Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm working mostly at home today, and found this beginning-of-an essay:
It is largely blank, or at best some misleading pages, the story of the years ahead of which
Novels, movies, and certainly the advertisers and other students of commercial
So when we continue on (the human female I'm told is unique in living many decades beyond her fertility) what is driving us? Partly the habits we learned early on, but also the wonderful generalizing ability; the drive (am I fooling myself here?) to do more for those future generations, one's own descendents, one's own species, perhaps one's own biosphere.
This is my old tune, long may be sing it: learn to make your natural survivalist selfishness include greater and greater circles of beings.
See my brother-in-law's blog entry on getting older: http://www.hyperorg.com/blogger/mtarchive/older_than_lennon.html
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Hot weather--wet parakeet
Joel and Sarah spent a night with my sister and by all accounts (Joel on cell phone as Sarah drove north, Chrissie by email) it was a happy visit. Joel especially liked the plums that grow in the backyard in San Luis Obispo. They didn't get into Hearst Castle-- too late for reservations-- so maybe if and when Andy and I go out to visit we'll do that with them and see Chrissie and Goro and Alex too.
This is Saturday morning, and Andy is off to run the two town bike ride. I’m trying to get the desk in order, and particularly papers “graded.
I’m increasingly getting from people with personal requests, usually for free critiquing. My writing exercises are now first up if you Google for "writing exercises." I'm proud and astounded, but on the other hand, so far this has translated into no money and various requests for help. This interests me a lot. It is partly an entitled people (I have a lot of trouble with that word: half the time it has to be shaken loose from my head– I get “privileged” but not the one I want, “entitled.”) It’s also partly, of course, how easy and low-risk and email is, but also the intimcacy that the internet fosters. The person doign the writing exercises feels close to me, as if I were an aunt or the lady down the street.
So many things are made easier by email and the internet– getting speakers for Ethical Culture is smoothed out by email, many kinds of quick thank yous and responses, and the instant gratification of photos and sharing an article you read. The down side, pretty obvious, is how easy it is to toss off an angry or ill-considered response to something, to forward a clever comedy routine or ugly political attack to hundreds of people (the virus effect).
I’ve resumed relationships in a meaningful way through email with certain people, but then there are all the strangers asking for free responses, free critiquing, free friendships. It is going to be really interesting to see what shakes out in politics and publishing. Those are the arenas I see most in flux: people writing letters and calling each other on the phone is something we’re familiar with, although maybe I' m underestimating the importance of this part-- I don’t use MySpace (although an article in the Author’s Guild publication suggests maybe I should– some genre authors are really using it in a lucrative way). Maybe I’m missing the friendship web side of this.
One odd thing: I avoided having a color CRT and internet access on my computer for a long time for fear I would lose the magic of my computer as a place for writing alone.
I was right: it is suddenly a place where I teach, shop, interact from people, get political pleas, do all kinds of business. And it is indeed a problem to be so connected and less deeply private to follow my own internal tunnels and shady byways. And yet–and yet– I also feel those voices welcoming me, that I am part of something very real, all around.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Yesterday I also cut grass and biked (slowly), but the extreme heat, up to 95 degrees Fahrenheit or so, doesn't seem to bother me when I'm active, just when I'm sitting at the computer.
There's a really interesting series in the Star-Ledger about the Newark Riots/Rebellion/Insurrection of 1967, just 40 years ago at which point I was finishing up my year in Norfolk as a VISTA volunteer.
I'm reading Orhan Pamuk's Snow, and it is an admirable book, but I'm getting a sense of it's going on too long. Or is it me with my lack of patience for books (see the article in todays New York Times about how Harry Potter fever has not translated into children reading other books). The whole changeover from books as the major form of entertainment is tough going for those of us with marginal careers in literature. On the one hand, if the publishers were making the right connections to small reading publics, we'd probably be doing as well as we were ten or twenty years ago, or forty, but they're not--they're still after the block busters. I'm going to do an issue of my newsletter on this.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
At Lake Buel
It looks like a hot day, a scorcher maybe, coming at us today. The others have gone to town or perhaps biking, not sure, but it’s me and the parakeet this morning. Andy and I went to Shakespeare & Co.’s latest Midsummer’s Night Dream, rather unhearalded and with a no name cast, except for their new star guy Nigel Gore who did Claudius in their Hamlet last year. They all seemed good enough but somehow uninspired (how could they keep doing this play, especially without the magic of the white pine woods behind Edith Wharton’s house? With how many times they’ve done this) but there was something strange anyhow, even in the first half, I was aware that I was hearing the lines. I’ve been getting better and better at hearing Shakespeare, but last night, it all kind of opened for me, as if an undistinguished but competent production had somehow cracked the code for me and opened the language.
I’ve been seeing more and more Shakespeare and I listened to the cd’s too, with a lot of focus on lines of course, but last night I heard it, Andy did too, said he heard the rhymes. And the second half, after having half a coffee and some trail mix, I began to like the production too. The Helena and Hermia were excellent and their boys athletic and silly, Nigel Gore was an inspired Bottom, the coarse and randy Puck had a good time and so did we. Anyhow, it was a happy experience, nose bleed seats and all.
Calm lake, and I have the homesick feeling, wanting to get back to work. Sometime yesterday it hit me that the solution to my problem of too much to do is simply to suck it up: I'm teaching for the next two days, and doing Coalition stuff. Period. Won’t write, because I’m working. Be glad I don’t have to get up early in a panic and work. At least these will be at home. In the heat. But if I have to, I’ll work in the bedroom with a.c.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
Tuesday, July 03, 2007