I Pay Rapt Attention

I’m back! (also, my word count is currently 666. Creepy.)

Posted in Eccentricities by Zoelle on December 21, 2008

So apparently posting from school didn’t work out so well for me this semester. It’s been a while, let’s say. Regardless,  I’m back in California for the next several weeks, and finally have access to a computer again. I apparently have the worst luck with laptop monitors that has ever existed- both of my laptops have been put out of commission by problems with their screens. Sigh.

Anyway, what a crazy ride the last few months have been, right? There’s the economy, and everything happening in Mumbai, and that awful movie Twilight. That’s right, I saw it. In fact, it was so bad, I saw it twice. I’ve never had to do that before, but I suppose there’s a first time for anything. I simply couldn’t believe it was as atrocious as it was after the first viewing. Needless to say,  I wasn’t wrong. Who knew an American accent could be so bad? (That’s right, I’m looking at you, Robert Pattison) Who knew vampires glittered?  At least Australia had Hugh Jackman going for it…

While we’re on the subject of movies, I will say that Slumdog Millionaire was incredible. The movie ranges from depictions of abject squalor to startling wealth, showing along the way both the briefest glimpse of the range of Indian society and a truly compelling story about the power of human ingenuity and feeling. There are poop jokes and religious killings, blindings and riding on trains. I can’t even express how worthwhile this movie was. Go see it. I’m seeing it again.

In the absence of my computer, I was fortunate enough to get a lot of reading done. What is finals period for, right?  I finally finished The Savage Detectives by Roberto Bolano. It’s a wonderful book (if a bit sluggish in the middle) and incidentally, I’ve finished just in time for two new Bolano translations to appear- what’s being touted as his magnum opus, 2666, and a collection of his poetry, The Romantic Dogs. I’ve also been fortunate enough to read a collection of his short stories entitled Last Evenings on Earth, so I can safely say that based on that and Detectives, I’m looking forward to reading these new works. Bolano somehow manages to write obsessively about the same topics or characters (usually struggling writers and their interactions with others of their ilk) without driving me crazy. This is an impressive feat, considering how short my attention span is.

Yet perhaps the most wonderful piece of writing I’ve read recently was The Shadow Catcher by Marianne Wiggins. Wiggins has a way of stringing together words that’s truly moving. I found myself wandering around reading the first page of the book outloud to my suitemates, trying to figure out exactly what it was in her prose that was compelling. Let’s just say that it’s pretty enough that my suitemates didn’t mind (which is also saying something, considering that they were studying for finals…) Regardless, it’s a beautiful book, and I’m currently desperately trying to get my hands on a copy of “Evidence of Things Unseen” as a result.

Other books consumed in the last month: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Hunter S Thompson, Women with Men by Richard Ford, For the Relief of Unbearable Urges by Nathan Englander, The Book of Ralph by John McNally, The Burning Plain by Juan Rulfo (and many more)

It’s raining here, so lightly that I can hardly tell. Instead, the sky seems to flicker outside my window. It’s an odd effect. I’ve got to plan my trip to Southern California now, but I’ll be back to talk about my classes (Digital Literature and Graphic Forms and Advanced Fiction Writing oh my!) and the GMAT (terror!) and my fantasies of throwing dinner parties (which are more exciting than you might expect) and perhaps even the new projects I have in the works. Who knows? There may even be a graphic novel adaptation of the only good short story I ever wrote. Featuring old robots, no less.

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