"All these years, she’d treasured the memory of their little road trip, kept it locked up securely in some deep interior place, letting it age like wine, so that, in some symbolic way, the thing that might have happened between them stayed alive and grew older with the two of them."

Jonathan Franzen, Freedom.

Throughout this book I find myself stopping and going “oh” in that way that one does when what previously seemed like a deeply personal sentiment turns out to be universal enough to be expressed by Patty Berglund.

"It felt to her as if, with each new piece of her that his eyes alit on, she was being further tacked to the wall behind her, so that, when he was done looking over all if her, she had been rendered entirely two-dimensional and fastened to the wall."

Jonathan Franzen, Freedom.

"There is no moment that exceeds in beauty that moment when one looks at a woman and finds that she is looking at you in the same way that you are looking at her. The moment in which she bestows that look that says, ‘Proceed with your evil plan, sumbitch.’"

Donald Barthelme

30 Day Drawing Challenge, Day 4: A favorite character from literature.
A day late (I drew it on the right day but I forgot to post it, so there will be another drawing later for Day 5) and another crappy phone shot of my sketchbook. Maybe I should start toting my scanner around with me as well as my laptop and drawing supplies. Or not. I’ll fix it with a nice scan later on.
Anyway, this is what Seymour Glass looks like inside my head thanks to Buddy’s very detailed description in “Seymour: An Introduction,” which is my favorite Salinger whatever that makes me. I am in love with him of course and always have been, and I hope he’s never ever ruined by some stupid movie.
The sloppy geometric pencil lines surrounding him were a good idea in my head, like some kind of hint at his enlightenment, but they look like a mistake. I might actually paint him someday, his whole self with his ‘beautiful hands’ and the feet he wanted to hide, maybe in his bathrobe on the beach the day of his suicide, and maybe the shapes behind him would be bright beautiful golds and silvers and then you’d see what I was actually trying to get at.
Despite all of that nonesense, I think this drawing project has been good for me so far.
[previously: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3]

30 Day Drawing Challenge, Day 4: A favorite character from literature.

A day late (I drew it on the right day but I forgot to post it, so there will be another drawing later for Day 5) and another crappy phone shot of my sketchbook. Maybe I should start toting my scanner around with me as well as my laptop and drawing supplies. Or not. I’ll fix it with a nice scan later on.

Anyway, this is what Seymour Glass looks like inside my head thanks to Buddy’s very detailed description in “Seymour: An Introduction,” which is my favorite Salinger whatever that makes me. I am in love with him of course and always have been, and I hope he’s never ever ruined by some stupid movie.

The sloppy geometric pencil lines surrounding him were a good idea in my head, like some kind of hint at his enlightenment, but they look like a mistake. I might actually paint him someday, his whole self with his ‘beautiful hands’ and the feet he wanted to hide, maybe in his bathrobe on the beach the day of his suicide, and maybe the shapes behind him would be bright beautiful golds and silvers and then you’d see what I was actually trying to get at.

Despite all of that nonesense, I think this drawing project has been good for me so far.

[previously: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3]

The Road The Movie

I skipped it in the theater because I loved the book so much that I was confident the movie would disappoint in comparison, and I was right, but not as right as I thought I might be. The movie spends way too much time on the dead wife and draws out the end for too long, plus it milks tears in places where the book was more subtle and quietly beautiful or terrifying. That said, for a Hollywood movie it is indeed very bleak, scary, sad, and slow and for that I commend the filmmakers.

Mostly though, there is Viggo’s face. Holy hell. This is an (/the only) area in which the movie really adds a layer of depth rather than removing layers, because oh lord can he act with his eyes and his skin and his everything. I probably wouldn’t even be bothering to say anything about the film without Viggo specifically in that role. It commanded empathy for a very quiet, repressed, tortured man, reminding me a little of Heath Ledger’s work in Brokeback Mountain (which might be the best performance of the last decade IMO). No one else could have done it better, or done it at all. Hooray for Viggo.

But. I cried a lot but not for the same reasons I cried while reading the book. For the most part, despite Vigs, I wasn’t deeply moved by the film. I was shallowly moved, as in: ‘oh no child in danger ahh child seeing death ahh look away child child child.’ The book made me examine all kinds of things: love, death, environmental destruction, parenting, morality, religon. The movie primarily made me examine my maternal instinct.

If you saw the movie but didn’t read the novel, I highly recommend the book. It will stick with you for the rest of your life — I can almost promise that and I don’t even know you.

"I was obsessed with the Canadian novel Anne of Green Gables. I decided I was Anne of Green Gables. There was something that spoke to me about her, and I wanted to have her beautiful red hair."

Christina Hendricks

Local Bookstores, Social Hubs, and Mutualization « Clay Shirky

"This group believes, in other words, that book buying is a widespread activity while internet access is for elites, the opposite of the actual case."

Sad but true. For now, Austin is lucky to have so many rich people who can choose where to buy books (and records and groceries), many of whom choose BookPeople. IMO, BP still banks for a few reasons: the staff, the events, and an almost altruistic (and perhaps even misguided) devotion from it’s community. It’s like the ideas in this article about becoming a nonprofit are already how the public in Austin views BookPeople, except that BP is not actually structured that way at all. That’s for the best for someone like me who takes an immense amount of joy in having a beautiful, spacious bookstore in my community, but I wonder how long it can last.

I am surprised that this post didn’t touch on the idea of smaller local businesses taking advantage of the rise of online bookbuying, ala Powells. I think this could also be a huge factor. BookPeople has been very slow to adapt to the internets the way that Powells has, but the baby steps have finally become more like toddler steps in the last year or so, with the improvement of the BookPeople blog, the development of the twitter page, etc..

Anyway, after living in Austin for twenty years and working at BookPeople for almost half of those, I have a lot of opinions about bookselling and bookstores. Some of them aren’t pretty. That said, I love independent bookstores and I really hope that the best ones can find a way to make it. I don’t think letters to the Justice Department are helping.

The joy of print

Eggers and I are of the same mind here. I have no interest in e-books. I never want to give up the weight, beauty, and ritual of holding an actual book and flipping an actual page.

bobulate:

Dave Eggers on the calmness of print:

I like…the calmness, the authority, the curation of a daily paper, where I know I’m not going to be sent into something totally trivial and non-germane.

He offers four ideas associated with print, but readily applicable to any platform:

1. Comprehensiveness and containment
2. Length and thoughtfulness
3. Professionalism and expert curation
4. Physicality and variety

But then:

“I don’t want to read online,” Eggers said. “I don’t want to wake up and look at a screen. I feel like as a society, we try to put everything on that same goddamn screen, and pretty soon we’re going to be eating on the screen or, like, making love through the screen. It’s just sort of like: ‘Why does everything have to be on the screen?’

Some things, indeed, are not meant for the screen.

"This band was the best music I’d ever heard, bar none. They made you want to pick up a rifle and get killed somewhere."

Barry Hannah, ‘Geronimo Rex’

"Opening Day means spring. It means, literally, an opening: of buds spreading and jackets unbuttoning; of little birds’ mouths gaping; of rubber bands being released from neat’s-foot-oiled baseball mitts that have been held tight around a ball all winter. The Louisville Slugger sends painful jolts up your arms if you don’t connect properly in the chill air. It will be better soon: warmer, and the wind will die down. But even now, if you keep the label up, you can knock that old horsehide clean and far and feel nothing but warmth."

Frank Deford

(should have posted this yesterday but I was busy watching baseball)

"It is, instead, a simple snapshot of an aging Willie Mays falling asleep in a chair as he watches a game show. Suddenly, there’s a baseball question. Willie Mays jolts himself awake and shouts the answer: “Me!”"

Posnanski’s SI review of “Willie Mays — The Life, The Legend” by Jim Hirsch.

"The shine of Fitzgerald and the sound of Ring Lardner haunted these pages, but it was Salinger’s readiness to be touched, and to be touching, his hypersensitivity to the smallest sounds and graces of life, which still startles."

Adam Gopnick in the New Yorker

"Everything has gone from me but the certainty of your goodness."

Letters of Note: I can’t fight any longer

Daily drawing: 02.08.10
Snufkin, who would be approximately 1/3 of the equation if I was building a perfect robot boyfriend. I left all my drawing supplies at my non-robotic boyfriend’s house, so this is in ballpoint pen.

Daily drawing: 02.08.10

Snufkin, who would be approximately 1/3 of the equation if I was building a perfect robot boyfriend. I left all my drawing supplies at my non-robotic boyfriend’s house, so this is in ballpoint pen.

Daily drawing: 01.28.10
J.D.

Daily drawing: 01.28.10

J.D.