Monday, June 29, 2015

A blast in Boise



Nice. I see quail hanging on Mitch's fenceline. I have had his attic space for a month. We went away for a few days at the outset. Hour from the place Hemingway spattered his brains out. It was rather nice. Spent a few good mornings on the deck. The deck was next to an active river. Very meditative.

Yes, as every one knows, meditation and water are wedded for ever — Herman Melville

stanley river
Casually, I handed my Bartleby card to a local eccentric, who despite nursing a Hornitos and grapefruit seemed a little wobbly. She texted me this message :
Person,
In the bar in Stanley.
  Again. I hope your travels were safe.
Let me know when you come back to
dog town.

Person
Early on I forgot where I actually lived, an episode prompted by me finding gum stuck to my t-shirt. After a spell of anxiety I remembered Milledgeville. Complicating my disorientation was me wondering whether I had a cat or not (I believe this is due to the fact that the last time I had found gum stuck to my shirt I was in Flagstaff and I lived with a cat). More frightening is that I was not drunk nor hungover. I live in Milledgeville and am visiting Idaho. The rivers here are amazing. There is a fly on my foot and there are red-winged blackbirds about. Love those birds. I saw Built to Spill. Local boys done good. Went by myself. Met an interesting artist who bought me a Glen Livet. They drink scotch in the northwest unencumbered by political association. Whereas scotch drinkers down south are unabashedly Republicans and I feel very lowly about those tramps and what used to be my drink of choice.

Had all kinds of fun rafting the Payette. Bought a trucker hat I was so tickled by the tone of our tour guides. I expected frat-boy sarcasm, and there was some (Shane you are wittier than you look) but overall genuine people. No one got dumped in the water sadly. Worst mishap was me slipping down some steps back at HQ after three beers and thought I busted my back. Bruised my arm solidly and nearly cried from the extremity of the impact.

Bit hot for a bike ride today. One-hundred plus. Took me an hour and a half or so to the bookshop downtown, dodging quail, observing red-winged blackbirds. Witnessed an obese whistlepig dash inside a drainpipe, not really sure how. It was probably ninety-something when I sat outside the shop and ate a ham sandwich. Sandwich was warm, but good, though squashed from a 28 ounce Gatorade I purchased on the way. Watched people pass by. Noticed a Boisean propensity for bald men with long beards and short legs covered in tattoos. They were heading into the smokeshop next to my bookseller. Finished my sandwich and texted Mitch. Told him to meet me at the Neurolux — grungy bar where I saw Built to Spill. He said no. Later I asked him why. He said ‘I was busy.’ I told him that I would have liked to put my bike in the back of his truck. He said, “I know that is why I said I was busy.”

James Salter — dead at 90. I have only read Sport and a Pastime, his racy French novel but I can bet his sex life at 89 was better than mine at my sport and a pastime peak! Suppose I should have looked for one of his books. Picked up a posthumous Lowry collection that spends a lot of time at sea, mildly appropriate given the abundance of water in Boise.

Presently reading Christina Stead's The Man Who Loved Children. A very good book by a Sydney genius. Reads like Nancy Mitford on steroids.

downtown the night of Built to Spill
I did get sick here. About a week in, suddenly my head expanded and I went horizontal for 72 hours. The variance between the air conditioning and the temperature outside is like Greenland to the Sahara. The recycled air pumping from his air conditioner is ravaging my sinuses, but he’s a glandular fellow and presumably likes igloos. I could go outside, but it has become too unpleasant at this hour. 

Yesterday Papa M and Ayla went to buy a sprinkler for the backyard. Kellen stayed back with me because he captured a grasshopper and wanted to watch its movements closely. I gave him some purple lettuce to feed the little guy he named Hops and lil’ Hops took to it immediately. Kellen couldn’t believe the perfect crescent the grasshopper made in the leaf with its mandible. At one point, he inquired about his dad and and his sister: “I wonder what they are talking about right now.” Then, moments later… “I wonder if Ayla is buckled?” The kids are funny.

Getting along well. Earlier at the supermarket, in the backseat of the car waiting for papa, who was inside getting a few things to take to the park, Kellen plays Frosty the Snowman on his phone and it is ninety-five degrees outside and his sister does not not fly into a rage.

I’d say Mitch and I are getting along smashingly, but I could be dreadfully wrong and I will tell you why: he claims I ate his cheese, but why, when I have my own? He said because you didn’t put it back in the Ziplock bag where it belongs. Well he is right about me eating some of it. We don’t get Tillamook cheddar in Georgia and just a little taste means so much to me, but when I took it from the fridge it was not in the Ziplock bag he claims it was. Either way I lose. 

Two more days and then we are off to Portland for more merriment. Been taking it easy here and there, occasionally losing my balance late at night. Once I sat on the console that recharges Mitch’s microphones. The battery connection was lost until a few days later Mitch was able to bend the console back in shape.

Discovered a local gin I really like. It is from Idaho and here is a picture of it with this vermouth I have never seen before that I also like very much.




Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Melville's

"here goes for a cool, collected dive at death and destruction, and the devil fetch the hindmost." — Moby Dick

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Swimming Song



My good friend Sarah sent me this good quote from William Stafford's Writing the Australian Crawl and it made me think of Loudin Wainwright's Swimming Song.

“…writing itself is one of the great, free human activities. There is scope for individuality, and elation, and discovery, in writing. For the person who follows with trust and forgiveness what occurs to him, the world remains always ready and deep, an inexhaustible environment, with the combined vividness of an actuality and flexibility of a dream. Working back and forth between experience and thought, writers have more than space and time can offer. They have the whole unexplored realm of human vision” (20).

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Embellishments

"He was born in Portland, oregon. He then went to prison for taking pictures of a basketball court. After escaping prison, he moved to Australia to change his name and identity. He then moved back to the U.S. becoming a farmer of peppers and onions, a lover of garlic. Even though he likes the open space of the Grand Canyon and farms, he likes the city life as well. Then, he moved to Milledgeville, to become a teacher."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Kafka's lover

He was a hermit, a man of insight who was frightened by life... He saw the world as being full of demons which assail and destroy defenseless man... All his works describe the terror of mysterious misconceptions and guiltless guilt in human beings.
- Milena Jesenka

Thursday, May 07, 2015

The Metamorphosis

Nabokov’s note in his annotated copy:
“The soul has died with Gregor; the healthy young animal takes over. The parasites have fattened themselves on Gregor.” 

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Au Hasard Balthazar



One of my students on Robert Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar (1966): "This last scene was extremely powerful and deeply saddening to me for reasons I can't possibly explain. The bells of the sheep and the music that played just added to the emotional power..."