Friday, June 2, 2017

under interlude

Well, I just saw Wonder Woman. It was a solid movie, but falls under the usual strains of superhero fiction (and film in particular). I had a conversation with my friend after about how one problem with the film could be tied to a glorification of violence, but unfortunately that's par for the course with the genre and action films a bit more generally (and yet we both liked John Wick). It's a war movie with a woman who can stop bullets--it makes it a bit harder to make the film distinctly anti-war. There's some irony there since (spoiler) Wonder Woman literally kills the god of war in the film. Still, a good superhero movie with some particularly intriguing moments. I'm interested to see where this Wonder Woman/Batman romance or whatever it is goes in Justice League, but to be honest, I'm not all that invested in superhero movies. (I'm going to read some Dan Clowes tonight to distance myself from it. :P)

Pompo is a callback for me, all the way to middle school. The star of what eventually became a sort of play of its own, with a title like The Adventures of Abotay and Pompo. Something like that. It was wrapped up in in-jokes and memes (before we commonly called them "memes" if I recall correctly). The four other men that appear in this interlude (and from which the Anthropologist runs away screaming) are also a callback of several years. They are four writers who, in a series of stories I'll probably never write, created a fictional world that they then entered. One of them has the familiar nom de plume of Pandrio Androtti. One of them, like the Anthropologist I guess, is more or less dead. When I think of them, I think of the Nine Inch Nails song "The Four of Us Are Dying." I just learned that was an episode of the first season of The Twilight Zone when I looked up the song... That makes sense. I wondered how an instrumental had picked up such an evocative title.

Pompo's opening lines, which will be a bit hard to punctuate here, are a play on a line from my epic poem The Raineyiad written for a friend during the year after I graduated from college. As Pompo states, "'I am merely' are just words." The line should say something about how our negative, restraining thoughts are simply made up of words and do not matter more than any other words we might put together. The Anthropologist puns on this at the end of the interlude. I actually began a novel a couple of years ago (now abandoned), also including Carl... I think? Carl's father anyway... Called, fittingly enough, Negative Thinking, which was meant to harness the power that can result from negative thoughts--the main focus of the book would have been a man contemplating killing himself. I find myself thinking "I am merely" thoughts all the time, so it's important to have a way to overcome them, you know? Then again, Trent Reznor once locked himself in a room for three days with the intent of killing himself and walked out alive and with The Fragile, so let's not pretend I'm doing anything particularly impactful. Which Google isn't recognizing as a word. "Impactful"--weird.

As I think I wrote at the end of my last "under" post, this is my second try at the interlude--the focus on Adrienne Rich and the similarly named Adrianne Palicki simply results from my consideration of Pompo's opening thought: What if I were language? And I remembered Rich's poem about her lover as a poem. And I thought... Her name is Adrienne. And I looked it up and it was spelled a bit differently. This is why we do our research. Maybe the idea of dreaming of oneself as language is a bit odd, but it's something I've thought about before, especially when it comes to talking to people online (or writing extensively on a blog!). A friend and I were discussing film commentaries a day or so ago and I said "they're podcasts with movies on in the background"--talk radio and podcasts and all that could be another way that we view people as language, but I was definitely thinking written rather than spoken language. Anyway, I wanted to compare it to a bit of beautiful poetry that captures a similar idea in a less writerly focused way, from Modest Mouse's "Blame It On The Tetons":

           Everyone's a building burning
           With no one to put the fire out.
           Standing at the window looking out,
           Waiting for time to burn us down.
           Everyone's an ocean drowning,
           With no one really to show how.
           They might get a little better air,
           If they turned themselves into a cloud.

Language is a delightful object. You can fall in love with (someone through) a book, like Anne Carson's Eros, the Bittersweet. But ultimately, the idea of becoming language is escapist, like becoming a cloud as a way to solve your problems. This is how I interpret a repeated refrain in Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club, a wish for and delight in people becoming objects, not in a capitalist sense, but mostly in a you're dead and now a corpse sense. But back to clouds, Mark Antony in a much better play, Antony and Cleopatra, speaking of the clouds in connection with himself:

           My good knave Eros, now thy captain is
           Even such a body: here I am Antony:
           Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my knave.

He can't continue to be this person he's been. He doesn't know what he is or how to be himself. It's a poetic rendering of how I felt when a good friend of mine said that I loved conflict. During arguments with my father. What if I were a cloud, constantly moving, changing, like language as it moves through different readers' eyes. But we aren't. And neither is Wonder Woman. That was the point of this interlude--that in creating her, in drawing her, she becomes something less than the idea of her. The idea of her, this makes me think of Nabokov's The Original of Laura, though I don't know why. The idea of her being greater than any representation of her. Mimesis. Ha! Another non-word, according to Google. Mimesis, the idea better than any representation. The fucking forms! And I thought I hated Plato! I might as well run screaming from the theatre myself!

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