A fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiment...moreA fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiments. In this work, Steinbeck created a new genre: the play/novelette. '"The work I am doing now," he wrote to his agents in April 1936, "is neither a novel nor a play but it is a kind of playable novel. Written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands. It wouldn't be like other plays since it does not follow the formal acts but uses the chapters for curtains. Descriptions can be used for stage directions... Plays are hard to read so this will make both a novel and play as it stands." Anticipating postmodernists, Steinbeck was to declare wtih greater and greater frequency in the late 1930s and '40s that the novel was dead, whereas theater was "waking up," was fresh and challenging.' And in fact, he sent it to his publishers in late summer of 1936; it was published on February 25, 1937 (for $2 per copy); was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in March; was performed as written by Theater Union of San Francisco with an opening on May 21, 1937; then performed as a modified version at Music Box Theater in New York opening November 23, 1937; and released as a film in 1939. It was very controversial, banned in Australia in 1940; one of the most frequently banned books by school board over the years. '"The first few pages so nauseated me," wrote the reviewer for 'The Catholic World,' "That I couldn't bear to keep it in my room over night."' "Morbid and degenerate" content was why another showing of it was condemned. And the reason for all the hoo-ha? The truth of it. The hopelessness and loneliness of the group of people Steinbeck gives life to - the landless white male agricultural workers of the 1930's. Also, he used actual dialect which was still new back then. Included in the dialect is racist language in use back then, as his characters would not have been honest without it. Probably some bannings were due simply to the use of the 'n' word, although most programs that use it now include context for that which is a response to it that contains the intended respect while also containing discussion that can be so useful to unlearning racism. Another interesting content item about race is a momentary scene in which a white woman brings to the attention of a black man her ability to get him lynched. It's brutal, and then it's over and the action continues and it fades into unimportance - all of which serves as a reminder of our shared history festering with racism; and how far we as a country have come. (i'm adding that scene to quotes for this book). It's a very quick read for all that, and very enjoyable actually just for the intensity of description. This felt to me like one of those quick-action films, only the super-short scenes are ones you create in your own mind, as written by Steinbeck. Somehow he packs in vivid visual content and well-drawn characters in an almost poetically pithy writing style. Highly recommend.(less)
Just came upon this and it drew me in for a re-read.. with a vague reminiscence..
Then, 20 pages in, it's clear: This is the one! This is the book with...moreJust came upon this and it drew me in for a re-read.. with a vague reminiscence..
Then, 20 pages in, it's clear: This is the one! This is the book with the depiction of the woman who is homeless, but who copes with it for years, working as a cleaning women, keeping her homelessness secret. Never getting foodstamps even, never getting housing assistance, her kids don't care much, her ex-husband really doesn't care, no human contact; wear lipstick always, many other daily rules to 'pass' for normal (with home). Something quietly nerve-wracking about that character, has kind of haunted me ever since.
This was written in '94, with no huge big recession in sight, a time of 'prosperity' here. In this way, this work is historical, as it captures perfectly the class divide in this country during 'good' times.
Also, have to say, the pictures of marriages in this book had their effect on me as well; when the first ended, didn't ever become a goal to quick - get married again!! Hurry! Not. Rather be alone than in a bad marriage (of any kind), and the thinkings these women go through (especially Lelia, the 'happiest' of the 3) has continued to create a level of contentment in my life as it is. Until a clear situation presents itself..
Through it all, Marge's tough-to-read-at-times tones and nuances, but I like her level of detail, so it's all just fine.
Reading this again now is like purging fibrous fear-tumors from my psyche.. Seeing the words on the page that have resonated since last time, coupled with my actual situation today, burn away these accumulations.. have been watching this show that I'd seen as a young child, that I think scared me, burning that away as well. Spring cleaning!
Anyway, here's one of those sentences:
"Her life was always about to tip over like a precarious pile of crockery she must keep balanced." Can so relate.
And the parts with Mary, the main character who's homeless, talking with Beverly who's also homeless (at only her mid-40's) and was attacked, in the hospital, also clang with an especially metallic air:
"although Mary felt their lives had been so different when they were both 'inside the fold' to use Beverly's phrase, that she was never sure what Beverly pictured. 'Sometimes,' she said to Beverly, 'when I'm talking about Cindy or Jaime or my ex-husband, suddenly I feel as if I'm telling you about some woman I work for, or as if I made it all up. It's so far away. Do you ever feel that way?" "'She hates to think about her life before. (Beverly only speaks of herself in the 3rd person) If she does, she gets mad. Then all she can do is mutter and kick the curb, and then she looks even crazier.' Beverly gave that gaunt gap-toothed grin."(less)
Ok, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichol...moreOk, I didn't *read* this, but plays are meant to be seen, not read. And I saw it - well, not the play, but the uber-excellent film made my Mike Nichols with Meryl Streep and everyone. Very luscious. I saw it again last week, while home sick. I'd been wanting to see it, as Tony Kushner is here opening a new work and having stagings of multiple prior works. It's all Kushner, all the time. It's wonderful. So, in case I get to fit in any of the performances, I wanted to see this of his again. And this time, I knew what to expect more. It didn't overwhelm me nearly as much. In fact, I was prepared to be overwhelmed, and I wasn't. It was almost like a micro-experience. Scenes I'd remembered as going on forever seemed very short. Speaks to the effect of surprise on one's viewing experience, I guess. But back to the words of it and all - in a review of one of his plays here, a reviewer used the word 'Proclamatory' to describe it. I was so relieved. That's how I'd felt about it, but hadn't known how to describe it. But that's exactly it. Not that there isn't a plot, and characters, and forward motion (on so many levels), but much of the action and dialogue and monologues do, in fact, proclaim. And, more in keeping with my prior reaction, much of it felt beyond my grasp. I mean, I just couldn't gain traction with parts of it. Much about America, and Freedom, and Love, and whatnot. Tony said things, and I couldn't disagree or agree, or even nod my head. There were collections of words I just couldn't add up the meanings to. One small example: A death, a request to forgive, a refusal to forgive, a suggestion that: perhaps forgiveness is where justice and love meet. Ok, I know what all those words mean, but, the sum of them in that organization, I can't get there. 'Where love and justice meet' - they meet? They're normally separate? Like parallel lines? Only, in forgiveness, these parallel lines cross? Or, the personal (love) separate from the public (justice).....?? Or love between people, justice for those who've done wrong...love prevents justice (lack of forgiveness) or love and justice as two different effects, meeting in the choice of forgiveness perhaps. A big part of my experience was that I wasn't all there, recovering from a sleepless night due to episodic illness. So, thinking powers were reduced. Clearly, causing me to miss whole impacts of this rich, essential work. Much of it still delighted me and was very wonderful. The part about how God does change - perfect. Lou's reaction to Joe's professional work, Mother Pitt about disappointment, Ethel Rosenberg's reaction with her eyes to one thing Roy Cohn says, the Rabbi's initial speech. That initial speech at the funeral alone is priceless, about immigrants and what they brought with them to the US. I tear up just thinking about it. Harper's piece towards the end about how nothing is lost, nothing is in vain; that too. How Belize gets the first few bottles of AZT from Roy fascinates. Mother Pitt is so awesome. Joe's perfect... what.. insanity? And such a great look at conservatism, and race in the US, and how the gay community dealt with the AIDS crisis as it hit, and the price paid by women married to closeted gay men almost most of it; except so much of the rest is also very fully related. But all of Lou's ramblings go past me - and I think some of them are supposed to, but that I'm also missing some. Next time I see it, with my faculties all in place, hopefully will gain entire additional meanings. My advice to you: see it when you're at your best, to gain the most from it.(less)
Aha! Just from the first few pages, it's not 100% as bleak at the end as the movie. Excellent..
After Brokeback, I'm going to hopefully read the rest a...moreAha! Just from the first few pages, it's not 100% as bleak at the end as the movie. Excellent..
After Brokeback, I'm going to hopefully read the rest according to publication date. Looks like my library has copies of all of it.
Anyway, this was a delight to read. Completely fascinating the scenes and dialogue that was picked right up off the page and used in the film. And I feel better now about the ending; although it some ways it's worse - knowing all that Ennis continues to muse over. That he continues to feel great pleasure and love from it; but also re-imagines Jack's death as well. So awful.
Until society moves beyond each hatred though, it is necessary to see it.
Kudos to her for bringing it so vividly real!(less)
Great film. After my daughter finished reading this, we watched the film again (my 2nd time, her 3rd) and she pointed out all the differences. Not -al...moreGreat film. After my daughter finished reading this, we watched the film again (my 2nd time, her 3rd) and she pointed out all the differences. Not -all- of them, from what I understand. But anyway she really likes both, and thinks the book is better but the changes made for the film were reasonable given how different films are from books, etc.. So now I get to, so we can continue our conversations about it all. I feel like the values inherent in it - on drinking; lgbt aware/friendly; and very human as far as sex - are great. And besides that the film is a lot of fun visually, as they bounce around Manhattan in these beat-up motoring items and bop around in bars and have emotional DRAMA etc.. there's humor, lots of music-love, people being actual selves, and a love story. Very fun, and to enjoy this with my teenage daughter and share the experience with her is good.
After: I really liked it. Can't imagine having experiences like that when I was a teenager, my life was so different. And hopefully my daughter won't have very many nights exactly like that during these next two years either, but I'm just happy to read about relationships being like that and guys being like Nick and all. Gives me optimism for the future. (less)
We caught this at a store around the time or soon after my daughter was learning about the Underground Railroad in school - so was excellent. The pict...moreWe caught this at a store around the time or soon after my daughter was learning about the Underground Railroad in school - so was excellent. The pictures are awesome, and I believe this one has allusions to the African-American theme of flying out of safety. It's a poignant mix of powerful/powerlessness; fear and safety; grief and joy. Highly recommend.(less)
This is a book of great photographs paired to quotes. Printed in 1970, it is clearly constructed from the mindset of 'men do, women are seen & fel...moreThis is a book of great photographs paired to quotes. Printed in 1970, it is clearly constructed from the mindset of 'men do, women are seen & felt & experienced.. then they become mothers and thereby sacred' - the dichotomies are actually quite severe (both between women and men and between mothers and non-mothers. I think it was something I always just understood to be 'before' the Women's Movement.
Ok, now here are some actual quotes:
'Men always want to be a women's first love; women have a more subtle instinct: what they like is to be a man's last romance.' Oscar Wilde
'Flirting: Attention with Intention.' Max O'Reill
'Not to go to the theater is like making one's toilet without a mirror.' Arthur Schopenhauer
'History is philosophy teaching by examples.' Dionysius of Halicarnassus
'There's only one pretty child in the world, and every mother has it.' Chinese proverb (with *great* photo, perfect for that)
'There mustn't be any more war. It disturbs too many people.' 1917 - An old French peasant woman to Aristide Briand.
'Suppose you go to war, you cannot fight always; and when, after much loss on both sides, and no gain on either, you cease fighting, the identical old questions as to terms of intercourse are again upon you.' Abraham Lincoln.
'Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear.' -Mark Twain (with a photo of a women holding a candle and forging bravely into the darkness, so that's something).
'There are no fools so troubling as those who have wit.' La Rochefoucauld (and the photo is great, the feet of someone sitting cross-legged, and the uppermost foot has a loafer-type shoe, where the sole is separated from the rest of the shoe in front... and the front part (the gap between the two) has a nice row of paper teeth inserted.. looks like the shoe is laughing.)(less)
I really liked this, it's another of my favorites of hers. The descriptions of some of the interactions are so immediate and real, they still stay wit...moreI really liked this, it's another of my favorites of hers. The descriptions of some of the interactions are so immediate and real, they still stay with me. Like when there is news the she wants to tell her partner, but she wants to do it privately, and he keeps saying (in a room with people around): "Just tell me!" There's struggle and conflict, but also a certain pervading quiet joy that is very reassuring.(less)
This is a great, big, glorious book about our great, big, glorious Minnesota State Fair. Worthy of love and distaste and annoyance and adoration and a...moreThis is a great, big, glorious book about our great, big, glorious Minnesota State Fair. Worthy of love and distaste and annoyance and adoration and aggravation and extensive optimizing strategies and avoidance at all cost. Forward by dear beloved Garrison Keiller, Who I'm going to quote here: '5 reasons.. # 4 of which is: to eat food we've been warned against and build up fat for the winter, and # 5 is: to be in a crowd. No. 5 is the crucial motive (this is Garrison still). We live insular lives, working in cubicles, riding around in cars, hanging out with people a lot like ourselves, and the fair is where you get to see, at long last, who else lives in Minnesota other than you and your family. ... list of activities.. and where else can you do this in Minnesota? We're shy and introspective people, wary of strangers and skittish about body contact, and the State Fair is where you go to try to get over that." Ha! We beat Garrison! He says he took his daughter when she was 19 months, to make her officially a Minnesotan. We took ours when she was just 4 months! Two hours, got home, exhausted. Learning to be the one with the baby carriage in everyone's way, fascinating. Anyway, she's been there every year, and so should all the rest of you out there. Non-Minnesotan's welcome! Anyway, back to the book (I'm only on page x so far)- since it started in 1854, it's only been cancelled 5 times. 1862 and 1863 due to the Civil War and the Dakota Indian conflict (which is a whole 'nother story, lots to absorb about that and become better about), 1893 to participate in the World's Columbian exhibition in Chicago, 1945 to conserve fuel for World War II and 1946 due to the polio epidemic. This book is picture-rich, lots of photos and maps and posterrs and pass gate tickets throughout; with a great deal of informative text as well. Covers the extensive agricultural aspects - one of the main features of this state until not that long ago. "Minneapolis Moline Tractors and Farm Machinery - "BUILT TO DO THE WORK" " The past glories of the demolition derby, the speedtrack; and the everpresent entertainment, school marching bands, and animals of course, the midway, the games of chance and skill, and the vast exhibition options (which my daughter participated in last year as well) of everything from grown food to baked food to crafted items to arts to I-don't-know-what-else. Oh yes, the food convenience items and cooking demonstrations - can't forget those! And finally, speaking of food, some pictures and notes about long-standing food booths and sit-down places, those run by various religious organizations and those of all other kinds. This fine piece of literature ends with (what else?) recipes! Everything from Spampenadas (2004) and Grandstand Spam to Zangy Zucchini Squares, Cheese Crisps, Spiced Pecans, State Fair Orange Bread, Trailway Pumpkin Bread, Blueberry Tea Cake, Ceresota Scotch Scones, Ham and Cheese Puffs, Pear and Almond Bread, Lizzie's Cream Muffins, Easy Old-Fashioned Cinnamon Rolls, Corn Pudding with Chives, Onion Pie, Potato Cheese Scallop, Home Baked Beans, Spinach Au Gratin, Curried Chicken, Trout Sauteed with Bacon, Smothered Pheasant or Grouse, Sour Cream Lamb Stew, Venison Collops, Hungarian Goulash, Beef Brisket with Onion Sauce, Sweet and Sour Pork, Split Pea Soup, Classic Wild Rice Soup, Sunflower Cookies, Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Icing, Zucchini Fudge Cake, and a personal favorite: Pineapple Upside Down Cake. And much, much more. The amount of art throughout is really wonderful. And, there's an index. Uff-da!(less)
I was assigned this during my later (of only a few years) German language class.. read it and re-read it and re-read it. To have such a play as this b...moreI was assigned this during my later (of only a few years) German language class.. read it and re-read it and re-read it. To have such a play as this be used for such a purpose is - some would say - twisted; but we contextualized it and it was great. I really have a fondness for it, both for itself and for the journey that I went through with it. It's basically that one piece of German literature which I actually understand - in German! A treasure..(less)
Here's a list: 1903: Theodore Roosevelt 'You can not improve on it, leave it as it is' 1933: FDR 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself' 1939: G...moreHere's a list: 1903: Theodore Roosevelt 'You can not improve on it, leave it as it is' 1933: FDR 'the only thing we have to fear is fear itself' 1939: Gehrig 'luckiest man on the face of the earth' 1940: Churchill 'blood, toil, tears and sweat' 1945: MacArthur 'the entire world is quietly at peace' 1945: Einstein 'war is won, but peace is not' 1948: Eleanor Roosevelt 'international magna carta of all men everywhere' 1963: JFK 'ich bin ein berliner' 1963: MLK, Jr 'I have a dream' 1964: Goldwater 'extremism in defense of liberty is no vice' 1968: Bobby Kennedy 'some men see things as they are ....' 1974: Barbara Jordan 'my faith in the constitution...' 1979: Sadat 'let there be no more wars' 1984: Cuomo 'there is despair, Mr. President' 1986: Reagan - address after Challenge disaster 1989: Tenzin Gyatso, 14th Dalai Lamai 'a universal responsibility' 1993: Rabin 'enough of blood and tears. enough' 1997: eulogy for Princess Diana 1941, 2001: FDR & GWB - days of infamy(less)