Monday, January 27, 2014

Spring Read List 2014

Somehow, in both my memory and in my semi-conscious thought, I feel the winter nights are long, really long. This is a mix of reality, imagination and that for many-many years, I have slept late and worked nights. To me, my life has been mostly night and for some reason, come January, my life has always seemed like wintertime.

None of this is true when I think about things logically. And since I am an idealist at the core of my being, and an optimist, I believe that there is only one long winter night. I believe and I have always believed that should we be able to make it to the winter solstice, that winter slowly fades because those nights get shorter and shorter. Whatever it takes to get through the short days of winter, right? I have been playing these games for years.

Truth be told, I like the winter. I prefer it. Despite being an idealist, or the optimist I claim to be, I am not so secretly an introverted misanthrope. I prefer working nights because there are less people out. I prefer the winter for the same reason. Spring, summer and autumn are just too crowded.

The ever shrinking winter nights? The ever lengthening winter days? These are still good times for a book. In fact, I believe that most people, on a cold winter's night, would prefer a seat by the fire with hot cocoa in one hand and a book in the other. I'm no different. Jeffery Eugenides in the book Virgin Suicides says that winter is the time for alcoholism and depression. And I'm suggest cocoa and literature.

This season, I'm bravely facing all the works of literature I was just too scared to read before. How about this: science fiction, weird fiction, Edwardian novels, romantic poetry? Pretty kinky combination. Here it is:

The Moon and Six Pence W. Somerset Maugham
The Good Soldier Ford Madox Ford
The Call of Cthulhu H.P. Lovecraft
Minority Report (and other short stories) Philip K. Dick
The Prince's Progress (and other poems) Christina Rossetti
Grimm's Fairy Tales
The Flowers of Evil Charles Baudelaire
Paradise Lost John Milton
The Celestial Ominbus E.M. Forrester

A General Introduction to Psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud  

Monday, January 20, 2014

Reading Lists, Revisited

A 2013 reading wrap-up

I spend Sundays with Mark Dragotta. If you don't know Mark Dragotta, you should. And should you want to meet him, I recommend Sundays and you can find us at 501 16th.

On a Sunday afternoon a few weeks back, Mark was sitting at the last stool by the door, and I stood next to him. He said, “I don't know why I never read him, I was really into Stephen King.” I replied, “Stephen King was really into Lovecraft. Without Lovecraft, there may not have been a Stephen King.” Mark nodded his head. “Right,” he said. “And Lovecraft was really into Edgar Allan Poe, so without Poe there may not have been a Lovecraft.” Mark agreed. “Besides,” I said, “you gotta hear this.” I read a paragraph from At the Mountains of Madness. Before I got to the end of the paragraph someone we both know neared us, giggled his half-witted, nervous little giggle and said: “what the fuck are you two doing?” and he quickly walked away. After he was gone, I looked at Mark and said, “see, there's the problem.”

Monday, January 13, 2014

Introductions and New Directions, Part 2

Sometimes, and it's generally in the more extreme of circumstances or emotions, I have to ask: “why didn't I do this before?” Of course, oftentimes I'm saying this sort of “why did we not do this before?” to Janice.

Case in point, I play with my son everyday, all too often I get this feeling that we should have gotten on this parenthood thing sooner. I feel this way because I have such a wonderful time with my family that I can only think that it would have been fun even to have started earlier. The flipside is true too. For instance, we lived in a rundown slum for a few months. It was such an awful experience that I am unable to begin telling about it, but when it was over, the skies cleared and everything lightened up. It left me wondering, “why did we not move before?”

Monday, January 6, 2014

Introductions and New Directions

I have never been one to begin a new year with a list of resolutions. I think it's a bit cliché, and it's a difficult thing to do. After all, I could say that I want to be healthier or have a better diet or make the bed every morning in this new year and see what happens. Resolutions are one of those things that I just never got. I also never officially resolved to do anything on any given day. When I decide to do something, I just try to do it and sometimes I am met with success.