Three Intense Books

Thérèse Raquin; Something Happened; Hot Stuff – what do these books have in common? Authors Emile Zola, Joseph Heller, Alice Echols – capture vivid portraits of times, places and people in ways that were compelling, eye-opening & just out-right fun. Moreover they are three books I recently finished reading that were pixel/page turners.

rackspiceless rack

I’ve read Thérèse Raquin several times now – this version (each translation is different) is part of the Complete Zola I have on my Kindle – bought for under $5. Zola is one of my writing muses. The story moves from pov easily & pulled me into this musty corner of Paris totally. By the end of the novel I knew these people and felt as trapped as each of them by their pursuit of ‘happiness.’érèse_Raquin

 discardpop of color

I remember being amazed by the opening lines of Something Happen when I first read it back in the mid-70’s – that fear of closed doors made total sense to me – as I dare to open the closed door I was hiding behind. I wonder what my hardback edition is worth? A single pov that is ironic, unreliable and revealing. Heller knows how to write conversations and this is a text book example of how to that certainly informed my writing after I read it, without me being aware of its influence. It holds up today because I know people who are afraid of closed doors. –

greygrey on gray

Bringing things more to the present is Hot Stuff – which I have blogged about before. Echols non-fiction book is a revealing look at disco & its effect on world of the 70’s, 80’s as it morphed from disco to the somehow more acceptable dance music. Full of gossip, trivia and also insightful analysis of the role of music in general, disco in particular I found myself wishing the book was longer. I also found myself buying things on iTunes to round out my listening of the era, & not all disco. Honey Cone anyone?

Finger Dancing

I was feeling sort of flat – nothing of consequence to accomplish – an opportunity to practice the art of doing nothing – it would be easy to make work – there’s always something to clean – a drawer to tidy – laundry to do – money to be made – but with small effort I made myself do nothing –

I felt my sense of self shift as I did nothing – the urge to be at something anything – to be talking to someone – to be in some sort of action that would sustain my sense of self – but for a moment I did nothing – I was nobody –

just a man doing nothing – good for nothing – not relaxing from having done so much & therefore having earned this respite – not someone sick and tried of all the pulls and tugs of being alive – nope – just someone taking a rare opportunity to do nothing –

I let my mind drift where it wanted and saw the endlessness of so many of the trains of thought – things to do – there would always be things to do whether I thought of them at this moment or not – let them go – away – yeah – no need to even observe passing clouds – why bother – let them float –

let this sense of self float – that would be a neat trick for a few days to stop being aware of this sense of self – the person – the personality – the images and opinions one carries that bind them to a tread mill that becomes insidious and impossible to disengage from –

now there’s the challenge – to do that for a few minutes isn’t so hard but even then it becomes me doing nothing – the rest of me hovers – those quirks and cloaks don’t really fall away – they don’t disengage to let me float free for long – they remind me that I’m free of them – for now – that I will have to return to them and the very thought of return returns me to them –

to be free of all that – to travel without a sense of self – without the importance that all that holds because it is the importance cloak that holds me down – it becomes a barrier between me and experiencing so much of life – the choices that opinion make whittle things down – narrow the possibilities not enlarge them –

so I’m just sitting here for a while – drifting – well, at this moment I’m writing – let words drift and waft along in a loose mood of release – aware that I am writing is enough to hold me down – to direct the language just enough that I’m not totally dissolved – would that I could merely allow the casual drop of fingers hit the keys without looking for anything – just the happy click of rapid keys spinning a web of this and that –

fingers moving along to a music – a music that holds as much of my attention as the mind gives to the words – as close to release as I come many times – closer than most – knowing also that the words have meaning beyond my identity gives me greater freedom – they don’t belong to me – no more than the colors of the sky

no more than the pulse and spring of the music – the loop of quick scintillating instruments that bobs along freely and easily till my eyes close for fingers to dance

100_0569below the clouds

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