Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Strangers with Etc.

I'm reading an interesting novel by Kim Edwards, an author who wrote the story I heard read by Holly Hunter at "Selected Shorts." The novel, "The Memory Keeper's Daughter," is quite good, but I am most impressed by her ability to carry a consistent thread of imagery throughout. Descriptions constantly include words like "soft," "white" and "light," all without being obtrusive. You just are lulled into this delicate world. That's a style I have tried to develop - a consistency in image which subtly carries the theme without slamming the reader over the head with intention.


Things are going better for Mom: her move is back on, neighbors have rallied around to help fix things enough to get the animals out, and the buyer visited and is hopefully making a reduced offer. The town is not so fortunate; only 15 miles away, it's on the Delaware River and much has been destroyed. There is talk of how much money to rebuild, and the nagging question seeps into the corners of my brain, afraid to be spoken out loud: Why? Isn't it about time to recognize that you built your little village too close to a temperamental water source? True, the last big flood was ten years ago, and the one before that nearly 50, but do you really want to gamble on another 50? And if you do, what then, in 50 years, for your children and grandchildren? I know, it's home, people have lived there their whole lives, I get that, but it seems somewhat futile. Of course I can be so cavalier because I lived there for just one year, and because of the many times we moved when I was growing up, I have no connection to any one place as "home." I've lived in this Brooklyn apartment for more than twice as long as any one place in my entire life.


On Sunday I saw "Strangers With Candy," a movie based on the former Comedy Central sitcom of the same name. I loved that show. And Amy Sedaris. She and Paul Dinello and Stephen Colbert wrote a book a few years ago called "Wigfield," about a small town and its crazy residents, and I went to a live reading by the three of them. It was really funny, and after I bought the book and waited on line for them to sign it. Amy saw the credit card receipt I'd stuck inside the cover and started teasing me - wrote "Rejected" on big letters on it. It was really funny at the time, although seems silly now. She also was selling her infamous cupcakes in the concession stand.

The film is perfect for fans of the tv show, because it's just a longer episode with the same blasphemous humor - or actually, without the constraints of basic cable, even more so. Sometimes movies based on tv skits fail because they take a thin concept and try to draw it out into a longer series of related actions and plot, but this movie takes a different approach. Instead of sending the main character on a journey across the U.S. to find her natural mother or some such outlandish (and out of character) two hour escapade, we simply spend more time in each of the scenes which could easily make up a standard thirty minute episode. The typical "After School Special" format is still there, and is still wonderfully turned upside down. I laughed, a lot, as did most of the audience I saw it with.


July 4th. Not sure what I'm doing today; I've done some light cleaning this weekend (could do more) and relaxed, and am hoping to get upstate tomorrow or Thursday. (All depends on Mom's move.) I just feel like lying in bed and reading all day. If that isn't asserting my independence, what is?


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