I had a dream last night that I can’t fully remember but I can still grasp the ghost of it (that’s right, I can grasp ghosts), and its nature seems to me delightfully mischievous. There was some sort of show going on that I was responsible for — perhaps a play, though I’ve never been responsible for a play or involved in one — and there was a sudden commotion among The Organizers of said show, because they had heard a rumor that someone in the sub-basement of the building, who I understood to be a bit of a devil, was going to cause some sort of disruption.
So I said I would go check it out and try to talk to him, but even now I remember being more interested in this devilish disruptor than I was worried about what he was going to do to The Show. The journey, in search of the sub-basement, as well as I can remember it, was similarly tinged more with excitement than concern.
At one point I found The Door I needed to go through to find The Disruptor, after eventually making my way to the basement-basement and asking someone for directions to said door. I only got as far as opening the door, which was heavy, strong and appropriately “rough around the edges.” I remember it being pretty dark on the other side. But, again, I also recall being more intrigued than afraid.
Aren’t we supposed to be everyone in our dreams? Is that What They Say? I like this idea. It seems healthy to me, that some waking part of me went in search of the devilish disruptor. That he wasn’t afraid. That he asked another part of me (the basement-basement guy) for directions.
Perhaps I should also mention that I’ve been reading Henry Miller.
Perhaps I should move on to the list:
Tropic of Capricorn by Henry Miller. Henry Miller is insane. And brilliant. And horrible. And I love him — just a bit more than I fear him. Tropic of Capricorn isn’t as good as Tropic of Cancer so far (I’m halfway through the former) overall. But if you’re a New Yorker, the passages about living and working and walking around the city, circa 1920, are worth the price of admission. When I was working my way through them, I had the uncomfortable feeling that, fundamentally, not much has changed from then till now, in terms of how life goes for most of the people who populate the city and keep it running. Also, despite what I just wrote, I’m enjoying it about as much as I enjoyed Tropic of Capricorn — for the lengthy, surreal passages in which Protagonist Henry Miller (pretty much the same as Author Henry Miller) details the internal realizations and processes that led to him becoming “himself,” or the version of himself that dominated the period following the timeline of the author’s life that generated this story. Also-also, don’t read Henry Miller in ebook form. It feels wrong and you wonder the whole time if the author’s ghost is leering at you while making lewd gestures and “farting in your general di-rection.”
Leaving the Atocha Station, by Ben Lerner. Wonderful book. Absorbing. It was a delight, following the protagonist through the trials of his year in Spain as a poetry fellow. Spending a year in Spain as a poetry fellow may not sound trying, except that said protagonist suffers from severe anxiety, and probably some other legitimate (perhaps also “common”) mental health issues as well — despite his clear intellect and apparent talent. Also, it’s fundamentally trying, living in another country (any country) where you don’t speak the language. Although I like that Lerner, via his intensely aware (in some ways) and intelligent protagonist, probes through the entirety of the language barrier situation from an internal perspective. It felt right, to go searching for that link and seeing the Paul Auster quote (see last week’s WILTW for my feelings about Auster), front and center. I can see the overlap in sensibilities (and I can probably feel it as well). Thanks to pal E.L. Kensky for sharing.
I also liked spending time with Sophia The Great this week, after several weeks away from the script while I let the notes from our reading sink in, and worked on some business-related development items. I have never felt so much affection for one of my characters, one of my stories. When I think about making the film, I feel an excitement unlike any I’ve felt before. Don’t get me wrong, I always feel excited about my projects — and I’m just as excited to finish Multiverse as I am to get truly started on Sophia. But there’s something about the latter that feels a touch different. This could have to do more with a change in me than anything else, a comfort with finally feeling ready to take on such a big undertaking, and with confidence. I think, though, it has to do with the place Sophia has taken me. I believe, to be truly genuine, that a film must represent not only a story told from the point of view of the filmmaker, but a story pulled out of the filmmaker (or the writer, and then the director, if they are two people). Writing Sophia was a journey for me, as all my stories have been journeys — but this one seems to have landed me in a more solid, discernible place than the other features I’ve written. A place where I want to be. Multiverse compares, but it’s a short little devil. It’s more about unwinding a moment. Sophia, I think (hope), is about rising to the moment.
Thanks, as always, for reading. May your week find you, at some point or another, for even a moment — exactly where you want to be.