Friday, March 28, 2008

Not for Me At This Point A Place

I woke up at 3:40, fifty minutes minutes before the alarm was set to go off. I thought I heard rain, decided I was hearing things, then remembered the forecast and realized it was rain, or snow that was maybe half a degree away from rain. So rose, made coffee, tallied my aches (stomach and hips today, plus a slight headache), looked outside (yes, snow, a blanket of it over everything), came here - the computer, I mean, because a blog is not, for me, at this point, a place, at least not the way a room is.

Reading McMurtry's When The Light Fades (or goes out, dims, I'm pretty sure fades is right, the book is still on the headboard) which is sentimental indeed, pretty thin writing actually, making me think how these books featuring Duane - did he start out as a stand-in for L.M.? - have gotten progressively worse ("you remind me of a skier - you start at the top and then it's all down hill" - P. Curro). The Last Picture Show was tight and elegant, Texasville was a loose but joyful romp (for me anyway, easily his second best to Lonesome Dove, I read Jennifer's copy to shreds), while Duane's Depressed was more something you (something I) read out of a sense of duty, thinking McMurtry just barely made it out of the trilogy intact, and now this last one which I think hardly stands on its own but rather functions more as a lame coda. Writers of McMurtry's stature obviously have some cachet that allows them to publish whatever whenever (King admitted at one point he could rewrite the bible and people would buy it), but still. It seems, it reads, as self-indulgent to a high degree.

See Joe Hill, Heart-Shaped Box (I think that's the title - it, too, is on the head board) the horror writer not the famous labor leader (included in a poem I wrote, "there is time still to think about the miners/who turned away from that dark hill/to go hear instead Joe Hill") is satisfying, highly pleasurable, literate and a good story (the "red meat" of plot (and I love the canine reference to AC/DC)), one of those books that is a delight to read, but also makes me think, "I could do that," or "I want to do that," or, perhaps more a propos these days, "why am I not doing that?"

C comes in for a visit and we agree the weather sucks, we talk about puberty (Sophia's doctor visit yesterday), and how sweet Jeremiah is, and yoga and sleep and how much do sleep centers cost. I chop off a few toe nails, check out Nabakov's Pale Fire on wikipedia (recommended by Douglas in an electronic p.s. to a letter I haven't received yet) and . . .

Douglas is recommending metafiction - at least the description of Pale Fire is intensely satisfying to me - indicative of one of those texts I long to write but feel I cannot - why - because my writer's group whines or whatever and also I'm in a rush, a big rush. "Three cheers for digression." And, of course, the literary school I founded at some point in the past twenty years, the "school of parenthetical afterthought." As I said to C, at least he doesn't hate me. And she pats me on the head with a familiar sad look on her face. Well, why not say what one feels, even if it is - and it is - sort of stupidly juvenile. The alternative is to strangle off some part of ourselves. Though I recall what Mark once said to me, "I'm all about the inner child but sometimes you really do have to tell him to shut up and play with his blocks."

I thought yesterday at some point - or have I already written it, here somewhere - that I start out wondering how the hell am I going to make it to twenty-one sentences - and then near the end think damn I wish I had twenty or twenty-one more. Which is masturbatory of course because what have I said, really? Made a list, tossed a little opinion on it, salted it with some emotional dreck . . . And ended on a metaphor - salad (or a pancake - that's better, I like pancakes) - that feels lame indeed.

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