Sunday, February 15, 2009
Sangre de Cristo
That's the mountain above me as I write. But first things first. I shot a short film in Texas. Called "Air." When it's ready, I'll link it to a site from here. Should be March or April. My first film as writer-director. Something came together and suddenly there were seventeen of us on an old Greyhound bus heading a thousand miles through the night, with a white-rapper driver whose name was "Cornfed", to west Texas. It all worked out, even though I made a lot of stupid first-time mistakes - later paying the price in frustration in the edit room. A few images from the shoot. Me in the Charlie Brown pullover. And on another day, much colder, in the light-coloured beanie talking to Andrew Garfield, our extraordinary lead actor, who very deservedly won a BAFTA for "Boy A".
So now I am in New Mexico. My friends Dennis and Sylvia have a house here, 8000 feet up in the snow (snow right now, that is) above a small town called Arroyo Seco, and they tend to stay here in summer, so I've come up from LA on a self-imposed writer's retreat. Trying to navigate the fine line between creative solitude and stir-crazy isolation. A very fine line, some days. It is beautiful here. A few pictures. Plus the car I bought last week in Albuquerque for $1500 - a 1973 Buick Le Sabre Centurion, which I love, and which cruises like a big old ship, while still managing to look a little pimped out.
Sometimes (it is rare) there is poetry in the Craigslist auto & truck ads. I saw this:
Engine does not smoke or knock.
Tranny does not slip or shudder.
Rear end does not howl or whine.
(It was written in prose, but there's poetry in it.)
I am up here to edit/wrestle with/reorganize my new book of poetry ("Interferon Psalms"), which my publishers are waiting for back in Australia. The manuscript is essentially finished, but there are structural decisions etc to make. I figured a maximum-non-distraction environment would be good. Here also to begin the new novel: a blank page situation for the first time in quite a while - nothing but a dense two-page outline, the story in its essence, and a sense of the novel's overall texture.
I'm nestled under the Sangre de Cristo (Blood of Christ) mountains, or mountain, I'm not sure which. There's a zen temple right next door, which I haven't visited yet. The former abbott of the temple (former because he died in a swimming accident in Switzerland in 2002, apparently) named it "Daisho-Zan" or "Great Holy Mountain" twenty years ago. (I guess there's a name before the Spanish name too.)
On the wall beside my bed, there's a lithograph, or possibly an etching, by someone whose name I can't make out (perhaps it's "Wilsey '99"??), a crazy blue image of a star with an eye in it, and a wild sea and night sky, and beneath it this quote, attributed to Michael Hannon, from "Fables":
We are crossing the lake of violent time
singing a little a little void song for courage....
(And I wonder if the "a little a little" is a Wilsey mistake in the transcribing, or a correct transcription of the Hannon original. I like both possibilities.)