Thursday, January 31, 2008

Three Movie Summaries from a One Day Flu

A spaceship heads for Mars, and dispatches a landing craft. Three astronauts go down to the red planet and meet a glowing red alien with soulful electronic eyes. “I am your mother, the mother of all things,” the alien says to them by means of holographic telepathy, “don’t you know I have never stopped watching you, never stopped loving you? My sweet lost children, why must you torment yourselves so?”

A regular dude with a sexy grin becomes the focus of a 24 hour TV show. The cameras follow him everywhere (except to the bathroom). Under their bright lights he becomes a celebrity but his life falls apart and he cannot get together with the woman he loves, a coltish UPS delivery person with over-plucked eyebrows and a kind of underwritten personality. The grand climax involves a penis pump.

Eisenheim the Illusionist seems to believe that the woman he loves has died. He’s devastated, bereft, lost. He wanders the streets of Vienna in a surly daze, his eyes like two dead things trapped in glass. At night he conducts magic performances which are like séances, raising the dead to life, hoping beyond hope that his departed loved one will return.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Four Scenes with Pit Bull

Otis was lying on the couch when I walked in the room.
You did it, didn’t you? he said.
Don’t start, I said.
How could you do it? You had everything you needed. Was your life so difficult?
We make mistakes, I said. Remember? You crapped on the carpet two nights ago. Mistakes.
You fed me cottage cheese, he pointed out.
Still, I said.
He shook his head. You did it.

We went for a walk in the woods. I took off his leash and he ran down the cedar bark trail, a huge toothy smile on legs. Just run, his smile said, just run, just run, just feel the beauty of running! I ran after him in my thick hiking boots, and felt young.

At the ballfield he refused to return the tennis balls I threw.
That’s not the game, I said. I throw them, you bring them back. You know this.
He scoffed. Why be a slave to convention?
I was at a loss for words. Because that’s not the game, I finally said.
He ran in ever widening circles, holding a tennis ball.

Otis was lost in the woods. I called out his name; it echoed across the valley. Three men in florescent yellow jackets were putting cedar bark on the trail and I asked them if they’d seen a brown and white dog, running. They hadn’t. I walked back and forth across the valley, calling his name.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Meanwhile, back in the woods...

Happy New Year Everybody! May it be filled with good things and good presidential candidates. May your dreams come true or at least not harass you too much while you're going over your bills or shopping for groceries.

I'm at Yaddo, an artist's colony in Saratoga Springs, NY, working on a novel and will be here until the 17th. I'm staying in a room that once housed Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes when I'm not stumbling around in the snow, which is three feet deep and light as dust. It's an honor and a pleasure to be here, except when the writing's like pulling teeth. But that's where the liquor cabinet comes into play. Hope you all are well.