Monday, December 13, 2004

After the celebration on Saturday night, Ravenhub and I came back home and watched "Mystic River" on HBO. Man what a bummer of a movie. Sheesh! I didn't want to spend any more time with any of those people -- except maybe for "Whitey". The rest of them can just crawl back under the rock they came from! I knew who the murderer was way too early so watching it plod along was painful. I can't believe this film got so many great reviews. Sure, the acting was great but if there's no plot and you hate everybody in the movie -- acting schmacting!

On Sunday we did a lot of cleaning. Collected all kinds of clothes and separated the summer from the winter. Did a ton of laundry and took it to the laundrymat to dry. We still haven't replaced our broken-down dryer, so we're schlepping the stuff to Joe's every Sunday. This time I went after 7 p.m. Big mistake! The real estate wars were intense -- not enough dryers and two many people with multiple loads. I ended up drying eight loads of laundry in the only four dryers I could get to before somebody else seized them.

Work today was busy. I've got a 56 page book for CR that is going slow -- bad formatting means I am re-doing a lot of the work. My circular that is awesomely bad -- very confusing versioning that I haven't figured out yet. Muriel and I are going to go over it together tomorrow so I can get a handle on it.

I finished reading Ellen Hawley's book "Trip Sheets" today at lunch. The most noticeable thing is how depressing it is. There is a liberal guilt element to it that I just don't understand. But there is also a lovely flow to the chapters -- each one a complete story onto itself. And I wonder whether she didn't write these first as short stories. One thing I noticed was the beautiful way she had of ending chapters -- poetic and perfect. Which is a wonderful skill but not good for a novel. I wasn't sure I needed to read any more once I finished a chapter!

But there are wonderful bits of information that make her stories come alive -- the way a stretcher bumps against the wall when being carried down the stairs -- the way a child irresistably reaches out to touch the black scorch marks on recently burnt wood. I wonder if maybe Ellen is more a poet than a novelist. I'm sure there are some terrific short stories ahead. On Thursday night, I'm going to Query bookstore to hear her talk about the book and meet with others who have read it.

Soon I will talk about the other book I finished recently: Christian Parenti's "The Freedom" -- a book about his experiences in Iraq over the last year. Profoundly depressing and also confirming to my every nefarious suspicion about what is really going on over there right now. The U.S. just finished trashing the shit out of Fallujah and I am convinced it will become synonymous with Auschwitz when we truly understand what happened there. The U.S. is seriously talking about doing DNA scans of returning refugees and forcing them to wear badges at all times. Perhaps a yellow Star of David would work. The last report I read said the U.S. forces were shooting cats and dogs because they are feeding on all the dead bodies and their is concern about rabies. What the fuck?

One delightful find this weekend -- I went to the Open House at Open Book and found some wonderful broadsides by the Laurel Poetry Collective. Beautiful poetry, wonderful typography and very affordable -- only $10 each. I may have to purchase some more and give them out to my book group on Saturday.