into it. Farmer's Market didn't have anything interesting, although I brought home some Japanese mustard greens to see what they were all about. A graybeard propositioned me with something nasty involving a hayride, and I was put in the impossible position of trying to explain some kind of Taiwanese street food that were not unlike Madeleine to some elderly ladies who wanted me to be some kind of expert. (I'm not.)

Later in the afternoon I met [profile] rg_rothko for coffee. Happily, we met at the same Starbucks. On my way there I thought of the tragedy of two people trying to meet at Starbucks, but never managing to show up at the SAME ONE. Kind of the opposite of that scene in Best in Show where the couple meets at Starbucks across the street from each other.

Then I saw 300 with Brother, which was classic Frank Miller Splatternalia. I (predictably) hated it, but did not let the sombre tone ruin my good time. Brother and I ended up making fart jokes through a good portion of the film, which was totally inappropriate, but some how called for. I still can't believe so many people would think I'd LIKE this film. It was like watching a video game with boys who won't let you play. Thbbbt!

(I also can't believe Brother would want to see this film. He hates bravehearty crap where they say things like, "You can take our land, you can take our women, you can take our sheep, but you can't take our FREEDOM!" He pointed out that while land, women, or sheep might be worth fighting for, once they've all been taken, abstract concepts seem kind of silly.)

But I've never liked Sparta, being more of an Athenian myself. Brother tried to point out that they were like Vikings; I violently disagreed. One of the things that makes Vikings easier to understand is that they like drinking and fighting so much they want to go on doing it in the afterlife. Battledeath makes sense in that context. The Greek Underworld always seemed sort of pallid. It seems to me that there are several basic afterlife concepts: the afterlife is just like life, it's way better, it's way worse, or you get reincarnated. Take your pick.

Even weirder were modern cultural references. People yelling things like, "Godspeed!" and "See you in Hell!" which didn't really make any sense. Plus, the CG Abs were ridiculous, even if the thighs occasionally made me drool. The color was flat, and there was no bonhomie or humor, everyone was being sombre and heroic all the time.

If I were Quasimodo making a guest appearance in the film, I'd want to hang out in Xerxes dungeon as well. And don't get me started on the Asian Horde. It seems to me that a lot of the films we've seen coming out recently will have an interesting tie to the current political climate, kind of the way all those 1950s sf films had commentary about the cold war. 5000 years of recorded history and we're still feeling bunchy about the Asian Horde. Maybe we should deal with that instead of repeating history all over again.

Did I mention the ninja paradox: the more ninjas there are, the easier they are to kill?

Anyway, I can't recommend it; but you know if you like this kind of thing, and I knew even before I saw it, that I would not. What disturbs me is that so many people thought I would. Why?

Afterwords I had dinner w/Linnet & her husband who showed me some interesting transformers he'd made out of paper when he was a little kid because his parents wouldn't buy him toys. They were absolutely phenomenally complex. It was one of those moments when everything about him kind of clicked, I suddenly understood part of what made him tick.
Nightmares last night had me up before the dawn chorus with the lights and radio on reading No. 1 Ladies Detective trying to get it out of my head. I almost left the house to try to find coffee, but I didn't think the Waffle House or Village Inn would improve the situation, so I waited it out 'til sunrise.

I dreamt I was in summer school and haunted by a spirit that wrote on things. First it was in books and on walls, but then one morning I woke to find symbols carved in my back. Rarely was it in English. Usually it was in some kind of ancient, unknown, script (like cuneiform, but no one knew what it was,) and I kept running around trying to find someone who could decipher it, even though I didn't want to know what it meant, I just wanted it to go away. I'm not sure which was worse: the discomfort of the words carved in flesh, aching from the cuts and stinging with disinfectant, or having all the linguists and scholars poring over my back like I was a lost artifact. ::shudders::

Incidentally, I did have beef for dinner last night.

Yesterday I had a walk where everything I saw felt like news: the geese out with the goslings, pooping all over the sidewalk and hissing at passersby; the pelicans swaning about the lake eating the stocked fish; the heron, rising like a ghost from the reeds; the wild iris glowing on the riverbank, tiny and brilliant gold flashes among the green; the wild roses, bloomed this week with a scent spicy and sweet, like the memory of something beautiful, just outside recollection. Oh yes, and the beaver felled an absolutely enormous tree, blocking the path and forcing the parks people to come cut it into smaller pieces and clear the way. For some reason I found this highly amusing, first imagining the ambitious beaver gnawing away at the trunk nights, and then totally frustrated when it was tampered with by people. Did he plan to cut it in smaller pieces, or had he figured out some way of dragging that entire tree into the river for a dam? (Beavers have moved from the lake, back into the river, much to the chagrin of the parks dept. who are constantly busting their dams to prevent flooding.)

On its own this is a list of natural occurrences. But it felt like news in the absence of someone to share it with.
I am notorious for mis-hearing song lyrics. It all started with that Mitch Ryder song, Devil with a Blue Dress On, which I had thought, my entire life, was Devil with a Blue Grass Song. One day I asked my brother why there were no blue grass elements in the song, banjos, etc., and after he stopped laughing, he corrected me.

It's now something of a standing joke. I run into new ones all the time. Just last week I discovered that Ozzy song with all the howling: Back of the Room, was actually Bark at the Moon which makes a lot more sense considering the context.

Ozzy has a lot of them, because he does sing with some kind of faint accent and doesn't annunciate well. Flying High Again I always heard as Playing Hard to Get, which makes as much sense as anything. (And is a much funner song, if you ask me.)

Don't even get me started with songs that have weird lyrics to begin with. Van Halen's Panama I'd always heard as Burn It Up. It leads one to ask what the hell David Lee Roth was doing singing about Panama, and why it was a hit.

This is what happens to your children if you deprive them of rock 'n roll early in life.

EDIT: Brother may very well mock me for mishearing song lyrics, but his misapprehension of a vaudeville song, Who Put the Overalls in Mistress Murphy's Chowder? as Who Put the Underwear in Mr. Smurfy's Shower? still takes the cake.

Mom used to play for melodramas, which were always accompanied by musical reviews. We know all sorts of terrible, comical, music hall songs and horrible jokes as a result. Perhaps this is where my appreciation of juvenile puns and slapstick humor comes from.
[profile] coppervale has just posted on the death of Lloyd Alexander. I supppose I should wait for confirmation from outside sources before repeating this information, though I have no reason to doubt the news is true. The irony is that I just finished re-reading the Prydain chronicles yesterday, and was amazed to find them both simpler and deeper than I recalled.

Interestingly, this time around I identified most strongly with Fflewder Fflam (who I've always suspected is Lloyd Alexander, himself, written into the narrative.) At the end of the The High King when Taliesin tells Fflam, "Your heart has always been the heart of a true bard. Until now, it was unready." I cried.

I had no idea with what extra significance I would re-read these words, today. Apparently, Holt will be publishing one last book by Alexander this fall The Golden Dream of Carlo Chuchio.

I will always appreciate the gentleness, humor, and honesty with which his books accompanied me on many journeys. I'm sorry we will have no occasion with which to meet until I, too, cross the waters to that distant, shining, shore.
Just after I returned from NYC, someone recommended Douglas Coupland's Life After God, which is exactly what I needed at that moment in time. It's one of those books I pick up anywhere I find it. I always try to have a copy on hand to give to a troubled friend. The book is a little dated, but the message is clear. We have generational preoccupations and fears, we lose innocence gain experience, but ultimately there is still this something bigger than us, a reason to face our fears and revel in the experience of being alive. The ending of the book is a baptism of sorts, a transcendental leap of faith offering hope that is neither certain, nor false. It offered me a little company on the journey I was taking, reminding me that others had encountered this wilderness before.

It's strange, then, considering how much I liked the book, that I haven't read any other Coupland. I read Generation X years ago and hated it. Shampoo Planet has been sitting in my 'to read' pile for months and I haven't cracked it, until a few nights ago.

Read more... )



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