Monday, March 4, 2013

Thirty Years Ago Today in Someone Else's Life:


Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The State of things

At a New Yorker event, Lorrie Moore tries to explain, off the cuff, why "reading is vital." A video gets posted to Youtube. And fuckheads respond. should I be surprised? No. Should I avoid anything in this universe labelled "Comments"? Yes. Still.

    Someone get this woman a ballcap STAT!

    i disagree. i read a plethoric amount of a wide variety of information for free on the internet...current events, things i'm interested in, articles and essays on a range of topics...and then i can not only loan that information out to one person at a time, like a book, but with my entire social network. print media is becoming obsolete, and i have no qualms about it.

    Why read a book? Because she is a writer. Herp Derp.

    she is totally right reading is vital. i almost wanted my kids to grow up illiterate but now i changed my mind thanks to her. math sucks. also she is a bit ugly. just saying. reading is good. bad books suck why read, i understand. i don't know. how is this intellectually stimulating?? what?

    For sm1 who's trying to promote reading, she sure isn't engaging.
    Speed up woman!

    Im sorry, but somebody who previously doesn't like to read is supposed to after watching this boring monotone woman talk about how awesome it is? I think Lorrie Moore gives people more of a reason not to, and I personally think reading is great but it certainly hasn't helped this woman become a vibrant literary role model...

    math is more important than reading!!!

    As if an author is NOT going to promote the reading of books.

    There is a great deal of difference between an eager man who wants to read a book and a tired man who wants a book to read.
    --JinxOz  2

    thats brilliant

    @dudesonman4200 :)!

    That's the most painful headache I've ever seen.

    The 12 people who disliked this video can't read
    --TheTruth006  3

    Lorrie Moore is probably the most effective argument AGAINST reading I've ever seen...

    Books are great and will always be of importance in society. But to disregard the other forms of media is shortsighted.

    @DollfieFace, very true that all forms of media are valuable but merely being capable of "consuming" multiple forms of media isn't enough, individuals should be versed in the art and the mechanics of "producing" various forms of media, reading without the ability to write is impotent, being taught while not being able to teach another is impotent, etc... Just as the proliferation/mainstreaming of porn has simply led to an increase in solitary masturbation, mere access to books...

    @DollfieFace... won't spark innovation, progress, etc... unless it inspires new authors, new ideas and solutions to problems, print is dead otherwise.

    shes a stage noob learn to dig the pain of the cooking of ur retinas by asshole light techs
capotes, 'other voices, other rooms,' .........thats why reading is vital!

    what?? i think she was stoned out of her mind
    --diablossmirk  2

    Someone should tell her that she doesn't have to salute the whole time; just when the officer walks into the room.
    --imager777  44

    @imager777 It looks like she's talking to somebody in the audience. She's probably just trying to keep the stage light out of her eyes.

    @imager777 she's not saluting..she's covering a zit! 
    @imager777 She doesn't mean to. Some ass hole put glue on her forehead.

    @imager777 ...hehe

    replace books with podcasts or video lecture.
    how do podcasts not meet her criteria but have the additional feature of high information bandwidth and zero intonation loss.
    texts place is in the comments section.

    @vincenmt reading a book requires a focus and spurs imagination in a complex way that vegetating on audio or video lack, that's part of the "intimacy" she was talking about. i understand that most people have a problem with the effort it takes to read a good sized book, but the payoff is worth it.
    --desirefirst  11

    Well said.

    @desirefirst I advise picking up the Culture series, if the individual is mature enough to handle the content; I think the smallest book in the series is eight hundred pages.
    Then there's the Legend of Drizzt the complete collection, by R.A. Salvatore; that entire collection is golden. Book one looks to be around 1600 pages.
    Just a quick glance at some of the books I have. Can you imagine how much you'd miss, if such literature were on video format? It'd be like watching Lord of the Rings. ^_^

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A Ten Years' September Rambling Aside

It's a chill day in Vermont after a week of tropical storms, wash-outs, rain fronts and blah. Have the hummingbirds gone, or are they just laying low?

We're coming up on the tenth anniversary of "9/11," and this week has been full of hubbub about that day in 2001.

I care little for the "where I was then" stories, or even the "what has happened to us since" stories. I know where I was; I can re-feel the tilting of the world when the second plane hit the towers. And no one needs to be reminded of the mess that has been made of the aftermath.

But today I listened to a 9/11/2001 audio assemblage courtesy of the New York Times--radio dispatches from air traffic control, the military, etc., recorded as the events unfolded--and I found it chilling. When she saw the the audio link, Lauren announced, "I don't want to listen to any radio recordings."

I get what she is saying. But I think I am looking for something I'm not getting elsewhere. I don't want the  commentary, parsing, and wistful nostalgia. I want actual reportage. Or not even reportage. I just want to understand--or really just experience--the unfolding of events, the artifacts of that day. I want the radio chatter, always a half a step behind, or the intimate cell phone dialogs laid out on a timeline. Even, yes, the images of the jumpers.

I half-remember them from live TV that day, the jumpers and fallers. They haunt me, maybe, more than anything else from that day.  I'm not the only one, of course. But from time to time I've even searched the web for images of their falling, never finding significant results. It's as if those images have been blocked somehow, unsearchable--out of consideration for the families or for the nation as a whole.

There is this one, now easily found, of the one so-called Falling Man. But the images I see in my mind are blurrier than this, almost incidental--ghostly monochromatic figures, suspended high in the air where people shouldn't be. These blurry pictures could just be my imagination, or a false memory. But for me, to see them would represent something concrete and necessary, something that cannot be provided by thoughtful commentary or ground-zero waterfalls. Maybe the events of 2001 can only be analyzed and rediscovered, not really understood. It's in the memory-images, and a few of the photographs. And in the mumbled words of Mohammed Atta saying "We have some planes," or the flat affect of all the flight controllers and other workers trying to understand the scope of the problem (and in the brief moments when you can tell they do).

Maybe we as a country still don't understand the scope of the problem--or, really, what the true problem ever was, or is.

Monday, August 22, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

...over on Facebook I posted these words from the road to Syracuse:

"Driving back to Syracuse to hopefully be with my Dad for some moments before his moments run out. And listening to the "Words" episode of Radiolab. Acquisition of language, words as brickwork for abstract thought. This also makes me think of my Mom, her memory going, the symbology of words starting to leave her, and what it means to be human, and alive, and connected to the named things of this world. Phewf."

Five days later, my Father died while I slept on the floor next to his bed.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

A “Writer’s” Dialog


I had a day today o f near complete freedom--son at "LEGO Camp" all day, daughter at a friend's house all day, no job-related work to do--and of course much of the day was given over to a growing feeling of paralysis. Oh, I mowed some of the lawn, I bought chicken feed. But there is so much else I could have done with that luxurious time. The writing, the accordion (the picking up the cleaning the calling of gutter contractors). And this evening as I listen to D. Shields on some podcast or other I think back to grad school and the increasing distaste for the contrivances of fiction, and of course a fair amount of what he says resonates (though his assumption that art should reflect the current condition is itself kinda quaint, if you ask me). And I think: maybe what he advocates could be the un-paralysis-ing agent that I need. But I fear there is so much more to it for me than the chucking of contrivances. I want to be liberated, but not merely from the bonds of 18th-century fictional structures, but from whatever it is that keeps me from playing the accordion as much as picking up a pen. I'm nearly 50; this is such a tired old tale. (it's the condescending editorial voice that gets the last word).


...who or what will do the liberating, I wonder? You sound like me. Waiting for something to come along and blow everything apart. I am not coming to terms well with my passivity, my true and daily desire for a miracle.
I can't remember the name of that type of depression in which one cannot fully engage in the ordinary; there is the perpetual need to hold back. Anyway.
Me. But we were talking about you.
The way you talk to yourself by writing to other people is...very good. Write one of these ruminative mini essays each day for one year. Your photo of the day? Ach. But there's your book.


Call Again:

Good idea, the daily talk with self/other. I don't think I'm waiting (anymore) to be liberated deux ex machina style. But I spend most of my time avoiding the sense that I am in bonds at all--by working, mowing, Facebooking, parenting. When confronted with "free time" and I remember that I wanted to spend some of the summer writing and playing the accordion, then I start getting that bound-up feeling and I start thinking there must be a way out of this, of liberation, but it's a mechanism I can't seem to unlock, except by avoiding it altogether. I guess that's not unlocking. But I--at least sometimes--try to engage it, to understand or even just plow through it. I mean, I certainly have my passivities, but as far as I can tell there is no real difference between internal and external liberation in this instance. I grapple with it, when I can, but ultimately I grapple in pain and self-recrimination.