Sunday, July 18, 2004
Spent the last week culling shit from my life. I am moving you see. I got into grad school in NYC, the painting/drawing program of the School of Visual Arts. It's maybe not so much a step forward as it is a lateral step into a big, hot steaming pile of student loan debt. However, I'm looking forward to completely casting off this city. There's a forever a taint here from the Queen of Ropes. How glad I am to take in a few lung fulls of clean, big city air.
Big City Camp-a-rama was kind of a bust. The plan on Saturday was to motor
all of us about 10 miles up the Kankakee River to a restaurant right on the river
called Marti's place. It was a caravan (armada?) of three bass boats with Marlene,
me and her niece Jesse in the last boat. After about 30 minutes on the river we
hit a submerged rock/tree and knocked out the motor. Unfortunately, the other boats didn't notice we were behind them for about 10 minutes...so we floated about a quarter mile downstream in the meantime. They had to tow us to the restaurant from that point and it took FOREVER. The restaurant was crappy, all red meat and fried food. Knowing better than to get the salad in a place like that (just think the Gobbler) I got the soup, corn chowder, which turned out to be more accurately described as pork chowder with a little garnishing of corn: it was a creamy soup with wads of bacon, ham, and smoked sausage in it.
Anyway, the Hoosier guys took off in their boats and let the big city folk stranded.
So twelve of us we had to cram into two cars. We got back to the farm and the Hoosier
guys hadn't showed up yet...turns out the boat that towed us up to the restaurant
ran out of gas (it was dark by now) and the remaining boat then had to tow THAT
boat back to the launching ramp. In the meantime, a friend of the family--a young
kid about 14 or so--was flying all over the property and ran his dirt bike into
a barbed wire fence in the dark. He was in surprisingly good shape for hitting a
barbed wire fence but he'd pulled down three posts and the family horse, Whiskey,
got out. So they had to capture the horse. By the time all of that was cleared up,
it was around 11 and the bonfire hadn't been started and they mood there was definitely sour so I left with Julie and her boyfriend, Jim, who'd been kind enough to give me a ride down. Didn't get back home until 1 am but I was glad to get out of there. I certainly felt we weren't welcome any longer.
The good part of the trip was spending so much time around Julie and Jim because
I had a real insight into the dynamic of the relationship. See, Jim is a father,
has a 19 year old son and a 15 year old, both boys, so he's wise in the ways of
dealing with teens. And Julie, in her loud behavior, is such the hyperactive teen--always pushing the boundaries, rebelling, mouthing off, etc. Jim handles it all with impeccable grace, ignoring Julie when she's trying too hard for attention, and shutting her down when she goes too far. My mistake was just battling her toe-to-toe on every single issue: never give an inch. It's really hilarious to watch the dance those two engage in. I certainly like him more now, and more power to him for coping with Julie--there are a lot of good qualities buried under that craziness.
I spent this morning with more packing. Studio's really cleaned out now, packed
up the winter clothes, sorted through videos, etc. Then I went to see Bukowski:
Born Into This at the Music Box. That corny, melodramatic organ-playing motherfucker was there. I love the tone of the MB with it's classic Spanish revival interior with the dreamy clouds floating on the ceiling...I even love the fact that it still has an organ set below stage left of the screen...but I CANNOT STAND the fucker that strokes that thing. Just over the top with it. The film was pretty entertaining. I've read almost all of Bukowski's novels when I was in school (and none of his poetry.) I like him but he doesn't knock me out; he was a miserable, lonely, frustrated hump and he wrote about that and I connected to it, being a miserable, lonely, frustrated hump myself at the time. Anyway, it's got a bunch of footage of him being all drunk and shit. Christ, he's ugly. His wives were ugly as well and his daughter is simply hideous. Bukowski wasn't bad but he's so connected to the tragic, drunken American writer/artist mythology (beebe drunkenly writes.) There's something compelling about Bukowski, certainly, but I've read mostly his novel, none of his poetry. However, the movie showed his poetry as being incredibly unpoetic, borderline prose broken into lines, no metaphor, etc. Snoozy, really. I can see how you'd be totally into his poetry--if you're 23 and a recent grad of the Art Institute and your girlfriend had just given you the clap. Otherwise, I gotta fall behind his novels.