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Howard Hughes and the Brick Wall

I think this entry shall have need of partitions...

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Yesterday was the worst sort of writing day. First I sat and stared at the iBook's screen and keyboard for two hours, trying to find the place where The Dinosuars of Mars begins. Then — haltingly, tentatively — I wrote for another three hours. In the end, I had 575 words, none of which may prove to be usable.

Later in the day, I ended up back at the Woodruff Library at Emory, looking for answers I'd thought I already had. And that was work yesterday.

For dinner, Spooky made a very excellent pizza, and we finished off the bottle of serviceable merlot. We watch Cannery Row (1982) on VHS, a copy rented from Movies Worth Seeing because Spooky had never seen it. But the tape was in awful shape, the picture quality extremely poor, and pan and scan besides. Someday, I hope to see the film on DVD. It's a darling romp of a movie and moderately true to Steinbeck, even if David Ward found it necessary to burden the story with his baseball obsession. Back in 1982, Ward was still trying to get someone to bankroll Major League (1988), and I suppose his preoccupation with that project was allowed to creep into his Cannery Row script. Most of the rest of the evening was spent reading, first one book and then another.

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So, yes, Oprah Winfrey has chosen The Road for her book club thing. And, somehow, she's finagled an interview with Cormac McCarthy. She has even deigned to say of the novel that "it's fascinating." How utterly fucking insipid. I suppose — to put on my Lemony Snicket hat for a moment — fascinating is a word which here means almost unutterably horrific, brutal, and uncompromisingly bleak, an ode to the end of humanity. I admit I am disappointed that McCarthy accepted her invitation for an interview, but what the hell. I expect his agent and publisher would have had massive fucking coronaries and dropped dead if he'd done otherwise. I must accept that I live in a world where Oprah Winfrey is the ultimate arbiter of what one should read.

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I've been meaning to write more here about Children of Men. I think it's going to be with me for a very long time, that film, as well it ought. More than anything, and like The Road before it, Children of Men stoked my conviction that we are indeed living at the end of the Golden Age of Mankind, or at least the end of this particular human civilization. That almost everything we take for granted today may, only a couple of decades farther along, seem entirely remarkable, that our most mundane artefacts and toys will stand as incredible examples of luxury and excess. That all of this will pass away, and the "simplest" bits of our day-to-day lives will become miracles of a half-remembered past. A past which will be responsible for that future-present misery. It is difficult to force myself through the trivial routine of my days when these thoughts are front and center. It is difficult to see beyond the veil they draw up about me and difficult to push it all aside long enough to write my silly little stories.

Postscript (1:27 p.m.): If, in 2027, I can look back at that last paragraph and be completely appalled and embarrassed at how completely wrong I was, because everything turned out just fine and fucking dandy, well, then I can die a happy woman.

Comments

jchappell68
Mar. 29th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
The Children of Men
*dons flame-retardent suit* I confess I have not seen the movie yet, and the book has been on my "to read" list for more than a decade now. I'm just curious for those of you that have seen the movie (and perhaps read the book, too) if you were troubled by the fact the movie diverges considerably from the book? In P.D. James' novel, it is the men who are infertile, and Julian is the one who is pregnant (naturally, she isn't killed off early on ...

Also, I have the impression based on the review and criticism I've read of the film, that it seems all of the principle characters are men ... is this correct? If so, it seems like poor storytelling (feminist criticism aside). I would think in a movie about global female infertility that many of the main characters would naturally, obviously, be women. Again, I haven't seen the film yet, so I'm not passing judgement, just curious to here what those who have seen the film/read the book/both think about these issues ...