Monday, August 23, 2004

I heard a Bowie song on the way to work today that I had never heard before. My library has all these great museum piece classic rock CDs that actually stay in the collection because they are not Brittany Spears, nor are they Usher.

The lyrics made me happy, because they reminded me of when I was young, and brave, because I had to be:

Look at your children/ See their faces in golden rays/ Don’t kid yourself they belong to you/ They’re the start of a coming race/ The earth is a bitch/ We’re finished out news/ Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use/ All the strangers came today/And it looks as though they’re here to stay

The music of the sixties and seventies has that feel to it, I think, because young men and women did not realize that they were merely larval forms, then. Young people these days seem to expect to grow up to be adults, instead of, I don’t know, demiurges or aeons. I think that is a terrible burden. I know I expected to grow up to become a holy Androgyne. It is good that I was shielded from the foreknowledge that I was merely the grub stage of a dumpy librarian.

It really is better to sing about being young and having possibilities than about being old and having had them. I’m sure there is a middle ground, though I don’t know where it is in pop music.

I also decided that if I was hearing voices, I would not mind if David Bowie were one of them. I wondered if most of us read/listen to music/watch movies or TV simply to find other voices to fill up our head for when we are sick of our own.

Then I pulled into the parking lot at work.

So, work is great. The people are nice. The facility is gorgeous. I still feel like I am in freefall. Much of what I am learning is what people here already know, and moreover, have known forever. They are flawless in their execution, and because I cannot even find the rules of engagement I am jealous.

That was a tawdry, bloatedly mixed metaphor, but it is mine, and so I am keeping it.

I would like to be able to give them a gift of something new and complete that will prove to the world how fabulous they are, but the world doesn’t believe in libraries any more than the gods of old, and I think that’s a shame.

Ruby and I have decided that we, like all spiritually displaced southern gentles or British children’s book characters, shall name our house. We christen it Clowderville.

Reading: The one awful thing about coming back to Michigan is that my reading time has been decimated. 2 hours enforced reading time, back and fourth on the subway. This is making me restrict my reading, especially cutting back on “improving” reading, books that I find difficult to read, but do so anyways because I’m interested in the topic. I had to put aside A Plague of Frogs, by William Souder, midway through, not because it was terrible, which it wasn’t, but because I was reading some 20 pages a day. It was interesting, it just wasn’t interesting enough. To prevent myself the vain hope of going back and finishing it, I donated it to the library.

I read the first four volumes of Promethea, a comic book by Alan Moore. Moore is hit and miss with me. When he hits with me, he hits big. I really love Watchmen, Swamp Thing, Top Ten, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. When he misses, I am extraordinarily indifferent to it: V for Vendetta, the rest of ABC. I couldn’t recommend it at all.

I started out thinking Promethea was the former, but it became the latter: the Tarot issue did it in for me. That issue was profoundly dull: no story, no characterization. The art was great, but I would have enjoyed it more without the words. The text implied that I should be applying my interest to somebody else’s burning passion. Unfortunately, I find numerology about as exciting as watching sports, or polishing shoes. In some ways, I find it insulting: why try to cram the entirety of our vast, amazing universe into all these little pigeon holes? I began to dread the expository chunks, so what little story did surface didn’t really interest me. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy magic in stories. But not real magic. Real wizards are a different story. Wizards are interesting. Their magic is a lot of rationalization.

Finished off Fables (vol. 2) and Y: The last man on earth (vol 1). Liked the latter better than the former

Iron Counil, by Mieville. It is entertaining. It is, essentially, 570 odd pages of the same story he’s already spent 1279 pages on in the other two New Croubazon books. The panorama is great, but the people never really change.

Allison Bechdel just convinces me think she is sweeter by poking fun at herself like she does.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

The last time I moved 700 miles to take a job, I was 23. I don’t remember feeling fragile, but I must have been because I got into a screaming fight with the operator who wanted to make me responsible for the phone bill of the guy who skipped out of my apartment before me.

I still feel a little displaced. A black and white Dorothy in a technicolor Oz. Everyone says… really, everyone. Or nearly everyone, says that I must be feeling some culture shock. But that’s not it. There are no surprises for me here. I carried into my exile a box of suburban soil to lay in every night. I ate the Twinkies of the dead, and so was compelled to return once a year.

It’s more a feeling of being lost. It’s not the city I’ve lived in and about. It’s not the suburbs I kept coming back to. It’s a whole ‘nother thing, with the Arby’s on the wrong corner, and a Barne’s and Noble just sitting there by the side of the road. Not even in a proper mall or anything. None of the sounds I make bounce back to me quite right. I am blind.

Even so, it’s a nice place to wander sightless in. That there’s an Arby’s makes it feel familiar. I liked visiting McDonalds in China, for it’s familiarity as well as it’s differences. Red Bean soda!

The 7-11 in Guangzhou just made me sick.

Anyways, it’s nice here. There’s still some green. It seems that they are being careful not to pave it all over immediately. It is such a greedy little pleasure to have a car all to myself. The library isn’t chopped up into 81 pieces, and it’s well cared for, and it doesn’t seem like my job is hopeless. Compared to my dungeon haunt, I keep thinking maidens will bring me silver carafes of chilled wine. Hardly anything at all to Nang-Nang about. I should feel helpless, having my inalienable right to bitch taken away from me in such a brutally efficient manner.

La-la!

Reading: The last Harry Potter book. I think I liked it best, because Harry was such a prat through all of it, and his response at the end seemed a realistic way to resolve his anger.

My new library has great comics: Y: the last man, vol’s 2 and 3, which I’m liking. Although it strikes some flat notes, it’s an apocalyptic literalization of gender inequity. I’m interested to see where it ends up.

Fables vol 3. I like Bill’s writing. Always have. It’s not deep, but it’s grand.