Friday, October 16, 2009

Ides Of October

Recently, besides listening compulsively to The Cramps, Siouxsie, and the Gun Club, I have seen two memorable movies, Carnival Of Souls and Jean Cocteau's Beauty And The Beast.

Both of which are perfect for Halloween viewing.

Both of which excel in sense of place, place as persona, as spirit, as monster, as beloved. Both feature lovely leading ladies who are tormented by yet strangely attracted to ghastly male callers, one in the form of a midway ghoul in a train conductor suit, the other as the aristocratic Beast with his star-flecked wizard cape jacket. Both feature enchanting, spirit-imbued locations that are as weirdly seductive as the two men who live within them.

Maybe I can write some creative essay about both of them?

In the meantime, thanks to a surreptitious encounter with legendary zine-writer Aaron Cometbus (he came into my bookstore wondering if we would sell his zine, Cometbus; of course we would!), I have delved back into my large copy of Despite Everything, A Cometbus Omnibus, a book I procured several Octobers ago, having wandered the city with a huge Cometbus fan who was as bundled in black as I was, and having autumnal thoughts for things like leaflets, trinkets, mementos, perhaps the afterthought of a cheap hotel hangover, we ducked into Needles And Pens and she convinced me to buy it, saying I would like it, that it was "large-hearted, enthusiastic writing, open to everything, in love with life", words to that effect. . .and I bought it along with some map pins which I've since lost.

Many Octobers ago when I discovered bands like The Fall and Television and The Gun Club.

Reading Cometbus is such a blissed-out vacation from the formulaic parade of cleanly-edited, neatly-arced stories about someone having a crisis, and then a revelation and then sustaining in his or her mind's eye a lingering image from his past that the reader is asked to appreciate as a sly summation of all the character's deepest desires. Of course those stories have their moments too, but sometimes you want the sloppy, honest, self-published, handwritten tangents.

Zine-writing is more like life-writing and I had forgotten that.

There is an elegant, slangy, generous spirit alive in Cometbus and I had neglected that and I had forgotten as well the larger zine-spirit and have wondered lately whether the spontaneity, spunk, and fury of zines can translate into blogs.

Hmmm, I suppose it depends on a lot of things.

Finally today I got a chance to visit Katy's grandparents' fruit orchard up in Martinez, CA where apparently John Muir spent lots of time. It was a beautiful place and I was reminded of Steinbeck's description of those rolling golden hills: pastures of heaven. Both of us have realizable fantasies of having an acre or two out there in some lovely rural place like Martinez.

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