Thursday, April 19, 2007


We finally broke our streak of disappointing films. We rented Permanent Midnight. I don't know why I didn't know about this film when it came out (a few years ago?), but it's so good. So good. It's based on the story of Jerry Stahl, a television writer who was also a heroin addict. It's intense, funny, heartbreaking, visually beautiful. Maria Bello, one of my favorite actors, is in it.

Another breakthrough in my culture consumption: this week I read Play It As It Lays, Joan Didion's 1970 novel. It's short and intense. I've been a Didion fan for many years, but for some reason never read her fiction till now. I'm so glad I did!

I usually read about a book a week, but I hadn't finished a book in a couple months. I got bogged down trying to read Moby Dick and a Foucault reader at the same time. I so rarely don't finish a book I've started, but I had to take both of them back to the library. I just couldn't do it. I don't know what it was about Moby Dick. I'm used to reading big, old novels. I love them. I was even enjoying the characters and the beginning of the story. But I was 200 pages into it and nothing had happened yet!

(Part of the difficulty may be that I'm preoccupied with my screenplay right now. I'm also having a hard time sitting still for 20 minutes to meditate.)

And the Foucault. I've tried a few times over the years to read Foucault, because his writing has been so influential in so many areas. But every time, I give up, feeling stupid. I'll read paragraphs three or four times and still have no idea what he's talking about. It's like code. The words are familiar. The sentence structure is familiar. But the meaning is hidden.

So Joan Didion was a relief. Clear, direct, beautiful.

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