December 08, 2004
Joy... Jason... Sundance... Scatterbrain
Oh, Joy. Joy Williams, that is. I know, I know, I need to just shut up about her. But I recently finished HONORED GUEST, and while it's probably my third favorite of her three short story collections, it's still undoubtedly the most fascinating, quirky, assured, cranky, and wholly, aggravatingly unique book I've read in a while. I think the title story is my favorite, simply because it addresses a topic that's still very fresh in my own recent experience AND it's similar in theme to the book I'm currently writing.
Here's a great interview with Joy by the writer Michelle Huneven, in which she says some really smart, hilarious things about short stories and the people who write them: JOY!!.
I also want to recommend ILL NATURE, Williams's book of essays, especially for the piece on the suicide of ex-Plasmatics singer Wendy O. Williams and, most especially, her essay called "Hawk," which any owner or lover of dogs, I think, should read and read and read again.
(The one time in my life when I visited Key West, when I was there for two days on my IN AWE book tour, my writer friend Walter deMilly took me past Joy's house. I could barely take a breath. She wasn't home; I was kind of glad. I saw her gray windows, I saw her rickety porch, I saw her weird unused car. I think she was in Arizona at the time, teaching. I don't know what I would have done, had she been home. Would I have invited her to the bar for a couple of martinis? We both like gin, after all. Would I have signed my book for her, or burned it as an offering to her greatness? Is it ultra-crazy to adore a writer this much? Can I rank her up there with, say, Jason Biggs and my irrational crush on him? Yes, yes, I love Jason too, as anyone who knows me knows. Those you hold in high esteem seem more thrilling and ghostly and fucked up, I guess, when there aren't many others who share those feelings. If J-Lo, say, or Julia "I just had twins and I'm using them to promote my movie" Roberts lived downstairs from me, I wouldn't care a fig. But Joy! Jason! Her writing makes me feel more alive; his beautiful milk-skinned face and huge goofball smile and curly black hair make my stomach feel like hot mud.)
Ah, Joy. Ah, Jason.
Enough examples of my hysterias. Music... By now it's kinda old news, but we love The Arcade Fire in our house. I'll be the first to admit that they might sound a little more "typical indie" than what I usually go for, whatever that means, but that record FUNERAL is just fan-f@#$in'-tastic. Thank you Brady for first alerting me to them. (The same L.A. Weekly that had the Joy Williams interview also has a nice Arcade Fire article: Arcade Fire.)
Just Netflixed a great little Italian film from this past year called I'M NOT SCARED. (Go to the site if you're interested; it's really cool.) What a gorgeous film. Certain images, especially the final one, will resonate in my head for, like, um, ever (I had to sound dumb at the end of that sentence after writing "resonate"). This will definitely be on my annual "top ten list," which should also make its appearance here in about 5 weeks or so. What does it say about me that nearly half of my all-time favorite films are slightly skewed, fantastical visions of the horrible world through the eyes of child or teenage protagonists? SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE... THE 400 BLOWS... HEAVENLY CREATURES... THE REFLECTING SKIN... FORBIDDEN GAMES... THE DEVIL'S BACKBONE... even horror films like PHANTASM, AFRAID OF THE DARK, and even CARRIE could fall into this category.
While I'm on this topic: can anyone tell me why Alejandro Jodorowsky's SANTA SANGRE has never been officially released on DVD???
From Santa Sangre... to Santa Claus. I usually shrink from Xmas or any other holiday for that matter, but this year I think I'm going to bite my tongue and lips and gums and bear through all "twelve days" and then some. I plan on even setting up a tree with my housemates and hosting a New Year's party. As for what I want for presents, if someone wants to send me a gift certificate to Paul Smith, I wouldn't complain. Or, for that matter, how about a plane ticket to all the places Che Guevara-slash-Gael Garcia Bernal traveled in THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES? Better yet, a companion plane ticket with Gael himself as the companion? Or how about Jason Biggs?
Anyone going to be in Utah in January? (Gael, for instance? Jason?) Well, I'm going. MYSTERIOUS SKIN will be at the Sundance Film Festival for its US premiere. No official announcement to schedule right now, but I've been told the screening will be the final Friday, the 28th. Michael will start teaching at Boston College before then, but he's planning to head out for that weekend and meet me in Park City.
There are some nice shots from the film, by the way, at imdb.com now, from a link to a German site; also in there are a couple of cool photos of Gregg directing Elisabeth Shue and Jeff Licon. Nearly all the major cast members are represented in these shots, so for people who have written & asked what the characters look like in the film, you can see 'em here: MSKIN photos
And by the way, for those who didn't believe my story of Robin Guthrie and Kevin Shields, here is proof.
What a scatterbrained entry. After that picture, then, I'll end with this: My ultimate goal in life, at this precise moment, is to write a blog entry, exactly one year from today, with an accompanying photo of myself, sandwiched this time between Joy Williams and Jason Biggs. "It doesn't hurt to dream."