A thought for the coming year

Every day we slaughter our finest impulses. That is why we get a heartache when we read those lines written by the hand of a master and recognize them as our own, as the tender shoots which we stifled because we lacked the faith to believe in our own powers, our own criterion of truth and beauty. Every man, when he gets quiet, when he becomes desperately honest with himself, is capable of uttering profound truths. We all derive from the same source. There is no mystery about the origin of things. We are all part of creation, all kings, all poets, all musicians; we have only to open up, only to discover what is already there. -Henry Miller


Spotted: Blue Nights

In Blue Nights, author Joan Didion attempts to address the relationship with her adopted daughter (and only child) as well as the latter’s passing in 2005.   It was also in 2005 that Didion’s first book, The Year of Magical Thinking, was published.  In that tome, Didion discussed and dealt with the death of her husband.

It’s some pretty heavy stuff this young lady is reading.  I hesitated posting about this book, given that we are in the midst of the holidays.  But for me, and I imagine for many of you out there who have also lost close family members, the holidays bring a certain sadness.  I enjoy the holidays, and the love and cheer that I share with those I am lucky enough to have around me, but it will always be enjoyed as a layer on top of a Higgs field of nostalgia.

“We all survive more than we think we can,” Didion says of living on after the deaths of her loved ones. “We imagine things — that we wouldn’t be able to survive, but in fact, we do survive. … We have no choice, so we do it.”

I would just add that I think we do more than just survive.  We learn to cherish our memories, but (need to) learn to love the new and the different.  So it is on that note that I am going to go home and spend Christmas with my mother and her new boyfriend WITH AN OPEN MIND AND/OR OPEN BOTTLE OF WINE.

Sorrowful “Blue Nights:” Didion Mourns Her Daughter [NPR]


Spotted: The Hunger Games

by Suzanne Collins.  Good timing too, since someone was just telling me about this book (these books-this is the first of a series) at a party not too long ago.  He told me that the title comes from an event that takes place in the post-apocalyptic story itself: namely, an annual televised event wherein the government chooses a boy and girl from each of the 12 districts of the city for a televised battle in which only one person can survive.

I told him it sounded like the plot from the old Schwarzenegger flick Running Man*

So Muni riders, is this a good read?  According to wikipedia Hunger Games  is a young adult novel.  Damn, what happened to Judy Blume?!

* Running Man the movie is apparently based on a novel by Stephen King with the same name.  Huh.  No kidding.