Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Dammit, I shutter the blog, thinking that nothing could possibly bring me back to it, and what happens?

Robert Altman dies. The great Robert Altman. The daring, complicated, brilliant filmmaker. The director of one of my favorite movies. The director that I've mentioned countless times on this blog. The director who, even when he made horrible movies, usually kept them interesting.

This is a guy I wanted to meet. This is a guy I've wanted to meet since I first saw THE PLAYER in the theater 15 years ago.

The Academy gave him an honorary Oscar this year, probably thinking that he'd never live long enough to actually win one (even though he had been nominated several times).

With that Emilio Estevez-directed, "group of people's stories converge upon a political assassination" movie BOBBY coming up, I thought I would warm myself up to it by watching NASHVILLE again.

Now I have another reason.

Some of you wouldn't like Altman movies if you watched them. They required open-minded attention, a willingness to let characters talk over one another, less of a reliance upon plot or a story with clear payoffs.

I really loved this year's A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, for instance, but I also saw why lots of people would hate it. Thus, I don't recommend it to everyone who comes into my bookstore wholeheartedly.

"Meryl Streep's really good in it, and it's got some great music and performances," I tell people. "But you've got to prepare yourself for an ending that will leave you confused and maybe disappointed."

Certain actors were devoted to Altman, for he let them improvise, build their characters through nuance, and he wasn't afraid of showing the characters' lives as jumbled or messy.

Robert Altman could make a damn good movie. He created a signature style. Even the English, period-costumed murder mystery was distinctly his.

I've always been a fan of framework narratives, so maybe that's why I liked Altman. I liked the idea that, in narrative works, there could be a dozen stories going on at once that related to one another, yet no one but the audience could see the connections.

It's what I kinda hoped that life was really like. We all have our own stories going on, and all the lessons we need to learn are out there, just out of reach, waiting for us to see them. The people we greet, the guy who cuts us off in traffic, the girl in the toll booth all have stories both like our own and completely unlike ours. The lesson may be there if we look at them long enough. Or maybe the lesson is that we're all flawed. Or maybe there's no lesson.

I should write.

I didn't get to meet Altman. I wanted to meet him.

Monday, November 13, 2006

It says nothing to me about my life.

My friend Kurt, who worships The Smiths, used to write vague statements on his blog when he couldn't think of anything else to say. I'm tired of staring at the same page on my blog, but I honestly don't know what I should write you all next. And I'm not sure I want to write much on this anymore. Frankly, the blog just doesn't do it for me anymore.

So I thought I would write you one of those vague statements.

I'm not dead.
I'm not sad.
I'm not in trouble.
I don't need encouragement.
I don't need comfort.
Nobody did anything to me.
I'm just not here.
Not now.

I've left the blog before.
I left when I wanted to concentrate on other writing.
I left when I wanted to focus on a boyfriend.
I left when I just didn't want to hear from someone.
Now it just feels like something I don't do anymore.
Maybe I'm just not as interesting as I used to be or as nice or as open or as happy or as funny or as extroverted or as egotistical or as apologetic or as showy or as social or as wounded or as crazy or as young.
Maybe I've just forgotten the rules of grammar.

Now, no one entry feels like it would be big enough or good enough.
I can't just say I'm reading this book or that I enjoyed this movie anymore.
It just doesn't feel like enough.
As for my writing, I want it to be more than this.

I'm fine.
I'm good.
Thanks for reading.
Thanks for three years.