Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A reactionary grip on a state of grace.

The Man of My Life. I just finished watching this little French film. This I did instead of finishing Mike Amnasan's fantastic little book _Liar_ (which I will do after this post), and instead of finishing work (one hour to go), and instead of finishing my revising task for the month (14 pages to go, then putting it all into the computer), and instead of finishing the collage that's due (to me) by the end of the month. Why do I give myself deadlines? Perhaps now that I'm rather settled and happy with my beautiful one (i.e. no longer dating), letting myself down takes the place of letting others do it for me.

"The Man of My Life" is about a French family on vacation. The man falls in love with the gay neighbor. It's beautifully done in fragments, the art of it coinciding nicely with the gay man's graphic design/artful living style (see: glass ceiling, naked boy, angel, sun casting glass-painted letters onto the wall-painted letters, creating new words as the day goes, oh-and the red wall. There is something in me that loves a red wall). At times one is quite unsure of the chronology of things, but that's the way love goes.. moments repeat themselves while you're looking at something else.

The gay man was cast from his father's house 20 years before the film takes place. In the last twenty minutes we learn his father is dying. Should he go? The family convinces him - for himself and the family, rather than for his father who probably at this point won't even know that he's there. The film waits to get Amelie-quirky (what I hate about the French) until we see him walking up the imaginary shadow of a hill to a house at the top and a big big red door. So big, I mean, that the grown man reaches up to the doorknob to go in.

Should he see his dying father, who lies in a sanitary and cold room? (Note: I do not want to die in a room like this, the bed pulled away from the wall, no other furnishings, nothing on the walls, sad tile.) He climbs into the bed with his father and I can't help but notice what great shoes he has on (the son, not the father). My mother has surgery on February 7. Perhaps I'm not even supposed to know about it. From there they learn how serious the cancer is.

Quotes from the film that struck me:

"Must we love our kids because we planted the seed?"

"[Relationships are] a reactionary grip on a state of grace."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Goals and Results, 2007

1. marathon training / "run from Canada to Mexico" (1381 miles)

While not exactly a New Year's resolution, considering I started back seriously running/thinking about a marathon in fall of 2006, I did set myself a yearlong goal of running 1381 miles, the distance I-5 runs from border to border. This goal was slowed in the summer, due to injury/problems with my hips. Now, to see my dance moves, etc, one would say, "hey, you don't have any hip problems." However, the screaming pain I would experience for days after one run (compounded by daily running) begged to differ. A stretching regimen helped, but did not solve. Having missed the marathon in early October, by the end of October I had mostly given up on my task of running border to border. I continue to run, but certainly not the 5-7 days a week I was doing.

Goal: 1381
Actual: 653

Nearly halfway, I at least made it into California by about 80 miles.


2. read 150 books in one year

Goal: 150 books
Actual: 156 books

I did almost completely neglect my magazine and journal subscriptions though. While I read about half of each of The Nation that came to my door, I barely touched the Smithsonians. Most other journals sat around for a month or two looking pretty before being recycled.

The count of 156 includes several chapbooks (6 or 7), which I allowed because the count does not include the books I started and am still reading (because I like them so much, 7) or the books I read more than once (because I like them so much, 2 novels/4 or 5 books of poetry).

The List:

1. Letter to a Christian Nation - Sam Harris
2. The Long Emergency - James Howard Kunstler
3. Midnight all Day - Hanif Kureishi
4. No Sweeter Fat - Nancy Pagh
5. Last Exit to Brooklyn - Hubert Selby, Jr.
6. Dog & Me - Kary Wayson
7. Mayflower Madam - Sydney Biddle Barrows
8. Conversations with Edward Said - Tariq Ali
9. Love is a Map I Must Not Set on Fire - Carol Guess
10. Tropic of Capricorn - Henry Miller
11. Spot in the Dark - Beth Gylys
12. Writing in the Margins - Truong Tran
13. The End of Alice - A.M. Homes
14. State of Denial - Bob Woodward
15. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie
16. Naphtalene - Alia Mamdouh
17. Ethan Frome - Edith Wharton
18. The Straight Mind - Monique Wittig
19. My Cocaine Museum - Michael Taussig
20. The Golden Fruits - Nathalie Sarraute
21. And I'm not Jenny - Tara Rebele
22. A Madman Dreams of Turing Machines - Janna Levin
23. Esthetique du Mal - Wallace Stevens
24. The Red Coal - Gerald Stern
25. Growing Darkness, Growing Light - Jean Valentine
26. Was She Pretty? - Leanne Shapton
27. The Empire Writes Back - Bill Ashcroft, Gareth Griffiths, Helen Tiffin
28. The Endless Short Story - Ronald Sukenick
29. The Child - Sarah Schulman
30. The Beautifully Worthless - Ali Liebegott
31. On Looking: Essays - Lia Purpura
32. Vaquita - Edith Pearlman
33. Beautiful Losers - Leonard Cohen
34. The Collected Stories - Amy Hempel
35. Sleeping with the Dictionary - Harryette Mullen
36. The Poetry Chains of Dominic Luxford
37. Girls in Their Drinking Dresses - Heather Sellers
38. Fun Home - Alison Bechtel
39. Ava - Carole Maso
40. Dust and Conscience - Truong Tran
41. The Engagement - Georges Simenon
42. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Succeed and Fail - Jared Diamond
43. Shattered Sonnets, Love Cards, and Other Off and Back Handed Importunities - Olena Kalytiak Davis
44. Rise Up - Matthew Rohrer
45. The Mistress's Daughter - A.M. Homes
46. Adult Video - Margaret Christakos
47. The IHOP Papers - Ali Liebegott
48. Dedication to Hunger: The Anorexic Aesthetic in Modern Culture - Leslie Heywood
49. Piercing - Ryu Murikami
50. We Are Iran: The Persian Blogs - Nasrin Alavi
51. In Pieces: An Anthology of Fragmentary Writing - Olivia Dresher (ed.)
52. The Pajamaist - Matthew Zapruder
53. Geri - Geri Jewell
54. Forgiveness - Jim Grimsley
55. Don't Let Me Be Lonely - Claudia Rankine
56. Wind in a Box - Terrance Hayes
57. Gone to New York - Ian Frazier
58. Home in three days. Don't wash. - Linda Smukler
59. My Lives - Edmund Wilson
60. Covering - Kenji Yoshino
61. Stick Out Your Tongue - Ma Jian
62. And Her Soul Out of Nothing - Olena Kalytiak Davis
63. Sorry, Tree - Eileen Myles
64. Journals, Vol. 1 - Andre Gide
65. Perfect Affection - Robin Becker
66. Our Lady of the Flowers - Jean Genet
67. Ismailia Eclipse - Khaled Mattawa
68. Dancer from the Dance - Andrew Holleran
69. In Praise of the Stepmother - Mario Vargas Llosa
70. Luminous Mysteries - John Holman
71. Recyclopedia: Trimmings, S*PeRM**K*T, and Muse & Drudge - Harryette Mullen
72. The Folding Star - Alan Hollinghurst
73. Perishable: A Memoir - Dirk Jamison
74. Nothing Doing - Cid Corman
75. Vulgarity in Literature - Aldous Huxley
76. So, You Want to Be Canadian - Kerry Colburn & Rob Sorensen
77. On Writing - Stephen King
78. City of Glass - Douglas Coupland
79. On the Ice - Gretchen Legler
80. Cannery Row - John Steinbeck
81. The Sky is a Well - Claudia Smith
82. Rare and Commonplace Flowers - Carmen L. Oliveira
83. Under the Jaguar Sun - Italo Calvino
84. The Other Woman - Colette
85. You Have No Rights: Stories of America in an Age of Repression - Matthew Rothschild
86. Michael Martone - Michael Martone
87. Kwaidan - Lafcadio Hearn
88. Enormous Changes at the Last Minute - Grace Paley
89. Transmetropolitan: the cure - Warren Ellis
90. Strait as the Gate - Andre Gide
91. Nonsense and Happiness - Peter Hamke
92. Living Room - Geoff Bouvier
93. In Bed One Night and Other Brief Encounters - Robert Coover
94. Six Memos for the Next Millennium - Italo Calvino
95. Volpone - Ben Johnson
96. War Stories - Howard Nemerov
97. I Call This Flirting - Sherrie Flick
98. Theory of Orange - Rachel M. Simon
99. Letters to a Young Poet - Rainer Maria Rilke
100. The Price of Salt - Patricia Highsmith
101. Sugar Bush & other stories - Jenn Farrell
102. Mercy, Mercy Me - Elena Georgiou
103. Sophie Calle, M'as-tu Vue - ed. Christine Macel
104. An Ideal Husband - Oscar Wilde
105. The Gangster We Are All Looking For - le thi diem thuy
106. Pink Institution - Selah Saterstrom
107. The Bathroom - Jean-Philippe Toussant
108. The Book of Hours - Rainer Maria Rilke
109. The Meat and Spirit Plan - Selah Saterstrom
110. The Man Suit - Zachary Schomburg
111. As I Lay Dying - William Faulkner
112. Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak - Ed. Eric Falkoff
113. Hornito: My Lie Life - Mike Albo
114. Fresh Kills - David Breskin
115. Mythologies - Roland Barthes
116. I Have the Right to Destroy Myself - Young ha Kim
117. Next Life - Rae Armantrout
118. Intimacy - Hanif Kureishi
119. Guantanamo - Dorothea Dieckmann
120. The Bird is a Raven - Benjamin Lebert
121. The Day the Leader was Killed - Naguib Mahfouz
122. Citizen Of - Christian Hawkey
123. In the Box Called Pleasure - Kim Addonizio
124. The End of Youth - Rebecca Brown
125. Poetry as Insurgent Art - Lawrence Ferlinghetti
126. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian - Sherman Alexie
127. At the Same Time: Essays and Speeches - Susan Sontag
128. Spinning into Butter - Rebecca Gilman
129. We Are On Our Own - Miriam Katin
130. Clear Cut Future - Anthology
131. The Ghost in the Mirror - Alain Robbe-Grillet
132. I Am America (and So Can You) - Stephen Colbert
133. Rebecca - Daphne du Maurier
134. Highsmith: A Romance of the 1950's - Marijane Meaker
135. Texts for Nothing - Samuel Beckett
136. Sad Little Breathing Machine - Matthea Harvey
137. One Love Affair - Jenny Boully
138. Paul Celan: A Biography of His Youth - Israel Chalfen
139. Swann's Way- Marcel Proust
140. A Sketch of My Life - Thomas Mann
141. The Stranger - Albert Camus
142. The Book of Perceptions - Truong Tran (poetry) and Chung Hoang Chuong (photography)
143. My Shining Archipelago - Talvikki Ansel
144. The Artist and the Mathematician: the story of Nicolas Bourbaki the genius mathematician who never existed - Amir D. Aczel
145. The Cheese Monkeys - Chip Kidd
146. Konfidenz - Ariel Dorfman
147. Nocturnes - Thomas Mann
148. More than Anything - Hiram Larew
149. Eats, Shoots and Leaves - Lynne Truss
150. Bare - Elisabeth Eaves
151. Petitioner - Suzanne Paola
152. The Kimnama - Kim Roberts
153. Brown: The Last Discovery of America - Richard Rodriguez
154. How Many of You Are You? - Philip Jenks
155. Sky Lounge - Mark Bibbins
156. The Tin Drum - Gunter Grass