David Lynch and the Yule? Sure.
I managed to find the quiet to watch The Straight Story,
an interesting David Lynch movie. I want to talk
a little about it but I don't in any way want to review
it. I don't care what you will think (or thought) of The
Straight Story. But I was moved immensely by it, just
so you know. And what I loved about it . . . How can I tell
you when I see a patch of moss in the woods, close-up, and
the myriad colors there, and then move to touch it,
how do I push that experience into your lap and make you
feel something that's like knowing something? (Remember the
blind guy and what happens in that great Carver story,
"Cathedral"?) Maybe I just shouldn't say anything.
At some point I can write a line about it, the way the moss left
an "imprint of its tiny hands on her bare back," for instance,
or I can tell someone all about it--the movie, the moss--but
there's no way of communicating what I mean precisely enough.
Which is why someone who knows me vaguely might turn
to you and ask, "Isn't that Lee guy--you know, the fish dude--isn't
he, like, bi-polar?" Because sometimes I try too hard. The Lynch
movie did such a good job of framing the world. All those middle
distances and long landscape shots. Another crackling fire. Weather,
the corn, the small burning house, the deer hit by a car. Nothing
hyperbolic anywhere in sight, a necklace of colorful jewels tucked
back inside the fabric of remembering the slow-moving, often
surreal world. Then: Richard Farnsworth's watery eyes. In many
ways the film reminded me of Erasurehead--the timing, the
texturing. I rode a bicycle through that part of Wisconsin once,
and was there more recently, Anderson and Maiden Rock, as L.
recalls. It's a landscape I can't shake. I remember enjoying
The Bridges of Madison County (the movie) for the same reason,
but not as much as I did this, this Straight Story. Farnsworth's
lawnmower dies, on one of those omnipresent dirt roads so common
to the region, just short of his destination. But he gets there, and
sits there with his brother. There's no line to write for the actors
at this point. On the script it could say They listen for a woodpecker
out in the woods. I also watched The Three Burials of Melquiades
Estrada, starring and directed by Tommy Lee Jones. A good
movie, but I'm not romantic about deserts or Mexico. TLJ is so
charismatic all I remember is his face and the way he can stand
in half a frame and you just want to see him move. Not the same
man who showed up for Men in Black.
I was pulled over for speeding on toll road 80/90 for the first
time yesterday, first time caught speeding in six years. 83
in a 70 and I was let off with a written-up warning. But then
that makes me remember the last time I was caught speeding
was on 9/11 (yes, THE 9/11). It was about two in the
afternoon, I was driving south, from Michigan's Upper Peninsula,
and the cop told me I'd better fill up on gas, pronto, before it hits
twenty bucks a gallon. Remember the sheer panic and
uncertainty anything could happen that day? He let me off with
a warning too, a non written-up warning. His way of being nice on
this day begining the War of the Worlds. By evening the price of
gas had halted. The Attorney General (Jennifer Granholm
at the time) threatened anyone caught gouging would be in serious trouble.
She was tougher sounding than that, I just can't recall the particulars.
Gas levelled off. We all, tentatively, began to laugh a little again the
next day. The world has been changed forever, everyone thought.
Yeah, right, and which reality show would you like for this evening's
crass entertainment. Can I say something that will make many
people angry (or they won't believe me). I still haven't watched
a reality show (unless you count football or CNN), but no Idol,
no Survivor, no Ozzy, no Fat Actress. And it's not
that they're beneath me, really. The just seem incredibly boring.