Friday, July 25, 2008

Sunday Scribbling #121: Solace

When I saw this week’s Scribble prompt—solace—I met it with competing waves of satire and fatigue (given my love/hate relationship with the Scribblers’ prompts, a good, even a bad, therapist would tell me those reactions are just two sides of the same coin). My satirical side’s first reaction was to write a piece on s(h)o(e)lace(s), but my tired side wasn’t sure I was up to sustained levity. Why so tired, you ask? More than likely my endless troglodytic inability to post a YouTube video to this blog of Lone Justice/Maria McKee doing a kickass version of “I Found Love.” My failed attempts are either out there somewhere in the cybernetic ethers or about to descend in one fell swoop on Murat-ville in endless repetitions. And then I’ll be like Melinda Dillon’s character Teresa Perrone in “Absence of Malice,” running up and down the street in my nightie trying to pick up all the papers before the burbanites walk out to find the hoohaa in their midst. That’s a badly worn nightie and metaphor, thank you.

Yes, YouTube is one source of solace when I’m feeling a desire to reach across decades to my still burgeoning adolescence. I was hardly a chronological adolescent when I first saw Ms McKee whoopin’ it up, most likely during one of my late night visits with MTV when it was MTV. I shudder to think what happened to the lass in the intervening years. A quick Google check on her status revealed a someone I could not recognize in the least, a post-Goth Goth, I cannot imagine her as the demented cheerleader Muhammad Ali speaking in tongues dervish that woke me up one foggy night back in Reagan Land. Miss “Essence of a Thing” Alister recently revealed her avatar (her divine eye) to her readership: I’d say that Ms “I Found Love” chica comes as close as anything to embodying my avatar, right on down to the fine and dandy Goodwill couture, and most assuredly the hopping around like a devil may care damn fool. Sorry I’m adding to the labor of reading this ditty, but if you wanna check out my avatar in action, click here.

Yes, music is certainly one of my shoelaces, all the way back to my toddlerdom, when my mother was selling records downtown at Tres Leches Music Company, sometimes parking me in a listening booth with a stack of 45s, a practice that continues to this day on occasion down at the Rio Tres Leches Starbucks HearMusic store with its bottomless vault of music for sampling. My father was also in the music business as a sales rep for Decca Records (long before they ever signed The Who), so it’s no surprise that my first photo studio portraits show me chewing on a piece of 45 rpm vinyl. Not even an archivist’s magnifying lens could reveal the title of that auditory morsel. I suspect it’s my “Rosebud,” if nothing else.

But, lazy (and inept) ass that I am today, I’m settling for a list of something else that has given, and continues to give, me shoelaces through the ages—los libros. In keeping with my penchant for Hit Lists, I’ve even ranked them, 1 to 50, titles purloined from a larger list my son asked for a year ago, my list of books he should read at some point in his life.

The list represents bonds of slavish devotion: it is in no way erudite, nor is it a critic’s or scholar’s list, and on any other day, it could change, though not much. It could also be called The 50 Books on My Top Twenty List.

Without further ado, I give you, The 50 Shoelaces:

01. Against the Day (Thomas Pynchon)

02. Gravity’s Rainbow (Thomas Pynchon)

03. The Collected Stories (Grace Paley)

04. All the Pretty Horses (Cormac McCarthy)

05. Tropic of Capricorn (Henry Miller)

06. Coming Through Slaughter (Michael Ondaatje)

07. Rimbaud in Abyssinia (Alain Borer)

08. Edisto (Padgett Powell)

09. A Woman Named Drown (Padgett Powell)

10. The Alexandria Quartet (Lawrence Durrell)

11. Aliens of Affection/Typical (Padgett Powell)

12. Nothing Like the Sun (Anthony Burgess)

13. All the King’s Men (Robert Penn Warren)

14. The Iliad and the Odyssey (Homer: Robert Fitzgerald translations)

15. American Noise (Campbell McGrath)

16. The Book of Bebb (Frederick Buechner)

17. Bleak House (Charles Dickens)

18. The Tennis Handsome (Barry Hannah)

19. Study of the World’s Body (David St. John)

20. V (Thomas Pynchon)

21. Collected Works (Jane Austen)

22. The French Lieutenant’s Woman (John Fowles)

23. The Sunlight Dialogues (John Gardner)

24. Lonesome Dove (Larry McMurtry)

25. Blood Meridian (Cormac McCarthy)

26. The Sound and the Fury (William Faulkner)

27. The Raj Quartet (Paul Scott)

28. The Simple Truth (Philip Levine)

29. The Crossing (Cormac McCarthy)

30. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel Garcia-Marquez)

31. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)

32. The Geography of the Imagination (Guy Davenport)

33. Collected Stories (Flannery O’Connor)

34. The Lord of the Rings (J. R. R. Tolkien)

35. Junkets on a Sad Planet (Tom Clark)

36. A Farewell to Arms (Ernest Hemingway)

37. The Rainbow (D H Lawrence)

38. Cane (Jean Toomer)

39. High Lonesome (Barry Hannah)

40. Oryx and Crake (Margaret Atwood)

41. The Lost Lunar Baedeker (Mina Loy)

42. The Way That Water Enters Stone (John Dufresne)

43. Love in the Time of Cholera (Gabriel Garcia-Marquez)

44. Suttree (Cormac McCarthy)

45. Collected Fictions (Jorge Luis Borges)

46. Collected Stories (Mavis Gallant)

47. The Adventures of Augie March (Saul Bellow)

48. Man of Light (Henri Corbin)

49. Never in a Hurry (Naomi Shihab Nye)

50. From the Cables of Genocide: Poems of Love and Hunger (Lorna Dee Cervantes)

Yes, lots of good folks missing. I may have liked ‘em, even liked ‘em a lot, but I didn’t have a crush on them—at least not enough to crack the Top 50/20.

I think I just worked harder than I would have with my s(h)o(e)lace(s) idea. C’est la vie.

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Blogger jsd said...

the wife says "TOP 50", and I reply, why yes, he's on spring break ;-)

I'm right there with you on # 14. The Iliad and the Odyssey (Homer: Robert Fitzgerald translations) - it was magical; i was living in Lima, Peru briefly and bored and stuck in embassy housing, and there it was; read in two beautifully sunny days.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Granny Smith said...

Wow! Another person as helpless as I am at posting YouTube videos.

I like the leaven of your sole laces among all the rather grim things that most of us posted.

5:42 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

jsd: Obsessive that I am and I still leave off an obvious choice: Thoreau's Walden. Of course, mijo shouldn't need me to put that on a list anyway.

What a great place to have read Homer. I fell in love with the "winedark seas."

Granny Smith: I've posted many YouTubes in the past, but lately they seemed to have changed something that eludes me. Oh well. Thanks for visiting.

6:31 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

I love picturing this: sometimes parking me in a listening booth with a stack of 45s

a much better baby sitter than the tv, plus you love books.....

9:51 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Hello, Tammie Lee, world class camper: that camping habit, like the listening booths, must have dropped in deep for you, early on...

10:28 PM  
Blogger gautami tripathy said...

Some good books in there..

Entertain me, will you?

8:24 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

GT, good to see you again.

8:39 AM  
Blogger danni said...

love the pic - bold and imaginative - it takes me back to my "glory days" when you speak of stacks of 45's - much solace there for my young adolescent!!!

5:05 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Good times to go back to, danni.

5:20 PM  
Blogger Rambler said...

"Man of Light (Henri Corbin)"
this has been there on to read books from such along time..

thanks for the list, now I have a place to look up what to read next

6:31 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

A great book, a wonderfully poetic book in its own way, Rambler. Thanks for visiting. Peace.

6:45 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

Loved the list, a nice combo of satire and fatigue. Much solace there. Consider adding Chimamanda Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun?

8:35 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

I laugh out loud being called a world class camper. You are so fun.
I do drop in deep 'out there'. If you and your family ever make it out this way...... would be fun to show you about.

9:14 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

I will, Beth. You can never have enough 50s for the 20.

7:51 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Thank you for the invitation. We could definitely use the guidance of the WCC. Peace, and keep in the deep.

7:53 AM  
Blogger San said...

When we were in Playa back in February, I had the sublime pleasure of reading The Echo Maker beside the Caribbean. The protagonist's a psychiatrist and at some point in the book there's a reference to a study (fictional?) that revealed reading a book is as effective as an anti-depressant. Did the author make this up? Did he have a vested interest?

I don't know. I do know, however, that the study, whether fictional or otherwise, speaks the truth. When I walk into a bookstore, I immediately calm down. I feel enveloped in the thoughts of all those kindred spirits reaching out...

8:43 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Amen to that, San, though I feel less of the calm in these days of the Megastores. In the old daze, I would have loved the wondrous accessible variety: now it feels more cluttered, too many voices clammering. Send me into a library (or an old small indie bookstore) and I get the old calm.

10:03 AM  
Blogger alister said...

Holy crapoly, Pachal! That McKee chick’s on somthin’ and I don’t mean somethin’ OTC! Geezus… Makes me wanna don a bad nightie and bite a CD. Loved your shoelaces, btw. I’ve been keeping a list of your recommendations for when I retire from telecom…now it looks like I’ll be busy well into my next life, thank you very much! ;-)
Oh! and psst! [Whispered] my user avatar is the fourth eye, the feminine eye that’s distractin’ all the good monks’ third eyes ;-)

3:23 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Damn, Miss A: the "fourth" eye, you say. How sublimely subversive of you!

3:38 PM  

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