Of Ink and Quills and Parchment

One of the joys of living, it seems to me, is the ever-present ability to re-invent oneself. So, a few months ago, I declared, amid no fanfare whatsoever, that I deemed myself a writer.

I’m not sure there is some formal standard that one must meet in order to claim this appellation. If there is, I may not meet it. But then I don’t care. It is my claim, and anyone is free to disagree.

Note that I call myself a writer, not a Writer. I reserve the capital W for those who can REALLY write. I scribble, with an occasional dash of brilliance that streaks across the sky and too soon snuffs out much as your average meteorite. A big ado about little–this is me.

I have concluded that being a self-proclaimed writer gives me a certain ability to be witty and slashingly evil. All in the name of sharp-edgy rhetoric, the turn of a phrase that causes a gasp from you my reader. You do gasp on occasion don’t you? Please say you do.

It’s why I adore people like Dorothy Parker and Lillian Hellman, and goodness knows one of my favorites Truman Capote. And Tennessee Williams! Rapier wit, icy, droll, slicing, eviscerations. I just love them all.

I read this piece today courtesy of 3quarksdaily and frankly the article on a very old book on the study of evil is worth reading, but I include it for its gorgeous quotes. One is by Capote, who in reviewing Jack Kerouac‘s On the Road, quipped:

That was not writing, that was typing.

There is another by the reviewer of Soame Jenyns book, A Free Inquiry in the Nature and Origin of Evil. But follow the link for that. As I said, a discussion of the author’s theory of evil is worth the read in and of itself. Evil here is cast in the greater sense of natural as well as man-made, and Jenyn’s concludes that evil is required to keep balance in a well run universe. I would of course not agree, but that’s a whole other blog post.

Oh just want to throw in my two cents at the GOP attempt to “speak against the nut case pastor in Florida.” Both Sarah and John B. have weighed in and both, as I have heard are tying the impropriety of the Qur’an burning to the impropriety of Park51. Like there is anything remotely similar in the two. Just exactly what is to be expected from moral defectives. Shame on ya both.

Helen weighs in on the book burning over at Margaret and Helen. Never miss these lovely slices of humor and straight talk. Ever. I mean it.

I got to thinking. (You have been warned.) We were watching The Colony last night. It is a reality show where about ten people are thrown into an area somewhere along the Louisiana coastline, as “refugees” of a viral global epidemic. Nine-tenths of the human race is dead. They are left to their own devices. It’s fairly interesting as they scavenge material and food, trying to build a viable community.

They are not doing well with food, and they are starting to show the effects. I suddenly giggled at the possible headline:

 Reality show participants forget that it’s just pretend, and by lots kill a member for food. Body found partly dismembered. One survivor was heard to  say, why “he tasted just like pork, better than the cockroaches we were eating for sure.”  All have been hospitalized and are under observation. Psychiatrists condemn show producers for not making the make-believe aspect more clear. Meanwhile, the partially eaten body of James Kelly was turned over to the family for burial. A closed casket is expected. Authorities are investigating for possible criminal charges. The leader of the survival group, when advised that it was all just make-believe, expressed his sympathy, and emphatically said, that no such killing would have occurred had they not been so hungry, or had they known that a Burger King was right down the street, behind the fence.

Well, so sue me. I have a morbid mind at times.

On a completely different note:

I ran into this at Tikkun Daily Blog: Non-Jews would benefit from observing Rosh Hashanah thru Yom Kippur (Sept 9-Sept 19). I think Rabbi Lerner is right. Repentance and atonement are things we all need, both individually and communally. We are so quick to blame others for the chaotic world we live in. We don’t condone nor commit the hate that swirls around us, but we are complicit when we sit in silence bemoaning the state of things. When we don’t speak out, and let it be known that we disagree with the war mongers and hate mongers who continually tear down bridges and erect walls of division. This is a good read.

Heather at Crooks and Liars has an important question, or at least reiterates one: when has someone crossed a line? When is the GOP rhetoric just too much. When is it dangerous? When it is traitorous? When do we pull back in disgust and turn our backs on such people as simply unacceptable in a democratic state? Rachel Maddow asks this of Sharron Angle and her continuing threat that people may have to resort to their second amendment rights to get what they want. Is this the real face of the GOP? Are they the party of dictatorship?

What’s on the stove: pork chops and parslied potatoes and green beans.

Don’t Open that Door!!!

I knew you couldn’t resist, so you might as well come on in, sit down, and make yourself comfortable. A cup of java?

There are times I think that I might be slightly bi-polar. Today is one of them, as I have a rare indeed experience of being energetic and wanting to get things done. This is nearly enough to send me to bed, fearful that I’m coming down with some disease, but then here we are.

It is just a bit after 11 am and thus far I have, gotten up, dressed, made coffee, downed a significant portion of it, fixed breakfast, washed dishes three times, done a load of wash, dried, folded and put it away, put new bedding on said bed, made a Mexican casserole for dinner, all ready for warming, and have a apple crisp in the oven cooking as we speak. Oh, and I fed Brandy, let out numerous cats, let in some of them, and a dog or two. Whew!

Feeling really lazy are you and racked with guilt? I surely hope so. I don’t do this just for the fun of it you know.

Anyway, I realized that certain statements just refuse to leave my cluttered mind, and I got to wondering why. You know what I mean. Certain events, certain words of wisdom, whatever, stick to the synaptic byways of various memory locations within said brain, and seem to travel through time, coming forth here and there over the years. Some, I heard just a couple of days ago. Go figure.

So here they are, in no particular order. If you expect some logical progression, sorry, but we aren’t into that today. My brain is in its untamed, “JUST WRITE IT DOWN!” mode.

I can’t give you a link, so you will just have to trust me, but I read the other day, about the Sarah thingie–you recall her statement about getting health care in Canada? Well, along with that she announced that they had to do that because health care premiums were beyond their ability until “we got us some good UNION JOBS.” Presumably with good health care. SARAH DEAR–check with the GOP powers that be, but ummm, I’m thinking that the GOP is not fond of that statement. Unions are ummm, how do I put this– A DEMOCRATIC THING! you ignorant woman.

Last night we watched last Sunday’s installment of Amazing Race. We do have our standards of course, but we generally like this show. This season, there are a couple of young guys, who are both authentic cowboys. Not sure what state they are from, but they look, act the part–proven by actual roping skills demonstrated in Argentina at one point.

Anyway, last night, they were in Germany, having just consumed their first beer ever (and it was a HUGE amount) to complete a task in the game. They were then off to a small club in the red light district of Hamburg to the “pit stop.” As they walked down the byways of said district, admiring all the lights, ladies of the evening, and various strip joints, one cowboy exclaimed to the other:

Cord, I don’t think we are in the bible belt any more!”

Indeed not. They are a delightful pair, smart as whips (why whips are smart I have no clue), affable, and so far one of the best teams. We hope they win.

Henry David Thoreau is a dear favorite of mine. Two remarks have stuck in my cranium for years. I have no idea why, but certain truths seem to emanate forth.

I went to the woods because I wanted to live deliberately.

I am not sure what Thoreau meant by this, but I found it on a paper weight, and bought it for the Contrarian many years ago. I like the sound of it, but as I said, I’m not sure what is more deliberate about living in the woods than otherwise. Authentic perhaps? I’m not at all sure how that translates to the 21st century. It’s a ponderful thing.

I’m a big fan of Tennessee Williams. Loved a ton of his plays. Streetcar Named Desire, Sweet Bird of Youth, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (wherein I first learned of the word mendacity!). Night of the Iguana. Oh the list is long. All dark, deep thoughtful things. I think the “method” actors like Newman and Brando loved his stuff.

Williams was gay, and his sister was mentally ill. She was lobotomized at an early age, and never recovered. Williams feared insanity all his life, as well as no doubt how to be a gay man in a very ungay world. His plays reflect the dark underside of  the human mind. Some say Blanche DuBois was a reflection of his sister. Some say Brick was Williams.

I heard the other day, that he said this:

From our birth we are condemned to a life sentence of solitary confinement within our flesh.

True enough. Sad, frightening, depressing, but oh so true. Most of us, at some point in life, reach this conclusion though we may not state it so eloquently. We realize that there are no words, no actions, no way to touch, sing, or otherwise convey the depth, breadth, and color of our emotional life. No matter how close we are, you can’t “get me” as I truly am, and I cannot get you. Fact. Move on. Or angst about it forever as Williams appeared to have.

Thoreau said it succinctly and matter-of-factly:

Most men live lives of quiet desperation.

Also true, depressing, sad and all that rot. Fact, move on. We do because there is nothing much else to do. Even if we have faith, we pretty much are still stuck in that.

I’m in a good mood, so these are not dark musings. Just ideas that never leave. They are the boundaries of life. Factual true. Can’t change them, accept them, shrug and move on. Still one sometimes longs to dwell in the mind of a less thinking mind. Easier, yes. But not nearly as enriched.

Have yourself a very merry day. I DID warn you!

Bookmark and Share

Okay Let’s Play

Yesterday, as was most apparent, you were treated to the excellence that still passes for my brain activity. Assured now, that you have realized that I lost nothing of my brain matter during the ensuing six days of elimination of bodily material, I can confess. Not all was serious cerebral engagement over the last said week.

Nay, rather, much of the time, the old brain case surrounded an organ murky and barely working at times. This would explain my sudden joy at watching old movie classics with relish. This is something the Contrarian does for actual fun on a regular basis, but I too often pass on such delights, preferring to fire new neurological activity rather than revisit old haunts.

Having entirely too much time on my hands, I found myself engaged as I said in reliving past glories. These included Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, The Bells of St. Marys, and the original A Christmas Carol. One that we jointly watched during one evening, near the end of our unhappy illness, was Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. I have seen this movie at least four times in my middling life, and still enjoy it. I admit to being more a fan of Elizabeth Taylor than Paul Newman, but still, the movie IS after all by Tennessee Williams, and I think I have yet to find one of his that I did not like.

200px-cat_roofI understand that Tennessee Williams did not like this film adaptation, and I’m sorry that is so. Because of the times, the homosexual theme was certainly toned down, and of course much of the sexuality itself. I also understand that Ben Gazzara who played Brick on Broadway turned down the movie role, as did Elvis Presley if you can believe that! Both Grace Kelly and Lana Turner were considered for the role of Maggie.

Anyway I got to thinking about it, as we watched, and it seemed odd to me that nobody has thought of updating and doing this movie again. I of course got my brain gear in order to think about who might step into the roles if it were remade.

My hands down choice for Brick would be Johnny Depp, simply because I would put Depp in every movie made so I could watch him 24/7, but that’s just me. The Contrarian no doubt would appreciate Halle Berry as Maggie for the same reason. I would choose Angelina Jolie for Maggie but Scarlet Johannson would be a good choice as well.

For Big Daddy, how about Billy Bob Thornton? Randy Quaid for Goober for sure, and I’m at a loss for Sister Woman. Big Mama, I have no idea, and don’t really care. She was superfluous to me.

I’d be interested in your ideas on this. I’m sure Hollywood keeps up on this blog and no doubt our ideas will find fruition soon in a remake. So be clear and state your reasons! LOL.

Bookmark and Share