Breaking A Pattern Of DistractionSaturday, September 08, 2012
To break my pattern of distraction I have, of late been reading novels furiously as quickly as I can find them at the fast read section of my Oakridge Public Library. The last two, though, were not fast reads (one week limit, and a dollar a day for late return) from that section. The Donna Leon I ordered for delivery at my Oakridge branch of the Vancouver Public Library and the Mathew Pearl was visible on the shelf there, too.
Both kept me safely in bed and away from my living room by-the-monitor-chair. I have been turning off my bedside table light late.
Both novels made me stop at a particular page. I re-read and moved on. But my memory plays interesting and efficient tricks in that I am able to remember on what side of the page I read what stopped me and pretty well within the chapter. I found these two gems:
Stephens smiled. “You see, I have written and ending myself, Mr. Osgood! Yes, the life of the drama writer is not as luxurious as that of the novelists you publish. We must work with what is before us with great respect, but never so much respect that we fail to fulfill our task of pleasing an audience. When we read, we use our brains, but when we watch a performance, we use our eyes – much more trivial organs.
The Last Dickens –Matthew Pearl
‘I haven’t decided yet, Commissario. What does your wife think?’
‘Well she’s always liked a jacket without vents. Says it’s more flattering to the figure. That might be because she’s tall. But certainly that one is perfect,’ he said, leaning forward and pointing to a beige jacket at the centre of the left-hand page. ‘I’ll ask her again tonight and see if she has any further ideas on the subject.’
She turned to the Lieutenant but he, apparently having no strong opinion to offer about vents, chose that moment to leave her office, failing to close the door behind him.
‘A man without a sense of fashion is a man without a soul,’ Signorina Elettra said and turned a page.
A Question of Belief – Donna Leon
The latter with the killer quote from the beautiful red haired Signorina Elettra (a computer hacker of great expertise) reminded me of one of the best books I have read this year, J.J. Lee’s The Measure of a Man – The Story of a Father, a Son and a Suit.
It seems that the week was a week of memorable quotes. One came via email from Vancouver Sun columnist Stephen Hume who wrote:
Change is the only constant in life. Shakespeare was, in his own time, like today's TV writers and only one of many. The reason that we equate him with Elizabethan drama is because he was among the best who survived in our memory because they were the best. We've forgotten the scores of lesser talents, some more famous in their own day, and their dreadful revenge tragedies. And we don't know who played his debut Othello or Macbeth. I know this from a Quixotic decision to study Renaissance drama 50 years ago!
I'm not far off 70 myself. I don't feel obsolete. I'm the milk man. I deliver milk and the milk stays the same whether it comes in cans, bottles, plastic bags, plastic jugs or waxed cardboard cartons. I doubt that you are obsolete either. It's important not to confuse the delivery technology for the content! The content -- the story -- is what's important, less so the delivery system, although it to can become the story occasionally, as this correspondence indicates.
And from How Does Denzel Washington Take Off?
By Terrence Rafferty
NY Times September 6, 2012
Mr. Washington, pressed, spoke about the hours he spent in a flight simulator, getting ready for the harrowing cockpit scenes early in the picture, when his character, Whip Whitlock, has to fight his way to an emergency landing. “You just need to feel comfortable in there,” he said, “need to know what the routine is.”
He continued: “Every little thing you use helps you create the reality. One of the pilots I was working with let me use his flight bag in the movie, so I carried that old, beat-up thing. I always say the universal comes from the specific.”