If I ever make it, creatively, meaning that I get to the point where I not only am expected to write more for a public audience but that some people consider making movies out of my stuff and I may even get some control over who’s involved, I’m giving first crack at film adaptations to Johan Grimonprez. It’s taken him only two movies in twenty-four hours to earn this honor, dubious as it may currently be.
For the unfamiliar, which should be everyone (Gris?) and would’ve been me a day ago, he’s made only two real films in English as far as I can discern, but they’re both appallingly good. One’s playing at Albuquerque’s barely-breathing Guild theater in Nob Hill by the university district, 2009’s “Double Take”, a film ostensibly about Alfred Hitchcock, but much more about the Cold War, power politics, media, and what’s going on with the planet. My Dad and I saw that last night and had to come home to find his other film, 1997’s “Dial H-i-s-t-o-r-y”, which is about 9/11. Except it was made four years before 9/11. But watch it and tell me it’s about anything else. You can find it online; you may still have to pay to see Double Take.
Almost exactly halfway through editing The Best of All Possible Worlds, putting me well behind the expected pace at this point, though that indicates a general enjoyment of this trip that has made it all worthwhile. The themes for the book are finding resonance in all kinds of places, not least perhaps in the Grimonprez movies, all of which means that either the book is scarily relevant or I’ve just got it on the brain. Reality is probably a mix of both, but it’s generated a comfortable excitement for me about the work that has prompted this very lax attitude about actually getting the editing done. I think once I get on the plane tomorrow and head back to the East, it’ll be time to just put my foot down and get work done. If only so you all can have some idea what I’m talking about.
In the last couple months, I’ve found it harder than any prior point in my life to focus on reading one thing. In the midst of watching Dial H-i-s-t-o-r-y tonight, I realized that I’ve been carrying around Don DeLillo’s White Noise in my backpack since buying it alongside If On a Winter’s Night a Traveler in Ariel & Michael’s favorite Philadelphia bookstore. All I want to do tonight is start it, setting aside editing yet again and certainly bypassing The Spire and War and Peace and Madness and Civilization. Prior to this year, I don’t know if I’d ever gone more than a week or so reading multiple books at once and now I’m on the precipice of starting a fifth simultaneous book. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I mean, sure, I’ve lost some interest in all of them in one way or another, and maybe that’s the problem, that I haven’t just given up on most of them. What does it say about now or my state or something else that I seem incapable of completing readings while churning out novels of my own? Why am I losing interest so quickly? How will I be impacted when I head to Liberia and have to hole up with books for days on end, according to what Emily has led me to believe about the schedule there?
Speaking of which, it’s the first anniversary of our seven to date that Emily and I have been apart. It’s enormously challenging, but I take some solace in the nice round joy of the sound of seven years. A marriage is forever, but it takes some time for its lifespan to start sounding like something that reflects the permanence and seriousness of the commitment it contains. I’m not sure quite where the threshold is, but seven years seems a lot closer than any of the prior milestones.
Been spending much of this leg of the trip discussing the nature of God with my Dad, working out Jumbles and crossword puzzles with surprising interest and aptitude, downing green chile and old memories in equal measure. Just a moment ago, I landed, and already the plane station looms with its promise to whisk me back away. The tighter I hold on, the more sure I become of the need to step back, relax, put it all in context. Watch my Mom knitting in the comfy corner chair. Pull the threads.