No one is glamorously lonely ~ The Backstreet Boys, Song for the Unloved
[Alternate Backstreet Boys opening quotes: Loneliness has always been a friend of mine or Show me the meaning of being lonely.]
Before getting into my book reviews — my most highly anticipated blog series that nobody reads! — I’d like to mention that I’m doing a “Go Fund Me” to try and finish my M.A. If anybody wants to support me in that project, you can check out the link here. I appreciate any and all support.
Now then, on to the good stuff! In this post I explore: 6 Books (Separate Beds; Divine Honours For The Caesars; Paul; The Time That Remains; The Roman Empire; and The Man Without Qualities, Vol. 1); 1 Movie (Ikiru); and 3 Documentaries (Weiner; Man on Wire; and Dwarvenaut).
1. Separate Beds: A History of Indian Hospitals in Canada, 1920s-1980s by Maureen K. Lux.
Continuing the longest running series that nobody reads, I present my August Reviews! They make mention of: 6 Books (An Act of Genocide; The Son of God in the Roman World; The Argonauts; Dangerous Love; The Slap; and Marbles); 1 Movie (Crimson Peak); and 4 Documentaries (The King of Kong; Tony Robbins; High School; and The Thin Blue Line).
1. An Act of Genocide: Colonization and the Sterilization of Indigenous Women by Karen Stote.
Were I to put together a course of crucial texts for Canadians to read, this would be one of them.
[The following fable is attested to in various cultures with variants dating back to the early dynastic period of Egypt (c. 3050-2686BCE), the Naru literature of Mesopotamia (second millennium BCE), and the Shang Dynasty in China (1700-1050BCE). It continues to surface in other story-telling traditions, notably the Aesopica (originating c.620-564BCE), the parables of Jesus (c.3BCE-33CE), the stories told by the Baal Shem Tov (c.1700-1760CE), and it is even alluded to in poetry told by the famous Romanian fabulist, Grigore Alexandrescu (1810-1885). it is impossible now to say if the story had a sole point of origin or if it arose independently in various locations and then these stories cross-pollinated and created new variations over time. What is clear is that four or five very distinct and different endings are left to the contemporary reader. I have, to the best of my ability, created a contemporary version of the fable that combines elements from multiple sources. I do not mark which parts are earlier or later or which stem from which tradition (I’ll leave that kind of source and redaction criticism to the exegete and not trouble those who read because they love to read with such details). However, because the endings are so different, I have left each one to stand on its own. The main body of the text breaks off and then the various versions begin to split from each other. I have labeled the endings in the following manner: The Somewhat Ambiguous Ending, The Happy Endings (Version 1 & Version 2), The Horrible Ending, and The Sad Ending. I have chosen this order because The Somewhat Ambiguous Ending, The Happy Endings, and The Horrible Ending, have the most content in common and only diverge from each other at the last minute. The Sad Ending is longer and splits off earlier from the other two. I record it last. It is also the ending that appears most frequently in the various traditions but the frequency of its use (not to mention its length) should not lead the reader to consider it the most authoritative ending. In truth, it is impossible to now determine which ending is the most authoritative (or earliest). Additionally, although the Happy Endings and The Horrible Ending all build on The Somewhat Ambiguous Ending, it is hard to know if that makes them later extensions or a previously shorter work or later reductions of a previously longer work. It is up to the reader to choose the ending s/he wants. I cannot chose for the reader. I can only tell the story, which I will do now.]
In the beginning, the child was not afraid of the dark. After the lights had gone out and the parents had left the room and the music had stopped playing, he often got out of bed and explored and played games in his imagination, and noticed how different things looked when you could hardly see them. Shadows merged into objects and objects faded into shadows. Spirits took on bodies and bodies faded into slivers of light or pockets of darkness in the corner of the room.
Luke 1.1-4: Friends of God
Jesus was an Indian and God is Red. Red like love and rage. Red like the earth that constitutes our bodies. Red like the waters that flow from the mothers who birth us. Red like Grandfather Sun whose warmth and light and love is given unconditionally to all. Red like the fire the Story Keepers and the Old Ones (Kehteyak in Cree) say will destroy the world of the whites. And red like ochre and the scalps of the Beothuk.
Discussed in this post: 8 books (Paul’s Summons to Messianic Life; Radical Embodied Cognitive Science; Consider the Lobster; Sorcerer’s Screed; Angel Wings Splash Pattern; The Moviegoer; and American Gods) and 3 documentaries (O.J.: Made in America; Patience: After Sebald; and Fursonas).
[Going through some old journals, I came across some entries about an encounter I had once upon a time in a far away land — by which I mean at a pub in Vancouver about seven years ago. This is the story, as best as I can piece it together now.]
I was standing at a urinal looking at a poster advertising a beer that probably had a lower alcohol content than my piss when the guy who was at the table next to me, the guy who kept making jokes about the massive size of his dick (which prompted some seemingly good-natured eye-rolling from his tablemates), walked in and stood at the urinal next to me.
“Moment of truth,” I said to myself.
The fellow glanced over at me when I spoke but I don’t know if he heard exactly what I had said or if he was simply wondering why the guy at the other urinal was talking to himself.
Back at my table later that night, I stopped writing and closed my computer. I had passed the point of drunk-creative and was more at the stage of drunk-happy-just-to-do-nothing-but-drink-more. I continued to order pints and step out to the patio every now and again for a smoke. I stayed under the overhang and watched the rain appear and disappear as it blew beneath the streetlights. There are joys to drinking at night in every season — in the spring when the weather first warms up and you can go to a patio for the first time, in the summer at a campsite by the ocean with the mountains rising up behind you, in the winter cuddled up under a blanket and trading secret kisses with a lover — but always in the fall in the rain with the wind blowing was when I felt most wild and free.
When I returned to my table, I noticed that the dick next to me was now by himself. He nodded at me and I smiled because I like talking to strangers when I’m drunk. I ask them to tell me things people almost never discuss in bars when they are trying to get laid, trying to get happy, or trying to forget – their greatest joys, their hidden sorrows, their hopes and dreams – and it’s amazing what people will tell me when they, too, are drunk and find someone who is willing to listen. So, yes, I smiled and nodded and he got up and asked to bum a cigarette.
“I reckon I’ll have another as well.” He was talking about himself before we got out the door and I took that as a good sign. Lighting up, I took advantage of his first drag to say: “Tell me a secret you’ve never told anyone else.” He paused and eyeballed me awhile while he cupped his cigarette in his hand and blew smoke out of the side of his mouth. Then, as best as I can recollect it, this is what he said: