For the last couple of days, it's been bothering me that my mostly negative review of Oliver Stone's Savages has led the charge on this blog. Such nonsense keeps me awake at night. A little obsessive-compulsive I guess, but that fact doesn't make it any easier to tolerate.
Best to address the issue by posting art from a book I love, have loved, will love forever, Jonathan Carroll's The Land of Laughs. Not only are the words inside completely hypnotic and entirely magical, but this art is the stuff of dreams (and nightmares) for me.
When I was a kid, I dreampt frequently about being chased by a little man with a triangular head. Mr. Triangle never managed to catch me (if he had, I probably wouldn't be writing this!), but he had a tenacity about him that scared me silly, and made me afraid to close my eyes. Most of the time, he was waiting for me in the area of the yard we called the sideway. The sideway, which was beside the house (obviously), was an enclosed space reserved for money-producing hobbies such as collecting empty beer bottles, collecting old newspapers, and stashing black and white pictures of breasts and vaginas (with that hobby I din't make jack) I wouldn't stash them openly up the sideway; I'd slip them under an abandoned lawn mower that my father kept in an asbestos shed. Now and then, the lawn mower would become the focus of my father's tools. Half an hour after that, I'd become the focus of some harsh questions.
In my dreams, Triangle lurked behind my rows of beer bottles, his oily eyes tracking me as I entered the area with a fresh wheelbarrow full of bottles. Usually, he wouldn't wait for me to stack them. Nope, the cunt would jump out and take after me like a locomotive. I'd scramble for the fence and swing myself over it, his face and its bad breath just inches from my heels. The chase would take up most of my night's sleep, or so it seemed, and when I'd finally snap awake, I'd be elated to discover that I was dreaming.
The ice cream-eating Mr. Triangle on the cover of the Ace edition of Carroll's novel doesn't look like he'd come after me. He looks friendly. Hell, I'd love to eat an ice cream with him.
If you haven't read the book, I envy you your first time.
Another fantastic read is Marcel Pagnol's My Father's Glory and My Mother's Castle. Both were made into beautiful movies, and both capture growing up at a particular time in a very particular place. Pagnol's childhood was no Angela's Ashes, so don't expect beatings, Catholic guilt, poverty, and brutal father figures. But do expect a superb tome that captures the magic of childhood adventure, the special gift we call friendship, and the disappointment of discovering that those you most admire are human just like you.
Read the books, see the movies, or see the movies, read the books. You can't go wrong with these exceptional poems to joy. Joy doesn't always live long, but when we experience it, we're grateful it stopped by.