Boy, what an example why this journal stuff never works and writing about the movies never works and working doesn't work and nothing works. I'm really tired and kind of stressed out from being near the day of moving. How many trips have I made to my new house in the car already, and how many more to go? What movies have we seen and were any really that good? I'm just burnt out on everything, and sick of everything. Oh—I talked to Mark Keffer on the phone the other night—he lives in NYC—Brooklyn—talked about painting. He's going to take a year and just paint. Go into debt, etc., it's inspiring. I have to think about that, and not all these little things that depress me. Big things—painting, don't worry about money. Think about that.
Tuesday, October 24, 2017
Well, the film festival started and we're already completely immersed in it, with no time left over for anything else. You wouldn't think that going to a couple of movies a day would be that time-consuming, but it is. I guess partly it's just having to be somewhere at a certain time—and the film festival is massively popular as usual, so you have to be there early.
Sometimes it seems like it makes more sense for a couple (as in husband and wife) to not have similar interests—so like when the husband is out going to all these movies the wife can be washing dishes and cleaning. Just because that sounds so bad, I might add, and when the wife is out at painting class, yoga, tinkering with the 1966 Mustang in the garage, at band practice, etc., the husband can be taking care of the kids and knitting. Many families are like this. But to me it sounds no fun. So what if the dishes don't get done for a week.
Okay—the movies defy easy and concise reviews in this particular context, so instead I'll just run a continuous montage of observations, details, and feelings. Thursday night was the opening party, to which we were lucky enough to get tickets for (Heather and Elissa, for working on film notes—Heather as well for working on the film festival trailer). Aside from the gross smelling cheese table and the cheesy organic local microbrew and the lame-o Tazo tea table, the party offered little except for a crowded room in a pseudo art museum with—it offered nothing. I smoked a cigarette outside. The movie that evening was Almodovar's new movie, Live Flesh. As with all Almodovar movies, I liked it, but I didn't like it as much as most of his other movies—I didn't like the story that much. Also, I felt like I was watching it with one eye, for some reason. I had to pee at one point, which always bugs me. But I don't know if I was experiencing a lack of Almodovar or a lack of me, but something didn't connect.
Friday night I saw Wake Up Love, from Argentina (I'm not going to put directors names in here for the most part—too much spelling involved)—surprisingly good—I expected it to be bad, or at least “Canadian.” (For an explanation of “Canadian Film Theory” see... well, we'll wait until later, or someday.) Then a Bosnian movie, Perfect Circle—maybe the best movie about war I've ever seen. One doesn't really need to say “anti-war movie” I don't think. Probably will be the best movie of the festival by the time it's over.
Saturday, we got ready early and headed downtown for a noon show of Little Dieter Needs to Fly—Herzog's new movie, a documentary about a German guy who was a POW in Vietnam and escaped. There were rumors that Herzog would be there, but he wasn't. I met John Campbell, then, who Heather knows—he is a cinematographer who worked with Gus Van Sant on several movies. Then we stayed downtown, Heather, Elissa, and I—finally ate at Cafe Sol, and then went to Jour de Fete, an old Jacques Tati movie—his first movie, actually. It was about Tati as a postman in a small village—it was excellent. Just inspiring. Then the second show of the postman double feature, Junk Mail, from Norway, which was okay, but also lacking some major thing to make me like it.
Sunday was the Czech double-feature—Forgotten Light, a movie about a priest in a small village—and An Ambiguous Report About the End of the World—about a really far off outpost of civilization—with just crazy editing and one sordid event after another—an endless succession of births and death. Then last night was Wong Kar-wai's Fallen Angels—really a couple of years old, but never played in Portland, I don't think. It was really great and inspiring—and really, if I had to pick a favorite director making movies it would probably be Wong Kar-wai.
Tonight? I don't know yet. So far there have been several themes pop up—and coincidences—trivial, really, but still somehow shocking in the way things connect and resonate with each other. There were crossing-gate jokes both in Wake Up Love and Jour de Fete. Not a big thing, but how long do you think it'll be before I see another crossing-gate joke? Both Perfect Circle and Forgotten Light had appearances by a German Shepherd—and in both movies it was shot and killed. That wouldn't be nearly so extraordinary except that also both movies had a brief appearance by a mackerel tabby kitten. I'm sure it means nothing.
Now that I think of it, the circle thing in Perfect Circle was interesting—the main character would draw flawless circles, he said, when his hand cramped up. I guess these circles were symbolic. How did it go now—I already forgot, I'll ask someone—it was interesting—anyway, in a movie we saw a couple of years ago from Macedonia—by a Macedonian American guy—who?—called Before the Rain—there was also a circle theme, I recall—maybe just a circular structure. Really, an interesting structure.
Monday, October 23, 2017
I've gone all day thinking today is Wednesday, but it's Thursday. I'm so tired and tried of being at my job, I can't say I mind too much.
Anyway, the biggest events, to say the least, lately, have been breaking up with Heather and moving to a new place. I found a room in a house to move into about the beginning of this month. I paid rent but haven't moved yet, and it's already the 12th. But I'm taking my time, and also am reluctant to leave our apartment on Glisan Street, which I love. I want to do a few projects there first, before leaving—such as videotaping myself reading the first part of my novel, Middlebury, and also finishing the first part of the video movie I'm working on called Seafood.
Now, the next biggest thing has come up—the annual Portland International Film Festival. This is the major event of the year, and it completely disrupts everything for the next 18 days or so. The past three we've attended have been excellent, overall, and I usually see a couple of the best films I see all year within the festival, and usually have some type of transcendent, great experience—finding out about a new director or something. I hope this year is the same.
In the past I've tried to write about the films, as I've seen them, like on 3X5 or 4X6 or whatever index cards. This has always been pretty much of a failure, but I still like the idea. I like using index cards, but maybe for writing about films, it's not the greatest thing. After all, I'm not out to be a reference library or encyclopedia, so it doesn't matter if I can alphabetize and remember everything and have facts, dates, etc. at my fingertips.
My idea this year is to try to write about the films here as I see them, since films are a part of life and this is my life. Some will remain a big part of my life, and some will be forgotten. But at least it might be something I read later, and it would add clarity to my memory. We'll see if it happens!
I still want to use index cards for some things—like my restaurant index—I'm going to try to start/continue that soon after moving.
Friday, October 20, 2017
Tony was visiting for the last couple of days, so our evenings were full—it was nice to see him—hadn't since moving out here, four years ago. Okay—the next big question about this project is: Do I use real names or fake ones? Is it fiction or non? Well, I've thought about it and I've decided to not change the names. That simplifies things, for one thing, plus I don't want to call it fiction. I don't want to call it non-fiction, either—or memoir, or autobiography or diary or journal. I don't know what to call it—I suppose anything that would sell. It seems like no one's interested in reading fiction anymore—or maybe there's just already enough—anyway, it's next to impossible to get fiction published, and then distributed, and then read. Tony said he knows a National Book Award winner who can't get her novel published. So I'm thinking, in this current blight, where people want to read dirt on the celebrities, but no novels, I'll just write dirt and then become a celebrity somehow. I still feel that it's all a load of shit, but I'm just writing—and it's going to be so much true and so much fiction, etc. etc. no matter how much I try to do either one or the other—so I may as well just declare the form that I think will sell easiest—because the writing is going to be more or less the same either way. It's style, it's lies, it's the truth.
Also, I'm really interested in filmmaking with the line between documentary and fiction narrative blurred. So this is an experiment along those lines, as well—and I also think it will be the future of the art form. So there!
The early versions of this project were in fictional form—so I don't know how that's going to fit all together—if it is. But anyway, what a mess. Some is written, rewritten (though not published)—and then there's scrawled notes for years after that, and then there's blank spaces. Maybe I should just succinctly outline the past several years—since the start of this project—and then we can just use that for reference, and get on with the present. Here it goes:
Fall 1988—moved to Cleveland.
January 1989 to December 1989—wrote project called Everyday—includes trip out West and then return to Cleveland.
January 1990—started “The Mauve Decade”—ideally a continuation of Everyday that would continue throughout the decade, century, and millennium. (Not sure when writing for The Mauve Decade was abandoned—will figure that out later.)
August 1990—moved to Iowa City with Elissa. Job at Zacson Corporation.
March 1992—quit eating wheat. Opened store: “The Secret Goldfish.”
Summer 1993—break up with Elissa.
Fall 1993—start going out with Heather. Quit drinking.
Fall 1993—work on American Job movie with Chris Smith.
Winter 1993—move to Seattle with Heather.
Summer 1994—move to Portland with Heather.
Fall 1994—move to Glisan Street apartment.
Summer 1995—work at Check Central.
Fall 1995—to NYC, American Job premier at MOMA.
January 1996—go to Sundance Film Festival with American Job.
March 1996—visit Chris in San Francisco to attempt new projects.
April 1996—visit Los Angeles, stay with Peter Rashkin—American Job at LAIFF.
Summer 1996—hired at SSBLS (on July 4th).
October 1997—Fuel Tour.
January 1998—break up with Heather.
February 1998—move to Beech Street house, basement room.
February 1998—start this project.
Wednesday, October 18, 2017
EVERYDAY (Mauve Decade)
Today I suddenly feel like getting this monumental project off the ground, or digging it up, so to speak—starting over, starting a-new—or continuing—I don't know. It's the kind of day that makes me feel like beginning something, though it's hard to tell why. It's not the kind of day that usually brings up these feelings. It's kind of wintery, but well above freezing, but overcast, and kind of depressing. But still, it feels like the beginning—and it never seems to at the right times. Like, January 1st—terrible time to start anything, except maybe abstinence. Today is like one month and one week and one day or two into the new year—and thinking back, it always seems like right about now, this relative time, is the new year for me, so here it goes, though it may be one another of a thousand false starts, who knows? If I was to worry about that too much, I just wouldn't start at all. Looking back, I think why couldn't I just keep writing a page or so a day—all through these past years with all the ups and downs? Just continue on as I did in 1989, and 1990—and how long? But I didn't and I can't get back now, and now I have to try to piece the pieces together and figure out what approach to take to—not make it all make sense—but to make something out if it. The question, I guess, is: Is there a book in this, and is it called The Mauve Decade? We shall see, I guess, or maybe not. Anyway, let's get on with it.
A little earlier today I had the strong sensations that I often have that seem to be related to or triggered by a smell—more than likely a smell than anything else—and then evoke some kind of memory. It's almost nostalgia, and almost sentimental, and pretty ephemeral, and damn near of no substance at all, yet I'd have to say it's the single most powerful thing I can think of—this ability to enhance and alter moods, conjure something huge up out of nothing. I can't control it—not at all, and often I think that it must mark the descent into insanity. But at this point it all feels pretty good and I'm not going to worry about it. I'm only thankful for these times and days that are enhanced by this fleeting rush of feelings, or glimpses of something at the edge of consciousness. I'm at its mercy, but not a slave to it.
If I am to continue on with this project, I must soon tackle the big question—how to fill in all the spaces since we last touched down. And there's a lot of spaces there, filled with a lot of events and people. The project, if I decide to attack it, is to simply write each day abut everyday things. There is no big ambition except for consistency and longevity. Originally the idea was to type a page a day, and at the end of a year I'd have 365 typed pages. Soon I found that that was not going to happen, and the best I could hope for was to write in a notebook each day, or on scraps of folded paper I keep in my back pocket. Type it up later. And then I found that, really, every day is not going to happen. And some days there would be a lot, some a little. So I certainly wasn't going to cut myself off at one page on a day when the words come pouring out—particularly if I feel at all inspired. There would be plenty of flat and impossible days to make up for later.