Unmerry, but not unhappy

The big celebrations are over for another year. It was going to be a quiet holiday, anyway, with no guests. Those who invited us to dinner uninvited us, because of their illness. But that was okay, because we got sick, too. At least half of us did. He said he caught it while shopping for food for our holiday dinner. Whenever it was, it hit the eve of the holiday, when he asked me to go and buy cold pills and orange juice. Those are his remedies, and they are slowly working.

So it’s quiet recovery time now. Reading, resting in the comfy chair,then in bed to read some more, seem to be the activities of choice this sunny on the Oregon coast.

Happy New Year.

The time for revels and recovery now is ending: it’s back to work. To writing, the main work.

I never stop the parallel activity: reading, my refuge and my salvation. When I give my coming talks to persuade people to buy my book, that it’s worth taking the journey to Clinton Street, my theme shall be the importance, the necessity of reading–especially of reading novels. Good novels, well-written works, invite us to explore the yearnings and workings of our humanity in its many guises.

I don’t understand how one can be a writer and not read.  Siamese twins who cannot be separated, reading and writing are mutually dependent. Reading begets writing: most DSC_4399writers begin as readers who decide they, too, can create a fictional world for others to explore. Writers need readers; readers need writers. Each activity nourishes what I can only call my soul. Since reading came first, it’s perhaps the favorite child, can both sooth and disturb, and most importantly, make me think new thoughts, or sometimes echo my own, so I find a comrade, a like-mind.

Recent memorable reads: Men We Reaped: A memoir by Jesmyn Ward. The author shares her loss of five young men in four years, friends and relatives, felled by drugs, accidents, and suicide. She comes to see that they shared the disadvantages of growing up poor with little hope of a better life, which breeds drug addiction and fragile family ties. She bravely tells her own story, similar to that of the young men, with the exception that she received a good education, was able to leave home and to write this story that haunts her and us.

The Pure Gold Baby – Margaret Drabble – A single mother in London, an anthropologist, raises her special needs daughter whose sunny nature belies her handicap. A coming to terms with one’s choices and seeing the full extent of a mother’s responsibility.

Movies: “Dallas Buyer Club” – Matthew McConaughey and Jared Leto are outstanding in an amazing urban survival story.

American Hustle – One of the year’s best. Comedy with a serious side. They don’t get much better than this.

Let us Wish for a Good Year For Us All!


Train wrecks and Zombies: movies

When I was a kid, I remember sitting in a dark movie theater hiding my eyes, afraid of Frankenstein (technically, F’s monster) in Abbot and Costello meet Frankenstein. A thousand years later, I sat watching Johnny Depp do his pirate/Native American thing in The Lone Ranger. That was okay, trading quick digs with Armie Hammer and a white horse, until the deep violence took over. The actor who played the bad guy was scary, which was okay. The first train crash was excessive, made me think of my brother with his Lionel train and all the ways he devised to crash it. The continual violence became boring. I took a break, went to the restroom, and looked for another movie. I remembered a New Yorker review of  World War Z and went it. I stayed for the first 10 minutes and found characters to relate to and that Caught-in-Traffic scene with Zombie Transformations—compelling, original; the 12 second gimmick, clever. I mentally bookmarked the movie, returned to the last few minutes with the ranger and found the movie makers had returned to the train ride/wreck gimmick. What lack of originality. I was happy to note The Lone Ranger, last I heard, was not making the boxoffice expected. Maybe even the 14 year old boys it was aimed at recognized its dessicated emptiness.
I was intrigued enough to go back and pay to see WWZ. The premise of the spread of the virus gave the audience something to think about, a reminder of the not so long ago avian flu scare. The mass zombie scenes were riveting, especially the ones featuring walls and helicopters in Jerusalem. The scenes in Wales, in the clinic, were too closed in, too much the standard horror movie stuff. In The Lone Ranger, the big picture crashed.  In World War Z, the big pictures made the movie.