Sunday, March 29, 2009

What To Say?

I am going out soon. My oven does not work, but it works a little bit, so there is a slice of pizza in there being reheated currently and taking a long time.

Like drawings? You got it. This is a lost classic from deep down in the Pictures folder.

I'm almost done with The Crying of Lot 49; I think I would have loved this book ten years ago when I thought joke names and novels where everything in it was basically supposed to be a joke were the coolest ever. But now, I yearn for something sweeter and simpler. Like Jonathan Richman, I plead for tenderness.


Senor Misterioso said...

What makes "The Crying of Lot 49" isn't the joke names but that amazing choice Oedipa has to make at the end between viewing the world through the prism of conspiracy or rejecting that way of being... Still one of my favorite books.

Dusty said...

Yeah, agreed with Senor Misterioso. I first read this the summer after my freshman year of college and loved it because it was "weird" and "postmodern" and "hilarious" and then I decided to teach it last year because I figured my underclassmen students would love it.

But then I also loved it, still. I think because I saw all the things that were sad in it. Like this (forgiveness, please, if you haven't got here yet):

"Perhaps she'd be hounded someday as far as joining Tristero itself, if it existed, in its twilight, its aloofness, its waiting. The waiting above all; if not for another set of possibilities to replace those that had conditioned the land to accept any San Narciso among its most tender flesh without a reflex or cry, then at least, at the very least, waiting for a symmetry of choices to break down, to go skew. She had heard all about excluded middles; they were bad shit, to be avoided; and how had it ever happened here, with the chances once so good for diversity? For now it was like walking among matrices of a great digital computer, the zeroes and ones twinned above, hanging like balanced mobiles right and left, ahead, thick, maybe endless. Behind the hieroglyphic streets there would be either a transcendent meaning, or only the earth."

It's the sentences, in the end. And, oh, Oedipa's trapped loneliness.

She could be a J. Richman heroine, I think.

Amanda said...

I read the last 20 pages or so on the subway tonight and, as I did, was like, "This is poignant now. Have I just not been paying attention?" I maintain that I was, but something happened along the way to make me stop thinking of Oedipa as a real person (I was with her at the beginning, up until around the play performance). A lot of the social satire and satirical language, I just didn't think was funny or on-target.

Still -- Dusty, I agree that the sentences are beautiful and signify the loneliness and paranoia they are supposed to. The whole work is so sprawling, does so much work in a short space. Sorry if that sounds like backpedaling, but I did have a weird sense of "oh man, I am feeling something again now and maybe have been wrong about this" right at the end. All men are just tender souls, so be glad you know.

Lawrence said...

There is something a little bit sad about books that you once loved, but subsequently outgrew. Did you ever read the Illuminatus trilogy? (Same-ish idea as Lot 49, very long and silly hairy dog story). I recently tried to reread Catch 22 and COULDN'T. And that was a book that helped get me through high school. Sometimes I think it's best not to try and revist old favorites. There are movies I once loved that I refuse to watch again because I have a strong feeling that seeing them from a grown-up perspective would RUIN them.