Serenity 3: Mendocino Walks

Everything about Mendocino is about serenity.

Masonic Temple, Lansing Street, Mendocino (The building was begun in 1866, finally completed 1873)

Masonic Temple, Lansing Street, Mendocino (The building was begun in 1866, finally completed 1873)

Ceramic Art by Mitch Iburg, Fellow Artist-in-Residence (He and Jessie occupy the apartment right next to self's)

Ceramic Art by Mitch Iburg, Fellow Artist-in-Residence (He and Jessie occupy the apartment right next to self’s)

Evening from Self's Apartment at the Mendocino Art Center

Evening from Self’s Apartment at the Mendocino Art Center

A Review of “The Interview”

For self to like a review enough for her to post bits of it on her blog, it’s got to be funny.

So, you all know about “The Interview,” right? The movie that ended up starting a Mexican stand-off between North Korea and the United States? The movie that had self making statements like: It is a God-given right that Americans watch what they want, when they want, and especially on holidays like Christmas, when all the shopping malls are shut!

Then “The Interview” came out, just as Chris Rock said (to Jon Stewart on The Daily Show) that it would, and judging from the remarks floating around the lobby of the Redwood City Century 20 on Christmas Day, the general consensus seemed to be: This is a stupid movie. Why the North Koreans ever felt it was so threatening — IDK (with shoulder-shrug emoji)

Finally, self lands on (which she’s avoiding since coming to Mendocino because there are no movie theaters in the vicinity, and she’s too lazy to drive all the way to Fort Bragg, and anyway even if she did make it to Fort Bragg, they’re not showing it), and reads a wickedly entertaining review from Steven Boone. It’s so entertaining, self wonders why she never heard of Steven Boone before. So here goes (Note: The worst barbs are reserved for James Franco)

  • “The Interview” is nothing new, but it looks great.
  • You expect Kanye West and some X-Men to show up. It’s the visual approach filmmakers like Edgar Wright and various cohorts of this film’s star, Seth Rogen . . . spent the past decade indulging, to give their flouncy bromantic comedies the sizzle and swagger of a good romantic adventure.
  • Rogen’s co-lead, James Franco, takes a break from winking roughly one-third of the time . . . Early in the film, and for much of it, he is simply trying too hard. Imagine James Dean aiming for Will Ferrell speed and pitch. In Franco’s relentless hyperactivity I sense immense fear, of not supplying enough energy to this gargantuan film, of not giving Rogen enough to volley back.

There are several raunchy quotes from the movie, of which this one is the most tame:

“Welcome to the jungle, baby, welcome to the jungle. Na na na knees.”

Too, too hilarious!

Stay tuned.


SILAS MARNER Quote of the Day

p. 44:

The sense of security more frequently springs from habit than from conviction, and for this reason it often subsists after such a change in the conditions as might have been expected to cause alarm.

Mary Ruefle: “Patient Without an Acre”

Self tried three times to upload photographs today (the system kept crashing before the photos finished uploading), she’s amazed she was finally able to attach a picture to a post. The one below is what part of her writing table looks like.

Self brought a stack of poetry books with her to Mendocino and it is so much fun to go back and forth, deciding which collection she’s going to read from.

This evening, it’s Mary Ruefle.

Here’s part of her poem “Patient Without an Acre.” It’s in Mary Ruefle: Selected Poems (Wave Books: Seattle and New York, 2010)

Look how appropriately incomplete
I am: I never carry a pocket mirror.
My skin takes the light.
I don’t know where it goes.
Maybe it passes right through me.
Maybe it follows me,
making me easy to follow,
for there’s no mistaking
what it is: a life all right,
and my own, but to what end?


Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

And, Further Along in SILAS MARNER

Silas Marner is a great, absolutely great English novel.

Self doesn’t know why she felt it necessary to qualify “novel” with “English.” It’s not a diminution, it’s not that self thinks you have to be English to appreciate Silas Marner, of course not.

But let’s just say the time is right for her to fully appreciate the strength and tautness of a George Eliot sentence. And all those strengths are on full display here. And part of the strength of the sentences is that they are firmly rooted in the landscape. Which, of course, is England.

And self will even go so far as to say that no novel can be considered truly great unless it grows out of its own particular landscape.

Short stories can get away with being abstract. A novel has to be rooted.

Onward, to p. 41 of the Everyman’s Library edition. A spoiled young man named Dunsey takes a walk through a field:

When a young gentleman like Dunsey is reduced to so exceptional a mode of locomotion as walking, a whip in his hand is a desirable corrective to a too bewildering dreamy sense of unwontedness in his position; and Dunsey, as he went along through the gathering mist, was always rapping his whip somewhere. It was Godfrey’s whip, which he had chosen to take without leave because it had a gold handle; of course no one could see, when Dunsey held it, that the name Godfrey Cass was cut in deep letters on that gold handle — they could only see that it was a very handsome whip.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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