Monday, October 15, 2007

Quote: Famous Last Words: End Quote


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If you happen to be having a fictively frail moment, here is one of my "chamber fiction" pieces (stories with music) on the great site AuthorsAloud.com. My story "Click" from my book Doctor Weep and other strange teeth is here.

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Last night we watched the Steven Wright DVD "When the Leaves Blow Away." The main performance was recorded in Toronto in 2006. Here's something about it --along with a few of the jokes here. And here's a YouTube excerpt.

My favourite line was something along the lines of: "When I was a little kid, I wish the first word I said was 'quote', so when I died I could say 'end quote.'"

Most surprising to me, though, was the short B & W film from 1999 which was included, entitled "One Soldier." It was a very curious thing. I wasn't entirely sure how to take it for most of it. It was by turns lovely, moving, funny, shlocky, parodistic, stark, and mesmerizing. The rhythms of the returning locations or kinds of scenes created a circling forward movement, a slow music. Scenes repeated -- Wright as an ex-Civil war soldier riding some kind of steam train up a steep hill, possibly to heaven, or at least through a Bergmanequely stark and existential landscape), the officer's wife talking about him, scenes on a rocky beach, etc. and the characters talked about the life of the eponymous soldier, and his existential crises. Certainly the film alluded to the Seventh Seal kind of Bergman. And, I suppose to various Woody Allen tributes/parodies of him. This was the Beckett kind of Bergman. It was a metaphysical, existential film. Stark yet wry. A really remarkable and memorable thing.

I should also mention the music on the soundtrack-- solo Irish flute, fiddle, harmonica, and concertina (the main character plays these last two -- harmonica even when making love with his wife.) Very lovely and haunting solo Appalachian music (the kind of American roots music derived from Irish, Scottish, and English music) which was the perfect blend of regretful, bittersweet, stark, and introspective.

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