Spending time this afternoon watching Rudolfo Anaya interview on the new adaptation of his book and also his thoughts on Latino representation in US politics and films.
Spending time today rereading Fat City by Leonard Gardner. Hope I can find the detail and the nuance in my Huerfanos/Semi-orphaned novel project:
“Yeah, I was in a bar yesterday, this guy’s calling everybody a son-of-a-bitch. So I go out and wait for him. He come out and I ask did that include me. Says yeah. So I got him. I mean I just come to town. Some welcome. I don’t know, trouble just seems to come looking for me.”
Spent time this afternoon with Gerald Nicosia‘s Huffington Post article about his experiences working with the film makers of the On the Road film adaptation. I’m interested in his opinion because I enjoyed his book Memory Babe so much. Here he writes candidly about setting up a Beat boot camp for the actors and also becoming a bit starstruck. And I have to agree the Jose Rivera script had quite a bit missing in terms of Kerouac’s mad spirituality. I was sad not to see the Old Walking Saint character and the “Go moan for man” scenes or any stream of consciousness style scenes with voice-over narration. I have to say now that I’ve seen the film I’m more excited to see the Searching for On the Road documentary shot alongside Salles’ film. Also I wonder if Ann Charters has seen the film.
Just received Orwell’s memoir in the mail and can’t wait to reread. Haven’t looked at it in years. I’m hoping to use excerpts in creative writing classes along with some of his fiction. I’m also hoping to use excerpts from Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast. Again my favorite fiction writers are also my favorite creative nonfiction writers.
Tonight I’m rereading Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four for my Lit 111 course: “To the future or to the past, to a time when thought is free, when men are different from one another and do not live alone-to a time when truth exists and what is done cannot be undone: From the age of uniformity, from the age of solitude, from the age of Big Brother, from the age of doublethink-greetings!”
D and I attended a poetry reading last night by Natasha Trethewey at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential library and Museum in downtown Springfield. I had first heard a few interviews of her on NPR and also first heard of her from D. She read from her books Native Guard and Thrall. I was most struck by her confident voice and her thoughts on race and being seen as “illegitimate” as a person of mixed-racial background. She emphasized the idea of mixing the personal and the historical in her poetry.
This morning I’ve been reading her work at her poets.org page.
The waitress used to say, “What will you be doing when you’re old men?” I used to tell her, “I’ll worry about that when I get there.” If I get there. I’m writing this piece right on deadline. My brother-in-law used to call this behavior “brinksmanship,” the tendency to leave things until the last moment, to imbue them with more drama and stress and appear the hero by racing the clock. “Where I was born,” Georgia O’Keeffe used to say, “and where and how I have lived is unimportant.” She said, “It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of any interest.” I’m sorry if this seems all rushed and desperate. It is.
Had a great talk today with a student about writing that serves truth instead of ego. Also about writing and politics. We both admitted Alan Moore and V For Vendetta were so influential to our thought process–political and social awareness. I keep repeating to my students I wouldn’t be a teacher or writer without graphic novels and comic books. I can still remember walking to the only comic book shop nearby Colorado State’s campus to pick up copies. I think I need to learn from D and teach this in my novels class along with 1984, Fahrenheit 451 and A Clockwork Orange.