Saturday, June 24, 2006

Sorry I haven't been around much

In preparation for our move, I worked on some more old papers. I have just about a full notebook done. It brought up a lot of memories. I stay on the lookout for memorable phrases.* I also look for memories where I've acquired some perspective, where the way things looked when I was going through them seem very different to me now. I see places where it was me who was in the wrong, and deficient in kindness and perspective. I sometimes wonder what would've happened if I'd changed just a little earlier.

I don't know who this book is for; maybe just me. It's funny to me how the other people who figure in my life and these scraps of it I've preserved would be shocked, or appalled, or bemused at the way I thought about them, or misrepresented them. Well, of course, I represented what was true to me in the moment, when I wrote it all down; but that's nothing like the truth of the matter. For that reason, I don't think I'm likely to write Dan Lewis: The Early Years ~~~ A Memoir from this stuff. But I suppose my papers will come pre-edited if I'm ever rich and famous (and my nag of a blog better giddy up if I'm ever to ride it to those happy, happy conditions).

I haven't kept up my furious pace of reading, but I have had a chance to read a book of short stories by Dan Simmons, Prayers to Broken Stones. They're good, mostly. They remind me of Stephen King a bit; not just because they both write horror stories, but also because they both know and write about how middle-class and ordinary and familiar evil can be.

We watched Mirrormask, a cool sort of Wizard of Oz movie by Dave McKean and Neil Gaiman. It's kind of bizarre if you're not ready for it to be bizarre, but I think it's very rewatchable. My one big complaint is that for such weird cityscapes and moving ideas, there aren't enough people in the background. You get no sense of huge machinery trundling along oblivious to you, of an alien culture only roughly glimpsed as it happens to impinge on the story, of people who don't give two figs about what Helena and her party are up to, or have an agenda that can't easily be separated into the opposing camps of the plot. Instead, you ride the train from one stop to the next. Thus, the world feels a little flat to me. But don't take that as a huge criticism; it is deviously original and emotionally fulfilling, and it has some very deep interconnections between its several parts. I still don't think I understood it all. Also, really neato, weird music.

And yes, the refereeing in the last two US World Cup matches was pure crap. The Onyewu foul leading to a game-deciding penalty kick in the Ghana game was particularly nonexistent. What now? When I have no personal stake in the teams, I tend to root for the team with one of two qualities: underdoginess, or unmatchable perfection. When I talk about perfection, I'm talking about '72 Dolphins perfection. They never lost a game. When a team finally loses (like the Colts did last NFL season), I lose interest. So this World Cup, it looks like I'm rooting for Germany, Portugal, Brazil, Spain, and the underdog.

* [I recall a passage in The Mind of the Maker that says "A rose-red city half as old as time" was the one good line by some author: "ten syllables which have sufficed to render their creator immortal, though nowhere else in the poem, nor (so far as I know) in the rest of his creation, did the worthy gentleman present to the world a single memorable phrase." The man's name was Dean Burgon.]

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