Sunday, April 22, 2012

Early Morning Thoughts

Sunday, April 22, 2012—Long Beach, CA

Twelve-thirty in the morning. I’m lying in bed eating a bowl of oatmeal (I’m hungry and there really isn’t much else in the house) and listening to Desert Shore, by Nico. It’s incredibly original and striking music; it’s one of the few albums I never get tired of. Trying to relax after a long day of grading and doing other school work. I really had to fight thru this work. I’ve felt exhausted almost since I got up today. Mind fatigue, mostly, I think, mainly because later when I finally had some time to myself and was able to do a little reading and listen to some music I felt much better. I’m beginning to wonder how much of the deadness I now so regularly feel is due to the fact I spend so much time not doing what really moves me. Soul death as a byproduct of a too much of the wrong kind of work. Of course that must be true—to what point is of course the question.

Thinking about my reading lately, about how all over the map it’s been. I’m wondering if this might too be a symptom of the trapped fatigue that makes up so much of my daily life. What I mean by this is that it could be that my reading lately might be a kind of desperate flailing, a semi-conscious search for a way out … of so many things. Since this view has come to me I can’t come up with any good argument to counter it. Escape fantasies are normal, healthy, in the right doses (and if they’re not mistaken for reality). I’m a reader, so fleeing in that direction would seem to be exactly the route I would and should take.

While I'm on the subject of reading … I read at the IVC Earth Day poetry reading the other day. It wasn’t too exciting. It was mostly just some students and teachers reading works by other poets, very obvious poets—Langston Hughes, Emily Dickenson, Robert Frost … (though the work of Gary Snyder and Ezra Pound popped up). This caught me off guard and disappointed me a bit. I just assumed that the reading would have something to do with Earth Day and would feature more original work. It was nice to read after having be off the stage for so long, though; it made me want to get out there and really do some more serious readings. My friend Steve in Sacramento suggested trying to get something going up there this summer. Thinking seriously about that again.

Mellowed out my reading list my settling into We Tell Ourselves Stories in Order to Live, which is a thousand-plus page collection of Joan Didion’s non-fiction. Strangely I see this as a continuation of my Raymond Chandler phase I just went thru. It’s hard to explain what I mean by this. There’s the California baseline, of course. As well as her odd pessimism and general disappointment with what we’ve built in this part of the world. There’s something similar in the prose style too, the clean simple sentences and the small subject matter that turns out to be vehicles into much bigger concerns. Think I’m going to read The Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo, by Oscar Zeta Acosta (who was the model for Hunter S. Thomson’s Samoan lawyer in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) next, which is a book I’ve been eyeing for a long time.

OK, I’m really out of it now. Time for sleep.

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