And I intend to keep it that way.
Nothing personal, but I prefer The View From Here Now
The View's Here Now
For all you great good folk who's like to know: The View's Here
On My Way (Yesterday)
Wednesday. US Air Flight 4337. Seat 8 F. Hardly enough room for a last View, but room enough for me to see the end of a very ugly chapter in my so-called life. Goodbye Scranton. And goodbye Pennsylvania. We were decidedly not meant for each other.
The plane’s a twin-propped relic, straight outta Casablanca
, ala Earl
. As is the Scranton/Wilkes Barre International airport, without the mood or the funny. It’s also about the size of a suburban carport, only smaller.
One can only imagine where their international destinations lie.
In the air and face against the window. I haven’t seen sky from this height in forever. As you might suspect, the view down is an utter disappoint, unless you’re impressed by wasteland. Scarred nothingness, as if a devilish god came around, torched the ground, then sprinkled powdered sugar on everything before sitting down to sate. Of course once he got a taste of the place he probably spit it out. He sure as hell left a lot of nothing on the plate.
Au revoir, Scranton. We shall not meet again.
Philly International. At least it’s an airport. Unfortunately it’s also a victim of 21st c ninnyisms. In other words, no smoking, anywhere, not even in the bar. I’m not allowed a drink; at least let me have a cigarette.
There’s WiFi, but you gotta have an account or a credit card to log on, which kinda spoils the whole freeing of communication. Puts a damper on the bloggery too. The airing of it anyway. I guess getting back to Go Street is a good excuse to postpone a post.
And, Zeus-willing and Hood-be-doing, it’s the last excuse I’ll ever have to postpone anything. Wait as a mandate is no way to live, especially for one as impatient as I. From here on in there won’t be time for me even to listen for a knock -- I’m kicking the door in.
And with that I gotta thank each and every kind cool one of you for tuning in and enduring my pitted fits and dimwitted starts these past seven months. Knowing you were out there really made my dogged days. I'd also like to invite you all to therealjohnhood.com/bloggery, where I’ll be slingin’ a Hood’s-eye-view of a whole brave new wild world. Oh my View’s still gonna be skewed, it just won’t be skewed Scranton. Instead I’ll be skewing from a place where the visionary is unimpaired.
Let’s hope I keep seeing things.
(Bloggery begins tomorrow, 3/10.)
There are some remarkable stirrings that I dare not remark upon till they're absolutely finalized; meantime I share this, spurred my way by the great good Kretzschmar.
Dig in:Five TruthsNothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it "creative observation."
William Burroughs Symbolic Truth
The first truth is the symbol-word "Truth." The one spelled with a capital T. It is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. It is a thin veil of semantics used as a shield against reason, often raised in the defense of some ideologic somethingism. It is the blind truth, faith undeniable, the operating system of all religions.
It is that which attempts to rise above a simple grouping of alpha-numeric code, to shine in some god-granted light. It is an abstraction of an event or concept beyond any physical or perceivable reality.
This is the sovereign truth of all official histories. Our Truth
The second truth is the truth we tell ourselves. It is the limit of our perceptions, it is a filtering of reality which becomes our story. It is my side of it.
It is the facts we build lies on, the memories we cherish, the life we lead. It is our hopes, aspirations and dreams. It is life and death in the modern world.
The second truth is rarely true. Their Truth
The third truth is the truth they try to sell us. It is the same truth as number two but from different eyes. It is their side of the argument, seen through their history, their belief system.
Call it Propaganda if you want -- but it's still a truth. The Hidden Truth
The fourth truth is the truth you won't tell yourself. It's your hidden secrets -- compulsions, anxieties, fears -- the memories we can't edit. These are the dark truths that are the foundation of the underlying self, the controller, the rational voice in the daily dialog of momentary indecisions. The Final Truth
The fifth truth is the true truth, the absolute truth -- it is everything which is the truth is or could ever be.
The final truth is the fate of Universe itself. It is birth, life, death. It is the closing of a circle. It can only be experienced, never fully known.
The final truth is the most beautiful truth of all.
If the Hollywood set city-slicking of Peter Gunn
leaves me itchy for action, the actual urbanity of Jonathan Lethem
’s Motherless Brooklyn
has left me a miss more than leaving itself. The walk-and-talk, the candor, the quick. The “forest of skyscrapers.” The “thirsty face.“ Even a dimwit doorman leaves me aching for New York.
And laughing for air. His uber hero, the Tourettic Lionel Essrog, is a gas. Light heady and vapored. And his spill on the doofus garbage cop is priceless:
"In fact, I hated Loomis… [h]is imprecision and laziness maddened my compulsive instincts -- his patchiness, the way even his speech was riddled with drop-outs and glitches like a worn cassette, the way his leaden senses refused the world, his attention like a pinball rolling past unlit blinkers and frozen flippers into the hole again and again: game over
. He was permanently impressed by the most irrelevant banalities and impossible to impress with real novelty, meaning, or conflict. And he was too moronic to be properly self-loathing -- so it was my duty to loathe him instead."
How did I miss this book?
Another town. Another stain. This one a bit larger, milkier, muddier than the last just past. Greasy. Like the puddle left by a trashed vehicle that's sat for thirty years. Effulgent. Like the remains of a mottled corpse. It deserves a chalk-line but lacks the wherewithal even to note its own demise.
They call the stain Wilkes Barre and neither Wilkes nor Barre would approve of what it's become.
The town looks like someone came along and kicked the living shit out of it. With few exceptions, the buildings all have been capped at the knees. The few exceptions are entirely unexceptional. A Times Leader tower that shrubs. A Radisson that hedges. Something else that someone slow stopped at a sprout. Everything, everywhere, standing squat, stunted at birth, denied the necessary nutrients for growth.
The locals say that things were never the same after Hurricane Agnes hit in '72, when the levees broke and the water rose chest high. When hope ran away like so much silt. Mulch meat. Boo hoo. Leave it to the excuse-ridden to find an excuse for their own malaise, the die-slows to stick up for a town that won't stick up for itself. 33 years ago something wicked that way came, and they're still licking their wounds.
Let's hope the Big Easy won't play it so hard.
Chapter & Verse
Music is somehow both further up in the sky and deeper down in our bodies than the other arts.
Alec Hanley Bemis conducts a kickass tete-at-tete
with Rick Moody
, Jonathan Lethem
and John Darnielle
in this week’s LA Weekly
. If you dig music, if you dig books, and if you dig the points where they converge, this is a well-worth read.
Speaking of converging well-worthiness, The Mountain Goats have a version
's Trash that might just break your heart.
If you've got one.