Saturday, February 26, 2005
I've been trying to get ahead of desk work to clear time/space for writing. This is always the objective. We saw Sweet Smell of Success last night on DVD--a really good old noir (also black and white) movie, lots of shots of wonderful New York City as it used to be with phones at the tables in the 21 Club etc. Tony Curtis was so slimy he shone, so attractive that you root for him whatever he does. Burt Lancaster does a terrific job too, as the power broker columnist J.J. Hunsecker, but he plays it-- appropriately-- like a man with his face frozen, someone so heavy with his own importance and power that you imagine the human being is so far inside the caverns of stone he'll never come out. Whereas Curtis is all over the place, quicksilver, meteoric, trying something new if the other thing doesn't work. He has all this youth and hope and a kind of animal energy. The "good" guys in the movie, potato faced Martin Millner and Susan Harrison (who never did much of anything else as far as I know) were totally missing in action (although Millner's character gets to attack Hunsecker's false patriotism in a neat slap at red baiting-- Cliff Odets a co-writer of this). And surely I'm not the only person who saw that Hunsecker was dying of incestuous love for his little sister? .
Monday, February 21, 2005
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Another recent happy media experience is the Wikipedia article. I put up my little note and it got added to, although not changed. The idea of this kind of communal pooling of knowledge really thrills me.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Tuesday, February 15, 2005
This week is a little too much like last week. Double jobs, exhausting work at Lincoln Park, lots of Community Coaltion stuff. I had a recommendation to write today, a nerve wracking phone call, exchanges with George Brosi at Appalachian Heritage over my article about novelist Gretchen Laskas, an hour at Columbia High School for their student ACLU meeting and a speaker on race and justice, make dinner, prepare Advanced Novel for tomorrow night and 7th graders for tomorrow day. Just part of it. I'm cheerful when I'm like this, though. Still having sort of commentary flashes of Italy. Amazing that a month ago were were there, in that place not this one. Amazing thing: I wrote a Wikipedia article on Harriette Arnow, and within a day, one of their editors had added more information--I learned something new from the article I wrote. Is that amazing or what?
Saturday, February 12, 2005
Friday, February 11, 2005
What a week of teaching! Two new classes starting at NYU, two days in Lincoln Park, a teacher workshop, meetings. So thankful to be with no meeting, no work tonight. So loxed out, I watched a cheap bio pic about Michael Jackson
It seems so long since we got back from Italy. Italy was like a restart on the computer, somehow, a lot of rough edges smoothed, things that seemed tangled smoothed out. You push the restart and problems disappear.
Like the old depression treatment of shock therapy, only delightful
instead of traumatic! Yesterday, in Lincoln Park, NJ, I saw a woman in a pink
sweatshirt with a waddling little gray old dog that squatted in some
dirty snow. I found it moving for some reason, the sad tragedy of
this country, people stumbling along, thinking somehow they are righteous
and have the right to stomp on whoever.
In Washington Square, in New York, when I go to teach
there, the big Judson Memorial church keeps on its message board the
count of American service people dead in Afghanistan and Iraq, well
over a thousand now, but also over a hundred thousdan Afghanis and
Iraquis. The question is: for those other people we don't count (Saddam
is beaten, full speed ahead!) who are dead or whose families are dead,
was it worth it? I doubt it, but the real point to me is, why did
the people in Washington, riding on the ignorance of the pink lady
with the fat dog, get to decide?
The rawness the sharp edges here in the United States are just blowing
me away, the new homes in the developmets are are attractive– spacious,
but the sharp edges are what I keep comparing to the buildings seen
from a distance in Tuscany, on the train from Rome to Florence. But
even in the cities there was a roundness of the the cobblestones the
piazzas, the old stone work in Florence.
Sunday, February 06, 2005
Saturday, February 05, 2005
We had our final event with the fall Newark Museum program-- at the Museum, the court full of kids from various schools, art projects.
Ours from Warren Street School was our books, art and words. Satisfying to end so well, all those kids, all that art.
Last evening, I slogged down through the snow to the garden, pulled up a sunbrella (damaging it, I think, and cut some lettuce and radicchio for dinner. Whatever the weather, there is brightness of days getting longer at this time of year.