collecting parcels from here next year
I haven't been doing much. Mostly a lot of reading. I saw Shutter Island, arguably Martin Scorsese’s most insufferable film. There was a lot of personal anxiety I had to neutralise in order to get through it. Michelle Williams is very good, though in it only briefly and Dicaprio gets an A for Effort, D for delivery.
They showed a trailer for Prince of Persia beforehand. I was more in the mood for that one and I’m never in the mood for crap like that. Every utterance from Jake Gyllenhall’s mouth was so deliciously unironic it totally became the opposite of that. But as my new Irish poet friend Sean says irony is always there like city streets and he points outside the shop front and sure enough the streets are still there. I took Jesse to this great Pho restaurant on Victoria St before the movie. I don’t know it’s name, I only know it by sight, it does have Pho in the title. Eight dollars for a big regular with rare beef and chili, lemon, mint and sprouts on the side.
There is a concerning gap between the quality of books I am reading and the quality of sentences that I am writing. Still the man of letters in me must persist.
Barry Hannah’s Airships is so mind-blowing I have added it to my list of fav books. I’m giving it to my new poet friend who I met yesterday at the book shop down from where I had breakfast. I don’t know the name of it, but the café is the Ginger Lee and that’s what I et, the Ginger Lee signature dish: poached eggs, bacon, toast and red dipping sauce. Sean witnessed some marriage documents and I turned him on to Thomas Berger. I stayed through the entirety of the Mercury Rev album chatting to him. He introduced me to Al Purdy, this Canadian poet and I wrote my email on the back of a poem that he wrote on Saturday after being up all night. I’m going to go back in there on Saturday. You should drop in too if you’re around, Sean’s gonna be there all day.
More books I’ve read:
Gringos by Charles Portis. I finished this upon arrival in Bendigo. Like all Portis novels, it’s very pleasurable. He’s top 5 funny fucker when it comes to smoothly capturing goofy American naivete. Like McGuane his novels are all kind of similar. Thomas Berger on the other hand, whiz-bang funny man, explodes genres for beer and skittles. I just read The Feud which surprised me how perfect it was. You know what’s far from perfect: Lorrie Moore’s Gate at the Stairs. It misfires a lot. She writes well on grief, but there’s almost an overdose of Lorrie going on here. All the characters make Lorrie Moore jokes even the Arab. It’s like Jerry Seinfeld playing every character on Heroes or something. The jokes continue to fly even when the story turns unbearably grim and that’s one bus you either get on or run from.
In Bendigo, we ate porterhouse and drank local varietals. Frances and Stephen, my splendiferous hosts, didn’t seem to mind me talking about my problems and they were only too happy I play them hirsute rock music from Sweden as long as I discussed my recent encounters with celebrity (true).
Poor Frances was trying to sleep and Stephen and I were banging things to the primitive sounds of Beat Happening. She made her point by locking me out of the house, apologising subsequently (an honest mistake). I prepared vegetables for a roast the next day, while her and Stephen went to the shop for a chicken.
We ate chicken and vegetables and watched Moon the movie made by David Bowie’s son and starring Sam Rockwell, who is fun to watch. It’s a heckuva movie but for chrissakes don’t watch the extras, it’s a half hour of your life you will bitterly want back. I went to bed after that and read some more of the Robert Lowell biography by Ian Hamilton.
The next day Fran and Steve took me to the Bendigo Art Gallery, which is something to see. I liked the pottery dogs, Frances liked the fridge. Not sure what Steve liked but it wasn’t the Whitely’s that I know because he said as much.
Anyone reading this wants the Robert Lowell bio let me know because I’m selling it back to the bookshop on Lygon st. this Saturday. It’s mostly heartbreaking, but gee I’m glad I read it. And it’s scholarship is immense.
I watched that movie Stepbrothers about these two guys with bigheads and bad attitudes. Poor Mary Steenburgen. She seems happy with that face made of leather.
I applied for the Creative Writing program at a few places, most of whom regret to inform me they didn’t like me that much, they didn’t say whether they liked me even a little. Anyways Northern Arizona did and I’m starting there in the Fall.