There is a point when I’m working on something new when I can’t experience anything without seeing it through the lens of what I need for the new thing. I’m not going to talk about the new thing yet, probably not for a long long time. But here are a few items currently jostling together in my brain to influence it:
The movie Boy. Not just the film itself, which is fantastic, but experiencing it as part of the Portland International Film Festival. It was my first time at PIFF, seeing a whole new community of people serious about an art form, and they’ve been here all along, right in my town.
The Happiness Myth by Jennifer Michael Hecht.
In this book Hecht helps us out of the stew of cultural assumptions we spend our lives cooking in, explains various ingredients in the broth, and shows some ways our particular stew differs from recipes prevalent in other places and times. The reader stands refreshed and dripping. The book is frequently funny and profoundly smart.
The audiobook of True Grit, as read by Donna Tartt. No, I haven’t yet seen the Coen Brothers movie. Right now I’m just falling into the voice; both the narrative voice, Mattie Ross as created by Charles Portis, and Donna Tartt’s very effective rendering thereof. A whole worldview, concisely and amusingly evoked.
And since I saw them a few weeks back, I can’t stop listening to The Handsome Family, whose music brilliantly combines doleful and joyful. I don’t know how they do it but I’m very glad they do.