“Say Hi to Everybody”

Above quote was in the Annette Bening/Naomi Watts/Samuel L. Jackson movie that self saw at Palo Alto Square a few months ago.  The movie was “Mother and Child,” and it vanished in a jiffy.  But self will not soon forget the performances, particularly Naomi Watts’, as a ferociously ambitious woman whose psychic scars (She was adopted?  Does that qualify as a psychic scar?) lead her to make of all sexual partners mincemeat.

After one particular egregious affair (with her married next-door neighbor, whose wife is expecting their first child), she says, as the man gets up to leave:  “Say hi to everybody,” in a small, surprisingly child-like voice.  Self doesn’t know what it is about this actress, but her vulnerability shines in every role, even one as unlikable as this one.

Why is self thinking of Naomi Watts this morning, when “Ninja Assassin,” her next Netflix movie, is in the DVD player, and son is asleep in his room (having crawled in at 4 a.m.?)  Self just got through about three hours of writing.  She didn’t add a single page to any of her stories, even after spending all that time at her computer.  She really is astonished:  it felt like she’d written at least 10 pages worth of prose.  But, apparently, everything she wrote filled in these huge blank spaces on her various narratives.  Now those narratives look more “textured”  —  that is, there are not as many huge, gaping spaces.  But neither did her page count budge, not one inch.

To which, self can only respond:   AAARRRGGGH!!!!

What is the point of being a writer when you make no money, your neck aches all the time, and you can spend all morning at your desk, and you still end up with the same number of pages you had before you spent the morning at your laptop?  Why, God, why?

Self realizes she is being overly dramatic.  Lots of writers suffer similar frustrations, she is sure.  Now would be a good time for self to get some errands done, before son wakes up.  Because even if all she does is spend 10 minutes with son today (He is always in a rush to meet some friend or other, even when he visits home), she will feel the day has been an unqualified success!

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Siegfried Sassoon: Echoes of a War Long Past (World War I)

Self’s fascination with war literature came when her friend Penny Jackson told her about a class at Stanford on Literature of World War I, taught by the late Albert Guerard. Until that class, she had never heard of Ford Madox Ford or Siegfried Sassoon. He also made required reading The Great War and Modern Memory, by Paul Fussell.

The raw material to be trained was growing steadily worse.  Most of those who came in now had joined the Army unwillingly, and there was no reason why they should find military service tolerable.  The war had become undisguisedly mechanical and inhuman.  What in earlier days had been drafts of volunteers were now droves of victims.  I was just beginning to be aware of this.

—  Siegfried Sassoon, Memoirs of an Infantry Officer

Here’s a further quote from the same book:

In 1917 …  I was only beginning to learn that life, for the majority of the population, is an unlovely struggle against unfair odds, culminating in a cheap funeral.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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