". . . But the past does not exist independently from the present. Indeed, the past is only past because there is a present, just as I can point to something over there only because I am here. But nothing is inherently over there or here. In that sense, the past has no content. The past -- or more accurately, pastness -- is a position. Thus, in no way can we identify the past as past." p. 15

". . . But we may want to keep in mind that deeds and words are not as distinguishable as often we presume. History does not belong only to its narrators, professional or amateur. While some of us debate what history is or was, others take it into their own hands." p. 153

Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History (1995) by Michel-Rolph Trouillot

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Learning the Craft From the Greats Gone Before + Weather

      . . . . In a sense this is a follow-up comment to the observations concerning Anthony Horowitz's Hawthorne and Horowitz mystery/crime series, and Andrea Camelleri's final novel in his very long Comissario Montalbano series, writers teaching writers how to write.

     . . . . Iconic US author Joan Didion passed away December 23, 2021, of Parkinson's and being 87. Since the announcement, I've been pondering her work, which, if it were music, could justifiably be said was a soundtrack to the years I have observed play out in this same nation her fiction recorded.  Perhaps not the only soundtrack -- there's the entire playbook of alternative soundtracks from out of Spanish and African heritage people handling things differently, but Didion's was the one that underscored the major themes of violence, cruelty, lies, isolation, betrayed hope and refusal of responsibility -- our national white, determination as white people since the Vietnam War, to never grow up, to remain forever immature, and expect every wish to be instantly gratified, that there won't be consequences for selfish harms inflicted upon others, even the planet -- and above all, our national god given right to be FAAAAAAYMOUS! Most of all, our national delusion that WE/ME can never die.

 In many ways, I feel, she was the real and only inheritor of Hemingway’s mantle, the only American writer who understood his diction, his syntax, his rhythms, how and why he used them. She was able to make that authentically her own too, through diligent, brilliant, long study and practice.  She, being she, wasn’t distracted by the bs of the masculinity cult, of winning and losing, as were other writers -- not surprisingly, all male -- who were determined to wrest Hemingway’s mantle for themselves, such as Norman Mailer.

For which, it seems, there were women who wrote, who would forever resent Didion (ironically, quoted in The New Yorker, for which both did write):

“Ridiculously swank,” Pauline Kael described the novel “Play It as It Lays.” “I read it between bouts of disbelieving giggles.”


Anthony Perkins, Tuesday Weld, Play It As It Lays (1972)

But yet, dear Pauline, no book of yours was adapted for your beloved films, and nobody ever asked you to write a script.

Alas, though, you both died of Parkinson's.  RIP, both of you.


     . . . . Why, yes, it is January.  All month.  A nasty weather wise, which is the normal for NYC,  health wise, where once ya, flu and colds, but now, holy cow Omicron in combination with an utter idiot as NYC's mayor -- can you believe I am missing Bill de Blasio???????-- psychologically-wise, utterly despairing, as tomorrow is the first anniversary of the first all-out violent coup attempt, with many more being planned.

I did manage to get myself out today, early, to Trader Joe's for certain essentials, and then to the library to pick up Holds.  This despite the rain.  At least today the bitter cold is in abeyance, though it is scheduled to return even more bitter, after the Maybe Snow here Thursday night - Friday morning.  Good to have the milk, eggs and sour dough bread here already, as the already borked supply lines and deliveries have been further borked by the Big Snow that happened in and around D.C.    That TJ's sliced sour dough makes the best toast!

Well back to fund-raising planning for Tierra Sagrada.

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