spacey brain, good books
since returning from slovenia/croatia, my thoughts and actions have been scattered, incomplete. most prominent example: arriving at the wrong airport for my flight to reno thursday morning. didn’t even think to check the boarding pass. southwest has to be bwi, right? no bro. remember making the arrangements now and it had to do with timing and price, but i was scheduled to fly out of iad, change in denver, land in reno at 9:45am. very stupid and very much like something scott would (did) do. southwest airlines staff are really nice and understanding, though. re-routed me through LAX, two hours later, but still in time for kadyn’s competition. but yeah, as far as being untethered, this was a doozy.
other contradictions constantly too. don’t want to engage outside the house, want to have someone with me to walk around with. want the weather to be nice, and then feel guilty for staying in and painting. that is one thing: extremely productive art and house-wise since we’ve been back. front room looks completely different and cool. and for the most part, i’m happy with my work. did notice, after the fact, that i should have designed the bench with the top piece lying atop the two side pieces and not between them (d’oh), and mad at myself for not recognizing that the stop on the drill for the pocket holes in the couch table had moved so i ruined a 24-inch long piece of wood. that’s how it’s been. still painting that one. missing the details.
lost myself in some really good books lately though. engrossing “washington black” by esi edugyan plunked me down in 1840s. not so much the reality of it, although parts rang so true, but more the sing-song tempo of the storytelling. not a light book, either. george washington black escaped from the physical barbarity of slavery in barbados but kept the mental and emotional barbarity right at the surface. and the tale was wondrous, yes. did get annoyed with some of the obviousness. but definitely a recommendation.
got really annoyed with “age of light” by whitney scharer, a novelization of lee miller’s life. grateful for learning her story (started as man ray’s assistant, became lovers, grew into a solid artist herself minus the recognition and ray taking credit for her work) but why did scharer constantly have lee wringing her hands and being such the ingenue? she was obviously very knowledgeable about art, men, etc. maybe not so much about herself but geez, i got tired of the constant worrying and caution. i would like to read a more fact-based biography of her. on the list.
watched “collette” on the plane back from slovenia. aside from gazing adoringly at keira knightly for two hours, the camera covered much the same moral ground. woman learns about the basics from a man, takes off with her own gumption/imagination, man uses her work as his own, she has to fight for freedom and recognition. a sumptuous movie, pretty good for a plane ride. also watched “cold war” by polish director pawel pawlikowski. black and white post-WWII period piece with stunning visuals and a typical unhappy ending. liked it.
romain gary’s “the kites,” translated from french by miranda richmond mouillot, also included poles, but these were aristocratic poles. really good and so very french, in the best aspects. only thing is, from reading this, you’d think everyone in france was involved with the resistance during WWII, which of course we know is not true. but i love the way gary jumps around and gives us clues to what’s going on instead of outright saying, ‘four months have passed, blah blah blah.’ he presents the action without preview or pomp. layers of the main character’s love for a woman, his family, his friends, his country, and life itself presented so provocatively. differences between humanity and humaneness, showing we’re not there yet but we have the potential. some sloppiness (how did ludo end up with the dog when the madame exited the room with him already?) will definitely read more of his work.
then “peace like a river” by leif enger. storytelling manner reminds me of kent haruf (“plainsong”) with all the subtlety and matter-of-fact-ness of small town life. appreciate his selection of simple (not simplistic) words. the main character, an 11-year-old boy, has bad asthma, and while he sees it as just part of his life, the way enger evokes not breathing and then the magical realism of faith was remarkable. this tells you nothing about the book itself, in which his brother shoots a couple of bullies and then goes on the run to the great wild west (in the 1960s) and the family follows in an unlikely airstream trailer. fun read.
and a book mom gave me: “to the bright edge of the world” by eowyn ivey, who’s book “snow child” i read within the past year. alaska, more dawn-of-photography, real-ish people. wanted to keep reading, which is the best recommendation i know of.
so yeah, i’ve had all these thoughts about art and books and movies running around my head but it’s disjointed. made it a point to NOT ingest any weed since i’ve been home. maybe it’s still the after effects of that fucking flu, but that’s probably a cop out. giving myself time to scroll through this and plugging away at the art and getting back to working out. and i do want to start getting out to see music and dance and theater again. it will happen.
oh, and kadyn? at the 2019 junior olympics national championships, he placed third all around for 11 year olds. in the whole. friggin. country. he rocks and so does his mommy.