Friday, August 07, 2009

Six Degrees With Joss Whedon

Rob finds it annoying but I often play the game “Six Degrees of Separation” with Joss Whedon. Basically, I see how closely I can relate a star to Joss Whedon. With the announcement that Julie Benz, who played Darla on Buffy and Angel, will be in the new Boondock Saints movie, I figured I would share what I consider to be my best move in this ongoing game, connecting Joss Whedon with Judy Garland.
Joel Grey (BtVS Season 5) starred in Cabaret with Liza Minelli who is the daughter of Judy Garland
I don’t think I’ll ever top this particular move because Judy Garland connects Whedon to so many of the old school stars as to make the game effectively over. Still, I can’t help myself and almost every time I make another connection, no matter how tenuous, I get excited.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Erasure by Percival Everett

Erasure by Percival Everett is one of those brilliant surprises, although I don’t know why I was surprised. A scathing and sardonic exploration of publishing, writing, and fame, Everett draws on some of the more embarrassing moments in recent literary history, commenting upon racial relationships and identity with an integrity and fierce honesty. Even the novel within this novel is a slap in the face of what many revere and is ironically praised for everything that Everett does throughout. I devoured this book and cannot possibly praise its layers clearly enough. The protagonist is a writer and sprinkled throughout the novel are imagined dialogues between various types of artists which serve as yet another layer of commentary. There were moments of such humor that I had to put the book down to just let myself enjoy the moment of chuckling before reading further. (The fantasy exchange on page 193 especially memorable.) I think it helps that I have a slight familiarity with literature and why certain authors are revered but may be without merit. I ached through most of the reading to discuss this with a former professor of mine, a man who died many years ago but whose intelligence and kindness continue to affect me even now. He would have loved this novel. I am torn. A part of me wants to immediately run to Everett’s other writings and another part of me wonders if anything else he’s written could possibly live up to the brilliance of this novel? I think I’ll let this one sit with me for a while, enjoy the time I spent voraciously reading it, ponder its meaning, and, when the afterglow has fully worn off, look at some of his other writing. Ahhh . . . but the temptation to jump immediately into the next is definitely here and now.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance: Poems 1987-1992 by Audre Lorde

The Marvelous Arithmetics of Distance: Poems 1987-1992 by Audre Lorde is a slender collection of poems written by Lorde in the final years of her life. The poems are angry, political, daring, and bold. Anyone familiar with Lorde’s life and experience can easily read between the lines of the poems for more meaning, can hear the anger without flinching at the raised fist, and will fall in love with the same delicacy that Lorde communicates through her words. I always approach Lorde with a cautious openness, knowing that I will come to feel her rage, feel defensive a her words confront my beliefs, and that I will, as always, fall in love with her all over again. This collection is no different. The last poems in the collection are my favorite, although the poem I am sharing is not one of the later ones. Still, I know that this poem would have been one I would have used to complement Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s “I Have a Dream” speech, to remind my students that what they take for granted some children have died to have, to remind myself that I am no less guilty of forgetting how blessed I am in my life.
Prism For Joyce Serote There are no frogs in Soweto students croak Amandla! Through the tear-gas. Not true no frogs live in Soweto only we are too weary with no ears left to hear them. Who knows where frogs live in Soweto who has time to listen stroll along a moonlit gutter beyond the flames of evening rising falling the thin high screams of skewered children. In the bruising fist of challenge the future does not tarry. Take your words to bed with you dream upon them choose any ones you wish write us a poem.