Tuesday, October 02, 2012

A Dream Woman’s Dream House On Long Island

Just then the hyena stopped whimpering in the night and started to make a strange, human, almost crying sound. The woman heard it and stirred uneasily. She did not wake. In her dream she was at the house on Long Island and it was the night before her daughter’s début. Somehow her father was there and he had been very rude. Then the noise the hyena made was so loud she woke and for a moment she did not know where she was and she was very afraid.

from The Snows of Kilimanjaro
by Ernest Hemingway

Wild dogs cry out in the night

“Africa,” Toto
quoted in Makeup, Jazz And Wild Dogs

I was so happy to get yesterday’s post up, The Louisiana Sinkhole: An Apocalypse Opera, that today I just kind of slacked-off and didn’t prepare anything.

But I do have a bunch of little book references to mention. These are all sort of unrelated and the only thing they have in common is that for one reason or another I’ve been thinking about all these books lately. I mean, normally I think of movies or songs or odd things happening in the world. For the last few days I’ve been thinking about half a dozen or so books. I don’t have one grand theme linking everything together. I’m just going to describe the books I’ve been thinking about and a little of the context around the books.

There are a couple of explicit links to the blog, however. The first book I’ll mention relates to yesterday’s post. Then I have a library note. And then I’ll mention a couple that relate to last Friday’s post. The first and last are sort of behind-the-scenes at Impossible Kisses things. The library thing is just something that has never happened to me before at a library.

(As I type this, I realize that I am not exactly correct. There is a kind of thread linking all three of these bits I’m going to narrate today, but I’m not going to go that deeply into things. Now that I’ve thought about it—or, rather, now that it has sort of forced itself on me without me even trying to think of it—I will think about it more and maybe do another post touching on the weirdly personal thread that does link all three of these things.)

But here is what I have for today.


When I was setting up the location for yesterday’s video, I had to carry around my cactus garden. At one point I reached down to move the container around and my left hand pressed up against a cactus plant and I got a bunch of thorns stuck in me.

So ever since I’ve been thinking of “The Snows of Kilimanjaro.”

I strongly suspect I’m not going to die from the cactus spines, but, you know, they are thorn punctures. And it would be a cool, literary way to go, although I’ve never been much of a Hemingway fan. And more than that, I’ve never been much attracted to the kind of life Hemingway writes about. Tough guys and tragic women. I’ve never been a very tough guy, and tragic women usually make me angry rather than romantic.

That having been said, however, it occurred to me that I have known three women who might, on occasion, dream about a house on Long Island and their daughter’s début.

The first was a young woman named Patty who worked in a bookstore during her summer vacation from a cool, east coast college. She appeared, after a fashion, a fiction fashion, in my story about the ancient sailors:

Kings And Queens Of The Ancient Seas (Part One)

Kings And Queens Of The Ancient Seas (Part Two)

Kings And Queens Of The Ancient Seas (Part Three)

The second was a businesswoman named Beth. She appeared in a post that was practically a documentary, Beth Plays Pinball.

(Wednesday morning note: It occurs to me that since that post about Beth is a long reference to Jerzy Kosinski’s novel "Pinball" it should be counted as another book. I guess it should. But strangely Wikipedia doesn’t have a page for "Pinball." Amazon sells it, however. Could that mean something? )

And the third is going to be nameless here. But I may have more to say someday about that third woman in a another post.

So that’s the first book I’ve been thinking about recently. Because of an on-set injury (my own!) I’ve been reminiscing about some brushes with high society I’ve had. I’m pretty sure I’m not going to die, however. The wild dogs outside aren’t even howling, let alone crying.


Just a few days ago I took out some books from a library south of here. The librarian was very pretty, and while she was checking out my books we were talking about old TV shows. When she tried to check out the last book, the computer just beeped. The computer wouldn’t let that last book get checked out. I don’t remember that ever happening to me before, and the librarian looked so surprised that I guess it didn’t happen to her very often, either.

So the computer beeped and flashed some message. The librarian had to stop talking to me and bend down to grab a big binder full of procedures for when something unexpected happens. It took her a while to flip through the binder and find the proper procedure.

Apparently the book I was trying to check out for some reason had a bar code, but no entry for the bar code number existed in the computer system. So the librarian typed some letter-code into the check out record which allowed me to take the book home, but flagged it in the system so that when I return the book someone will put it aside and correct the card catalogue.

The book turned out to be not very good (to me) but it has an interesting title: “Painting More Than The Eye Can See,” by Robert Wade.

(Another Wednesday morning note: The book wasn’t about painting more than the eye can see at all. It was about trivial, and essential obnoxious, painting techniques and conventions which present the appearance of depicting more than the eye can see. Do so-called ‘workshop painters’ really paint, or do they just pretend to paint, do they just present the appearance of painting?)

So that’s another book I’ve been thinking about. It’s always interesting thinking about there being more than the eye can see.


This last bit of business is about two books:

The Long Secret,” by Louise Fitzhugh

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH,” by Robert C. O'Brien

I’ve recently re-read both these books—they’re both “kids’ books” but they’re both really good kids’ books. And it was these two books that got me thinking about the kind of topics I wrote about in last Friday’s post, Pumpkin Are Free (Reprise). But I thought the two stories I used last Friday in the post made the issues more interesting, and more fun (and, I hope, about larger issues than ‘just’ personal things).

But I do recommend these two books. I’ve written about “The Rats of NIMH” before, in my post Triss. “The Rats of NIMH” is so good that I’d call it one of the best books of any kind I’ve ever read.

I got to thinking about those two books because “The Rats of NIMH” tells a personal story and a much larger story, both at the same time. But “The Long Secret” (which is a sequel to “Harriet the Spy”) tells just a personal story.

So I started wondering if there are larger implications to that.

I was wondering if “The Rats of NIMH” would be considered a “boy’s book” and “The Long Secret” would be considered a “girl’s book,” and I wondered how much such gender stereotyping might in fact shape children’s thinking—would boys then be more inclined to think of life in one way and girls in another, because art and entertainment presented boys with a vastly larger, expansive world than the introspective, self-centered world presented to girls?

I don’t know what the answer is. There was a time—and this is just a very personal, very subjective observation—there was a time a couple of decades ago when I thought pop culture was making a kind of effort to get rid of gender stereotyping. And that to me seemed like a good thing. But nowadays I get the impression very strongly that many people—men and women—seem to embrace gender stereotyping under the guise that it somehow acknowledges or even celebrates actual differences between the sexes.

I don’t know. I certainly believe there are neurological and biochemical differences between the sexes. But at the same time I think that inside, in terms of our consciousness, our mind, our deeper self, I think we are all “simply” human beings. And I don’t see anything good coming from divisive approaches to so-called “art” and so-called “entertainment” which erect dehumanizing and artificial boundaries to our thinking.

I strongly suspect that is just obnoxious corporate marketing at work, and obnoxious exploitative politics at work. But it is tricky. I certainly know some very, very smart women who accept the modern world and even celebrate contemporary approaches to gender.

So I don’t know. Maybe I’m correct and a lot of modern people are wrong. Or maybe I’m wrong, maybe I’m just shaped by having been born on the fringe of the hippie era.

I suppose time will tell. Somehow. (I’ll get back to this, someday, in the context of that third person I mentioned up above in the second part of today’s post.)


So that’s what I have for today. Another very old fashioned kind of blog post. Just me rambling about what’s been going on lately.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Things Libraries Throw Away

The Pigeon That Laughed At Hemingway

Dream Birds Untangle Dream Knots

Dream Lover Fantasy Update



P.S. This is post number 1,700.

Nice round number. I'd like to
quit, go away someplace. But
I can't think of anywhere to go.

So: See you tomorrow.

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