surfacing

on

Please excuse me while I bring this brief but important message…

…I forgot today was picture day at the daughter’s school and she is wearing a shrinking red logoed t-shirt and a wash-worn ruffled turquoise skort. I think she brushed her hair, but that never lasts. I didn’t remember until we were pulling up to the drop-off curb. All the other children looked so shiny and neatly dressed. The daughter said she didn’t mind. She looked convincing, even after I asked her the twelfth time…

okay, that wasn’t the message, just on my mind. Even though it figures, the daughter, though beautiful, does not have the best history with school pictures… except this time, the error was mine… new school, trying to make friends…

Today, I am posting to say, that I am not posting much of anything today.

I know that this isn’t the first time I have been heard saying, “What have I gotten myself into!” but I am saying it again.

I started Mark Z. Danielewski’s House of Leaves for the RIP V Challenge the other day (I think before the weekend). Good friend Kevin read it a couple years ago, and Sean just after, and both loved it. Sean recommended it for the challenge as I was browsing our shelves. Said it was pretty creepy–and it is. It is also a bit daunting.

As of last night (and not reading constantly) I was at 140 pages. House of Leaves is 528+ pages long. The + (running through page 709) is: a Foreword and Introduction (viix-xiii), Exhibits, 3 Appendices, an Index, and Credits, and something else I haven’t read but it occupies page 709 (the Table of Contents reads “Yggdrasil.” Yes, not much to it at all. Except it does not read like a regular book might. As of getting out the door this morning I am at 266 pages–several pages had just a few sentences if not only a few words–what a relief after the disorienting 50-page Chapter IX.

(a sampling of Chapter IX, where the subject of Labyrinths are explored.)

There is The Navidson Record written by Zampano. The Record is an exploration of a documentary-film about a family and their house and it is of academic proportions in that it has quotes and footnotes out the wazoo. Add to this Johnny Truant’s own writings as he is collecting and pasting together The Navidson Record which came to him in pieces (some bloody) in a black trunk left in a dead man’s apartment. Truant makes comments and tells stories of his own goings-on as the book progresses.

It takes a bit of getting used to, following the footnotes. Truant’s writings are mixed in with the footnotes and may themselves run pages long. And then the footnotes have footnotes… And then there are the suggestions to read huge chunks out of one of the appendices in the back.

You know how someone will say that a character was great; that their inclusion was vital and brilliantly told? You know how someone will like a character, but they’ve read all the way through so they are working from a vision of the whole? They’ve perhaps forgotten the tedium or repulsion nearer the beginning of the read. I am waiting for said forgetfulness where Truant is concerned. Really, I am ready to get beyond the detailed updates of every f*ed up sexcapade in which he finds himself. I do not presently doubt the vital inclusion of Truant as a character he is drawn to be.  I think the grittiness of the depiction is more than I care to stand. I admit that my tolerance is probably lower than most.

Alas, the story of the Navidson and the House on Ash Tree Lane is wonderful, as are the analytical portions relating to cinematic critiques, the science and myths of echoes, labrynths, growling sounds as resonances vs monsters, etc.

So I am going to get back to it… the rescue of Exploration #4 hasn’t been going so well. I need to see if anyone else doesn’t make it out alive.

***

oh… I remembered that brief message: The Local Library District does not have M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman! Someone had mentioned “October in the Chair,” a short story found in M and probably my favorite therein, and I thought maybe I would like to read it (and the others). But when I went to look: The Local Library District does not have M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman?!   {me: later: aha! so “October in the Chair” is also in Fragile Things and the Library has that book. Whew!}

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