Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Process Letter G4-2/Goddard


Annotation 2: “Kneller's Happy Campers”
Annotation 3: Things that Hang from Trees
Annotation 4: The Fox
Annotation 5: The Easter Parade
Annotation 6: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time
The Process Paper

Dear John,

Thank you for the prompt return of packet one. For some reason I thought the manuscript didn't come back until the third packet. In a way, I'm glad this was my misunderstanding. While I was planning the semester, I made sure everything else was finished early so I could focus on the revisions. So, I am grateful indeed to be able to focus so heavily on my manuscript.

I find it funny at how small this packet feels. Not counting this process letter, I only have 30 pages written, which makes this the shortest packet to date. I've already got all my work finished for packet number three, and that packet is almost half the size of this one. Again, more time to work on my manuscript.

Things are settling down here in Denver. The DNC was unbelievable. I thought about you so often during the daily events. It's unfortunate you couldn't have been here for it. The crowds of people were astonishing for the relatively peaceful streets of Denver. As an aside, I've seen crowds of people in my time, hell, I lived in Mexico City. I've known a crowd. These crowds were different. The marching protests ran the gamut. Of course, anytime there is a group of twenty people, the Jesus-folks always show up. Their banners and chants reminded me of those cyclops men in The City of Lost Children. The preachy ones always baffle me, I mean, really, what do they do in their everyday lives? The anti-war folks made me happy, I'm glad they still exist. Even the silly signs “make love, not war” made me giddy. I suppose I have always believed as much, but rather than saying such things myself, I'm generally busy making love, or trying to. There was even a group of people trying to stop bird porn. Yes, that's right, bird porn. Apparently, looking at birds causes sexual arousal. Now taking that one step further, John McCain is an avid bird watcher. The people on the streets were such a treat to see.
The mood of the entire convention was positive. People were happy, excited, and a feeling of hope pervaded. During the nightly speeches, every restaurant, every store, and everyone with a radio downtown had every word blasting. People were cheering in the streets. It reminded me of all the ticker-tape parades of LIFE photographs of times gone past. And above all, we were making some serious money. I've been in the service industry for a long time, and I have made great money, and this convention reminded me of the olden days when people had money, and people went out. I suppose that was a time before fear rose and the economy fell. For the first time in many, many months, my optimism has grown. I don't believe the next DNC will have the same mood that this one had, but sometime in your life, promise me you'll see one. I suppose the GOP would be something to see too, if you like police, bullets, gas, and one anger mob.

Other news in Denver, autumn is near, and my house hasn't sold yet.

The packet work was pretty easy for me to do this go around. My annotations were fun, mostly I enjoyed the reading. Etgar Keret's novella was more stunning the second time I read it. I'll get into that more in a minute. I enjoyed reading The Fox more than I liked annotating it. I think of all the books and annotations I've been through, this is the first time for that. I'm sure there are entire courses out there on this little book. By contrast, I loved annotating Mark Haddon's book. Funny thing too, it was one of the worst books I've ever read. If you should meet Mark Haddon at a party, please don't tell him, and heaven forbid he should read anything of mine. Incidentally, the biggest treat of the entire semester's reading list was The Easter Parade by Richard Yates. I grateful to have read it, and I can honestly say I've never read anything like it. I chose to write my annotation on the secondary characters, but there was something much more striking about the novel on a personal level. The year in the opening of the book is 1930, and it opens with divorce. As I thought about the lives of the Grimes sisters, the dates of the novel's events became more interesting. Yates wrote the book in 1976. I was born in 1972, making me the tail end of Generation X. My parents, like so many of my generation were divorced when I was young. I know parents are still divorcing today, but not like it was in the 1970s. I think his book was popular in its day because of this pandemic of divorce, parenting and childhood. I'm sure this statement would have to have plenty of research, so I'm leaving you with a thank you for the recommendation, the novel meant something to me.

Back to Etgar Keret. I could loosely place this book into the dystopia genre. I've become very interested in the dystopia during my time at Goddard. Shortly before I started at Goddard, I reread Orwell's 1984, and Huxley's Brave New World. My first semester, I happened to chance upon Zamyatin's WE, which absolutely blew my mind. In the same fashion, Keret's “Kneller's Happy Camper's” was similar to the others. There was a society slight off from regular life, there was a girl, and a quest. What struck me was ideal in Keret's story was how cool and hip they were, and how simple the desires of the characters were. I doubt Keret's book will go down in history as one of the great dystopia's of the 21st century, but it is worth the read.

Since I have already written all the annotations I need to, my reading has taken a different turn. I recently read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, and it has replaced Wuthering Heights as my favorite novel. Shelley had a bit of the taste of the dystopia, but that's not why I loved it so much. I'm still puzzling over who the narrator really was, was it Mrs Saville who received letters from Robert Walton who retold the story told by Victor Frankenstein himself? Brilliant. I followed up Shelley's novel with a curious little science fiction novel by Pierre Boulle. Neither one of the 2001 or the 1968 film adaptations could give Boulle's Planet of the Apes the justice it deserved. Boulle's views on animal testing are very clear, and the human race in his story get their just rewards. The next book on the docket is the grandfather of dystopia: Utopia by Thomas More. I guess when it comes down to this dystopian interest of mine, these books can never exist unless there was once a utopia. And I don't believe any of these books can come true for us, as we have never had utopia. We live in a mis-topia, I suppose, but the satyr in these novels are stimulating.

Well, enough of this droning on, at least for now. Thanks again for the quick reply on my manuscript. I have looked over your notes, and I tend to agree with most of what you've said. As far as the comma splices at the end of the dialogue in the story, I was completely unconscious of it. I see the errors of my way now, and I assure you these are the first items to be corrected. I look forward to the work with excitement.

Thanks for all your hard work, patience and diligence, I appreciate working with you.

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