New trailer for the Darren Aronofsky film.
While there's not a shot of an elderly woman undergoing EZT or a math genius giving himself a home lobotomy with a power drill, the visuals *do* look stunning. Where Aronofsky goes, I will follow.
Went to see Billy Collins give a reading yesterday. He was the Poet Laureate for the United States from 2001 - 2003 if that means anaything to anyone; one of his books, "Nine Horses," was selected for Today's Book Club (is that even still around?). He's been a pretty big deal for quite some time, though most people, I suspect, still have never heard of him.
Anyway, the reading was to celebrate the U of A Press' 25th anniversary (which I didn't know) and reprinting of Collins' first book of poems, "The Apple That Astonished Paris." Isn't that a great title? It was published by the U of A and edited by Miller Williams, father of Lucinda Williams and local Big Poet. :) There, now that I'm done with all the name-dropping...
Ever since toob
turned me on to him, the most impressive thing about Collins is his remarkable simplicity. The language and the concepts of his poems are funny and relatable, but they point to such complex themes. He name-checks people like Laurence Ferlinghetti and William Carlos Williams and Cezanne but they're absolutely inconsequential for enjoying the poem. However, if you want to do a little digging to find out about the way that very specific allusion affects the mood of the poem, you can. He works on so many levels, which is cliched praise I know, but absolutely true. People who don't like poetry can really get into him because he's so funny and engaging.
The reading was quite awesome. He picked a subject -- dogs was his fist -- and read two or three poems along the theme. So many of his poems open inconspicuously enough, and while amusing they're...easy-going. Somewhere along the way, though, the metaphor turns surprisingly sharp or sexual or fantastic (which is one of my favorite words), plucking you from the comfort of easy, amusing ideas into a much more exciting tangle of "what the fuck were you on when you wrote this?" His delivery of his poems, it turns out, are a key of understanding them; if you read them with his droning, Steinian voice in your head, the humor itself just opens up. All the stresses are in the right places, so something hilarious turns pointed, then resigned, then...dryly witty.
Billy Collins is the poet I want to be when I grow up. :)
In my own writing, one of the things I think is missing is...well, humor. I'm not a terribly funny writer, even when I'm dealing with stuff that isn't...family-oriented, which tends to bring with it a matching luggage set of pathos. (His influence is working on me already.) I feel like M. Night Shyamalan on his way to making "Signs," that moment where he realizes that everything would be much more engaging, that his characters would be so much more human if there was humor. And everything falls into place right then and there. I hope my next rash of poems is flawed but funny enough that they're given the benefit of the doubt , and the willful suspension of disbelief is stretched a little further. People are always the most charitable to things that amuse them.
I felt really bad for Billy at the signing. He didn't even have time to drink his water and take a few breaths, or to talk to Miller Williams before he was ushered out to a lonely table with this crushing throng of hopeful and smiling faces all shoving books in front of him. That must be the weirdest part of these public appearances; all these people, pressing in on each other, subconsciously elbowing each other to get to him first before he decides that his arm is too tired to sign another piece of paper. And they're all going crazy and dropping their dignity all over his feet just because he's there. He doesn't seem like he's a particularly vain guy (his hair was vastly uncombed when he walked onto the stage, which, for some reason, just made me instantly like him), so...it just had to be weird for him. As bad as I felt, though, I was one of those jostling people, my head swimming with all kinds of witty things to say that might improve his mood just a little, to help him through the rest of the evening. When I got there, I just said "To so and so" and he signed, and I said "Thank you very much." He said "You're welcome" while taking someone else's book.
That was the extent of our conversation, and while I didn't quite do that thing, you know how it is...get around someone you admire and you're so very likely to choke. The way around this is to admire no one. And that's easier said than done.daroneasa
, my poetry buddy, and I ate dinner at A Taste of Thai before the reading. I had yellow chicken curry which was amazing, and we talked about my D+D game, and rice, and K.A. Applegate. It turns out Daro was the biggest Animorphs fan growing up, and I turned her on to Remnants
, which is a fantastic series that most parents would absolutely lose their shit over if they actually read anything between the pages. There's death and manipulation and weirdness and a Marine with a mutated baby fused to her abdomen. It's easily one of the best children's books I've read in quite some time. I've spazzed about it before, I'm sure, but...it bears repeating. Remnants
is awesome, and it would make a killer show on the Sci-Fi Channel. You could pair it with Battlestar Galactica even!
I'll be picking up "Cooking for Dummies" today, since chipotle
recommended it and we happened to have it. Rice is also on my list of things to come to know intimately; there are so many different kinds that you can use for so many different things, and the textures can get damned specific. There's white rice and brown rice and wild rice, all with their different flavors and uses. When you get right down to it, rice is almost as versatile and essential as herbs are for good cooking. I really like little things that you can twist and use to completely change something. One of the reasons 'fantastic' is such a great word.
Tonight, my game; I have an idea of what's wrong with it and how to fix it. I've always shied away from combat because, really, it's the most system-heavy part of the game and the one thing that requires the most preparation. And, to be honest, it's my least favorite part of game prep. But, my players are clamoring to rip something apart with their bare hands, so it's the least I could do. Mwahah. Mwahahahah.
Really, I wish I could be scratching Tube's itchy back and rubbing calamine lotion to all of the places he can't reach.
*sigh* Now, work.