July 29th, 2006

me and you kid at computer


I'm at my branch library, where in a few minutes I'll have a visit with my book. Sounds funny, I know, but that's what it feels like: I had to use ILL to get Julie Burchill's autobiog, and the A2 library had to get it from the Library of Congress, of all things, so it's mine on reserve here until Aug 9. Reserve ILL---how 'bout that. My book to visit for three weeks.

It seems odd to me how unknown this woman is in the States. Or else everybody knows about her but me. She's famous, and/or notorious, in the mother country---an Observer piece on a play about her a few years ago called her "the brilliant, unpredictable, outrageously outspoken writer who has an iconoclastic, usually offensive, view on everything." Her life-as-art notability seems to exist, or to have existed, in contexts in which she can be both hero and anti-hero. Foul-mouthed self-destructive youthful wildness. Unruly sexuality. Unapologetic bad mothering. Fat. Compulsive bridge burning. How come I never heard of her? Even when her recent teen lezzie novel was made into a TV series?

I haven't gotten terribly far into the book yet, but after getting a taste the other night before closing time here (with more than one library-inappropriate burst of laughter), I did read this online transcription of a funny fax fight between her and Camille Paglia.

I keep finding myself wondering whether homovegetarian has read any of her stuff, and what she might think. E? You out there? It's not exactly that she reminds me of you, but there's occasionally something about her wranglings with & pronouncements about life that does---in an oblique way, anyway.

After a fun, wiffle-bally work picnic at Delhi Park yesterday, I passed out for a bit and then rallied to get out and see the late show of the new Woody Allen movie, Scoop, with dreampower. Definite thumbs up (and no spoilers here). I saw an internet rumor that he doesn't want to make any more comedies after this, and that thus, since he has said (?) he now wants to act in his movies only when they're comedies, this might be it for Woody in Woody films. I hate to face the finiteness of his work at all, to tell you the truth, but it did occur to me that this movie would send him off in a cool way, were it to be his last appearance in one of his films---in my mind lending credence to the rumor. The film in general (as did the last, somewhat) makes me wonder whether he's starting to think more, during writing, that any one of these movies could be his last, and taking that into account in its shaping---you know, what it would be like to have it as the last one when people think or talk or write later of his oeuvre, as I'm sure he has thought of other directors' final films in that kind of context.

Going to see the newest Woody, preferably as part of a good-sized, responsive audience, is, no kidding and even with the occasional stinker, one of my dearest pleasures in life. And no, that isn't an indication of a humdrum existence! Not that mine's the most hoppin' on the planet, by a long shot... But. Good movie. Do go see it. Me, I remain grateful that he makes one every year, and I keep my fingers crossed that he and I both live for at least several such years more.

I felt a little bad after blanking on the name of this woman we ran into in the lobby, on the way to see what Smilka and Dan thought of the movie, and so not introducing her & C. I hate name-panicking & not doing that---seems tremendously rude to me. Why didn't I just say some version of "What the heck is your name again?"? Of course it popped into my head as soon as we walked out of the theater. I think the degree to which I thought I shoulda remembered, even though I barely know her and she's been abroad for the better part of a year, was influenced by the fact that she had been mentioned several times during that interval in reference to a foiled near miss of a sexual encounter she was headed for one night last fall with another one who's been abroad (not shmizla, guys 'n' gals, if any of you are still reading at this point & speculating). This gossip gave her a sort of increased familiarity to me that made it feel as if I know her better than I do, thus making it feel more of a slight/sin that I'd forgotten her name, and thus in turn making it feel, in the moment, more important to dodge revealing the fact & be rude, vs. just owning up to the lapse & being a mensch. If that makes any sense at all.

Perhaps as I get older and this situation presents itself to me more and more (it happened not too long ago when I ran into a friend of squirrelykat's, too) I should come up with & have in place some sort of action plan to help myself keep it real. Maybe a card I keep in my pocket that coaches me with something like (1) Say "This is [name of companion, which presumably I won't have forgotten]," (2) turn, (3) clapse both hands & look warmly in the eyes, and (4) with tone of mildly chagrinned surprise, say "I've forgotten your name..." and let the kind soul take it from there. Why is that so hard? It's just the truth.

Enough for now. Now to a nice comfy chair, with my visited book, in this oasis of A/C on this muggy hot day.