More Posts About Buildings and Food

Actually, there are no buildings and food.  For things of that matter proceed here.

But there are a few more thoughts on this wild and crazy town I now call home.  (That’s Ithaca, NY, if you have not been keeping up.  It is okay if you have not been keeping up.  No hard feelings.  I promise.)

One of the best things I have found so far is the Friends of the Library Book Sale.  There is nothing I like more than a good used-book-perusin’ and oh my were the pickings good.  You can check out the site here.  I managed to add a few things to my collection, but I was most pleased with coming across Ilya Kaminsky’s Dancing in Odessa, a copy of which I had been searching for for quite a while.  I am now reading it, which is something I am happy about.  I am also very happy about the prospect that the Book Sale continues for the next two weekends and the prices will only keep dropping.  So, more robust poetry library, here I come.

Also, greater awareness of the fact that I do not have sufficient book storage, here I come.

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One day, I am pretty sure, I will be wired so Google will do all my thinking for me.

I hope, that when that time comes, it does a better job than this.

And that, my readers, is all.

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Me and Mr.–Mr. Marquez

Hello, world.  It has been a while, I will give you that.  But here is the reason why: so many things were happening!

One of those things: I finished One Hundred Years of Solitude (finally!).

I say finally, because I have had a long and somewhat troubled relationship with the novel.  When I came into possession of it a few years ago, I found that I was not able to get more than 100 pages in without getting distracted by something else and having to put the book down.  This happened again, that next summer.  And then again, the following autumn.  Usually, I would have called it quits and given up on Marquez, as I have not hesitated to do with other authors and other books, but I did not.  Two weeks I picked up the saga of Macondo again.  Today I have finished.

And what a finish it was.  The final line goes something like this:

Before reaching the final line, however, he had already understood that he would never leave that room, for it was foreseen that the city of mirrors (or mirages) would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men at the precise moment when Aureliano Babilonia would finish deciphering the parchments, and that everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.

[That should not spoil anything for you.  Still read the book–you will be hypnotized by its cyclic ways.]

At first, I was satisfied–both with myself for having finally finished the novel and at Marquez for having finished his novel is such a way.  To be quite honest, I had no idea how he was ever going to wrap things up just a few pages from the end, and with such finality.

Then, I started thinking about the close.  My mind was immediately transported here:

Despite being lulled by the beauty of Marquez’s prose, I felt a bit like I was in a movie where a character waits for a tense/climactic moment and throws out the title of the film.  I was shocked–because usually when such things occur I want to boo (if watching a film) or throw the book across the room (if reading, obviously)–they just feel so cheap to me–but I was hesitant to do so with Marquez.

Could I do that with such a book?  Granted, it was not as heinous as the examples that T-Rex gives, but it was still a title-in-an-important-place moment.  What to do?

In the meantime, back to it.  Seriously.

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From Marquez:

“Even José Arcadio Buendía himself considered that Melaquíades’ knowledge had reached unbearable extremes, but he a felt a healthy excitement when the gypsy explained to him alone the workings of his false teeth.  It seemed so simple and prodigious at the same time that overnight he lost all interest in his experiment in alchemy.  He underwent a new crisis of bad humor.  He did not go back to eating regularly , and he would spend the day walking through the house.  ‘Incredible things are happening in the world,’ he said to Úrsula.  “Right there across the river there are all kinds of magical instruments while we keep on living like donkeys.”  Those who had known him since the foundation of Macondo were startled at how much he had changed under Melaquídes’ influence.”

From Stereolab:


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Here are two things happening in my life:

I have finished Lolita.  It has taken me nearly a month or putting it down and picking it back up, but I have done it.  The novel, if you don’t know, concerns the sexual relationship of a young girl and her stepfather.  However, this is something you probably do know about Lolita, because it is the one of the few things the novel is known for.   Forthwith, you should go read this novel, then you will know it for Nabokovs fluid prose that calls to mind Faulkner.

The other night, I was watching the show Dance Moms on the television.  According to the Lifetime Network, which produces the show, Dance Moms concerns ” a dance studio, young dancers, and their mothers.”  You can learn more here, and I encourage you to do so.  I came across the show for some reason or another that is no longer important, but was glad I did.

Here is why I am telling you these things, in a loosely composed, late-night fashion:

We can all agree that the subject matter of Lolita is much more disturbing than that of Dance Moms.  [We might, however, for the sake of poor humor and shedding light on how obscene a reality show about stage mothers, admit that we are more disturbed by Abby (the proprietress of the dance studio) than Humbert Humbert (the faithful narrator of Nabokov’s work), but to do so would place living vicariously through your daughter’s stage endeavors in a lower circle of Hell than performing unnamable acts with your(step) daughter.  I do not think we want to do that.]

However, the other night while watching Dance Moms, I was struck by how much more I was taken by its ugliness than that of Lolita‘s.  I was faced with a dilemma: what kind of person was I to be more offended by the over-zealous mothers than the over-over-zealous father?

I do not see myself as the kind of person who decries all reality tv.

I see myself as the kind of person who cries the power of the written word to make things beautiful.

[Please read Lolita before casting any stones–the book is about much much more than what you might think.]

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Little by little, things are falling into place–or rather, falling into where they will be staying for a while until they are shaken again from their perches.

All this falling and settling–that is the reason I give you for such a noticeable lapse in time since last we spoke.

Here is a bit more, in detail.

I spent a good bit of the morning registering my car in the great state of New York.  The whole process was not too much of a hassle, in terms of red tape and bureaucracy.  However, it was a bit difficult emotionally.  It was one of the final superficial aspects of the fact that I am not from Ithaca that has been lost.  (That and the fact that New York tags are such eyesores).  I had a hard time looking the woman at the DMV in the eye, because the whole idea was just so weird.  I also trudged through the morning full of the knowledge that soon I must also register myself in the Empire State (of the North) and give up my Georgia drivers license.  Stand by for that post, in which I will surely return to this subject with more vigor.

And I know, I know–these little things do not rob me of who I am or where I am from, but who among us does not pour themselves into these little containers of identity, these objects which seem to hold a part of us?  (But not in this, more literal sense).

On another note, the leaves here are already changing colors, for some reason.

And this song is in my head.

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In this recent period of mixing and changing I have found myself in, I have come to a conclusion about accents: I love them.

It is like magic, to me, the way that geography and history make the sounds that come from people’s mouths.  I have found that I have this tic: when I hear an accent, I want it to be mine–I echo, I mimic.  I want the sounds to be mine for a moment.  This may come from the fact that I have seen my accent disappear.  I had one once, but then came public school and so many people from so many places.  Now, I just have a few relics, a few sounds that come from time to time.  This troubles me.  At times, I feel placeless without an accent.

I am brought to think of accents because of Atsuro Riley, whose work (and sounds) I came across the other day.  What an accent.  And even more than that–what sounds.  I was struck and held by his sonics.   You can do the same, here.

Listen to “Hutch.”  You will want to again.

Well, back to it.

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I have come to a few realizations recently.  Here they are in no particular order.

1.  When I am not writing, as I am not right now and have not been for the past month are so, I feel a bit out of sorts.  Like going to a movie and thinking not so much about the plot of what I am watching, but rather what I would write in the plot at that moment–how I would make it different and why I would make it different.  I take this as a sign that I need to be putting pen to paper a bit more.

2.  It has been known to snow here in October, which is only two months from now.

3. William Carlos Williams knows my life right now.



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The Ithacan

Is what I am going by now, here in Ithaca, New York.  (What?  Now you know where I live?).

Well, to be exact, I now reside in the village of Cayuga Heights.  I still pronounce Cayuga wrong and think I might just keep on doing it.  As a good way to start conversation.  Here are some things I think about this place so far:

1. It is quite pretty. Here.

2. There are quite a number of deer, which I am convinced is the reason behind the 30 mph speed limit.  Everywhere.  (I am serious about this, too serious).

3. A stop sign here does not so much mean “Yield” as it means “Stop.”  I realized this when I was pulled over by a Cornell Cop on my first night in town.

4. It is so odd to live in a place where you do not recognize grocery store names.

5. I never really knew what a real winter was, but I am soon to find out that I never knew what I never knew what a winter was.

6.  There is a hamlet by the name of Podunk just right down the road.  I am serious about this.

7. My only desire to truly read The Odyssey comes from the fact that Ulysses is eventually discovered to have returned home to Ithaca by his dog.  This endears the whole story to me.

That is all for now.  I am so tired.

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See y’all on the flippy-flip.

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