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Monday, January 2, 2012


    the world is a mirror

Today I applied the first paint to canvas on a new portrait of three musicians from the area. They're sitting in folding chairs at a jam. Two banjos and one guitar. It feels good to be inspired by something new, a composition I like, interesting color juxtapositions to work with. Also saw the Swedish film, THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST. It was one of the girl with the dragon tattoo trilogy from the novels by popular Swedish writer, Stieg Larrson, who recently was in the news. He had delivered his manuscript for new novel to the publisher, evidently was happy with the results, undoubtedly a film contract, the elevator wasn't working at his apartment building, he ran up the stairs, fell down with a heart attack and died. What a raw deal. It's like the old feller that said, If it weren't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all. This film today gave me a good idea of the kind of story Larrson wrote. He's a complicated story teller.

It's a good story full of twists and turns, but it doesn't come near Victor Hugo's Les Miserables. I don't mean to crow for classic literature, it's just that since seeing the Bille August film of it, I'm still blown away by Hugo's story telling. I've never read any of his writing. I'd seen Lon Cheney and Gina Lolabrigida do the story about the hunch-back bell ringer, The Hunchback of Notre Dame. I never thought of it a story I'd want to read. I wrote Victor Hugo off as 19th Century good writing that I don't care much to read more than a century later. But I forget about Tolstoy, Chekhov, Turgenev, Dostoevsky, Melville and others, really good story tellers who can't help it they lived in the 19th century. The movie of the Hunchback of Notre Dame was good enough for me. It didn't draw me to want to read the story. It didn't draw me to Hugo. I liked the story, but didn't get it. I've an idea if I were to read it today, I'd at least come close to getting it. After Les Miserables, I'd like to see the Hunchback again to reassess it. Probably more than 50 years have passed since I saw it, not the same moviegoer then as now.

I don't stop thinking about Les Miserables. I don't feel like it's left me with a mystery, but it left me with such satisfaction in story telling that my appreciation for Victor Hugo went way up. Like every time I read something by Leo Tolstoy, I ask myself why I ever read anybody besides Tolstoy. The answer to that is easy. There is so much else, much of it almost as good. My friend Lucas did his PhD thesis on James Joyce. He said he was told by somebody he knew, who studied Joyce's work, that nobody has read Finnegan's Wake all the way through. The only way to read it is to open it randomly and read as much as you feel like reading and put it down. He said that's as good a way as any to read it.

My neighbor and friend Allan Joyce, who studies his family genealogy all the way back to the Garden, claims a distant connection with James Joyce, no doubt as distant a connection as I might claim with EM Forster, Forster my grandmother's maiden name. My Forster ancestor that left the UK surely was the no-good in the family, the outsider at home, who crossed the sea with a dream. Surely the dream was totally unrealistic, and the crossing on those sailing canoes that killed children and women with disease and despair, the labors of the crossing committed him to his dream with no foundation but rumor. Like a Cuban crossing a sea of sharks to Miami in a tractor inner tube. In both cases, crossing the Atlantic in the 18th century in one of those wooden sailboats that rode the waves like a cork, and crossing the water from Cuba to Miami in a rigged device, the center of a ring of circling shark fins, must have been about the same degree of lethal. Perhaps about half make it, either way. It takes commitment.

All my life I've been an American in the sign of Taurus, Scorpio rising; Saturn, Uranus and Jupiter conjunct the Sun, Neptune at the Zenith. The characterization of Taurus the Bull I warn reckless people about is --- Don't make him tear down his pen to get out. That means don't piss him off. It's a bull in a pen. Piss him off too much and he'll tear down the pen to get at you. I have spent my life avoiding that line. When Taurus within sets to snorting, some shit's about to cut loose. I don't like to get myself into situations where the inner bull is called upon to scratch at the ground with a restless hoof. On YouTube I saw a couple days ago video of a hunter attacked by a buck. The buck stood on his back feet and frailed the man with his front feet like a boxer hitting a punching bag. The buck didn't let up. He kept at the man, hurting him with intent.

Evidently, the buck didn't mean to kill him or he'd have used his antlers. Seems like. He gave the man a sound thrashing with powerful front legs and knife-sharp hooves. He looked like he was giving the man an understanding he'd never forget. I felt like the buck was telling him in deer language to quit killing his women, uncles, cousins, like, when is enough enough? They know what's going on in their world when their mothers and sisters and brothers are killed by the humans that stalk the forest in fall and winter. BANG. Your knees give out. You're on the ground. Want to run. Can't move. A dreaded human approaches. You're overcome by fear, too weak to feel it, and worst of all, the human has a knife, cuts your throat. The light goes out.


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