gall and gumption

Monday, January 09, 2006

Lightly Used Year

I got a wee check today for some books I sold that I had forgotten all about from Copperfields. Which is funny because I was thinking about them and about how much I missed living in the sort of place where you could WALK along a STREET to a secondhand bookstore where apparently everybody who works there likes to read and likes to talk about what they are reading.

There is nothing like that out here in Germantown/Gaithersburg. There is a non-Borders/non-Barnes and Noble place in Rockville but I haven't gotten there yet. it is all big box stores and places that sell greasy food of every ethnic persuasion. You can have your plate of greasy glop served up to you by a Chinese person, an Indian person, a Vietnamese person, a Brazilian person or whatever culture is reponsible for Cheese Subs. Other than that, an eerie sense of cultural vacancy pervades all. You know, when I got chatting on the phone with a certain highly placed federal bureaucrat last year he asked me if I didn't find Sonona County a little bit culturally deprived.

Well insert long dry bitter laugh here if you please, and note that clearly that party doesn't get out to the Maryland Burbs much.

This is really all going somewhere it's not whining because I promised not to whine.

Here is where it is going:

The general anathema above does not extend to the Designer Shoe Warehouse. Or to the crockery odds and ends at TJ Maxx.

I need to get out more so I have been. I take the dogs for long walks every day. The result is that Mischa the neurotic one is getting less so. But her appetite for nature is a lot less avid than Sweetie's. Sweetie would run herself into exhaustion chasing gamy little rodent smells in the tall grass. Mischa, on the other hand, doesn't even try to disguise her relief when she realizes we are headed for the car. Also she has apparently decided that one of her jobs in life is to protect Sweetie from being petted by strangers.

Another thing I need to do is finish reading Doris Lessing's "The Golden Notebook."

I'm reading it and I know that it is an IMPORTANT book but I have long stretches where I'm reading and thinking thoughts like, "Oh Jeebus H. Christ on a bicycle woman, snap out of it!" Or, and you must imagine me sort of chanting this, "BO-ring BO-ring," like six times. It violates certain rules, the sort of rules I only become aware of in mid-stream, so to speak.

- Do not have long therapy sessions in a novel, and I would say anything more than one sentence of 25 words or less alluding to the therapy session is a long therapy session.
- The Clarissa Rule: No more than ONE dream per 1400 pages. I have lost count of the number of dreams in this 600-page novel so we are talking serious violation here.
- The relationship in the novel might go around and around but the novel itself must not go around and around.
- A character might be bogged down but the novel must not be bogged down.

I'd say those were the big ones.

But I'm only about 50 pages from the end and if I don't finish it I will go on into the rest of my life thinking "Well, now if I want to know how it ends I'll have to go back to the beginning again." I did that with The Brothers Karamazov and it took me YEARS and I found my dislike of the parts I disliked totally unabated. I will say that the parts I did like, mostly the scenes featuring either Father Zossima or Old Karamazov (or better yet, both) just as good. In my mind I still hear Max reading them to me and they were funny.

That said, she's onto a subject. Definitely. it's like a great untidy handbag full of clutter of a book, but look, there is actually a $100 dollar bill wrapped around that old teabag.

A couple nights ago I was up late, couldn't sleep, dozing in front of the tube and JAWS was on. I watched a few minutes of it, the bit when Richard Dreyfuss was examining the first victim the young woman who got drunk with some guy and went skinny dipping at night - THAT'LL TEACH HER, THE SLUT - and I was watching Dreyfus's performance and wondering, "What is he supposed to be so het up about?" I have no idea. I think it was something about the 70s, I suspect that when we all watched this film in the 70s we all knew what was eating him hahhahahahahahaha. Now I can't remember what it was. I mean, out off the Sonoma coast there were a few shark attacks a year and I don't remember anybody - even the victims - getting so pissed off about it.

I watch a lot of cop shows now and the cool thing to be is not passionately angry - except in heroic fits at the child molesting murdering pornographer for instance - but affectless. Except for those bursts of righteous indignation you are keeping your head while all about you are losing theirs etc. (Kipling wuz here and by the way try to say this poem to yourself without experiencing sort of weird Australian/South African nasalities and a powerful temptation to drop aitches). I think with CSI: Miami some sort of outer limit of coolth has been reached. (I mean let's grant, just for the sake of this little comic aria, that a person who takes himelf/herself utterly stone cold deadly seriously can be cool.) David Caruso is almost catatonic, and he's the one with all the feelings. Thoughts too deep for words have collected into these sorrowful pouches under his eyes and he takes off his sunglasses, I think they are opaque sunglasses because he just can't stand to see any more plus they sort of protect his soul from getting jaded in this cruel world, but here he is, there's something wrong with that stray strand of pubic hair, it's been dyed orange, so he's gotta look at it so he does, so wearily. And it's key, this dyed single pubic hair, but it's a false lead, but he's not surprised. He is incapable of being surprised. He has seen it all and it's all just so - sad.

Oh GOD I need a life.


At 11:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Was at Firedoglake and "Sonoma County" caught my attention from your post in the comments, 'cause that's where until last year I lived and worked a goodly portion of my life. Gateway to the Redwood Empire. Did you like it there? I miss the Pacific and the Redwoods and some pals.

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