30 April 2015 § 2 Comments
hey you. what’s it like over there, on the other side of that chasm?
i can still throw a rock across it, it’s so close, right behind me.
i’m hesitating to sharpen my knife. taking it slow. listening to the rough shine slif of steel over stone.
as if metaphors help, now.
thanks for reading, all of you. it’s time for me to move on from Structured Roots, this disorganized mess of a blog that has commanded so much of my attention over the years. and so little.
it’s publishing practice, right? a way to keep up with the modern world. well. a few months before I signed up on wordpress and started this site in 2009, i left all the tech of the audio engineering world behind because it seemed to me that i was caught up in the electrical currents, addicted to the jolt of plugging into guitar amplifiers, recording studio parties, and emotional self-destruction. i wasn’t where i needed to be, no matter how bad i thought i wanted to be where i was, to have what i had. so i left. took off traveling, poking around the world. i started writing here because it offered an ultralight journal option, and let those who wanted to know where i was that, for better or worse, i was still kicking rocks.
part escapism, part searching for my Self (as privileged white americans such as myself are wont to do), and part looking for home (knowledge, often, of the less-privileged), the journey brought me full circle: my only home is me. so i watched, listened, smelled, tasted, sensed, and felt myself for something to hold onto: other people emerged as non-options for my attachment. when they were options, i pushed them away.
i continue to. i am, now. pushing you, subscribers and wordpressers and interwebbed peoplebots away. if having a cultish twitter/tumblr/instafacepress following is the road to success as a writer today, i decline the pursuit. thank you for your following. neither of us need our roots to be structured; let them seek nourishment where and how they may,
here’s to you.
26 April 2015 § Leave a comment
Patrick Ness’ novel The Crane Wife leveled me completely. I practiced putting it down sometimes, that I wouldn’t get to the end too quickly. It reads like a fairy tale, features the kind of symbolism and irony I wished for in tenth grade English class. Maybe I just thought I understood it more than I understood The Scarlet Letter because I’m older now. Maybe it resonated me to near collapse every chapter or so because I’ve been in love, and this story is that story.
Close enough, anyway, that I was consoled by the humanity of Ness’ characters. The Crane Wife opens as George, the American London print shop owner, hears an odd sound in the middle of the night, and discovers a giant white bird with a giant arrow piercing its wing in his back yard. The next day, as he fiddles with a new art form, an enigmatic woman named Kumiko walks into his print shop and alters the course of George’s life with a little, innocent question and a lethal dose of calm. What follows is a middle-aged American-in-London’s path to freedom, and forgiveness. Which are, perhaps, as we find out later in the book, the same thing.
It is also a story of George’s daughter, Amanda, who despises everyone but her son and, rarely, her father. Through a surprisingly normal series of events—trouble getting along with co-workers, being left out of the loop about dad’s new girlfriend, sleeping regretfully with her ex-husband—Amanda begins to feel like she never has before. Tears, just below the surface. Unexpected blurting of intimate thoughts. Pushing others’ hot, hot buttons very, very hard.
George and the mysterious Kumiko collaborate on tile art that devastates everyone who sees it. Art people begin to offer ridiculous sums for the tiles, composed of feathers and cuttings from used books. As the worlds of George and his daughter Amanda start to overlap to no small degree, the reader may find himself in the back yard of his own logic.
Patrick Ness writes art and poetics into a self-aware, humorously critical narrative that is both seamless and timeless. With a small, dynamic cast, Ness shamelessly explores the confuzzled feelings that spark and sometimes erupt between two people regardless of who they think they are, or who they are to others.
I highly recommend The Crane Wife first to anyone who thinks they know what love is. More, to those who have been cast from it.