Contains a small spoiler for the latest episode of Mad Men.
It’s been raining the last few days in Austin. My writing production has been slow. Ideas can only be dispersed if you are busy collecting them. Prepare to be inspired as David Milch says. Last night I had one of those rare nights where you watch TV all night and everything is inspiring. I watched The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology, Werner Herzog’s batshit insane My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, and the latest episode of Mad Men. I have been slowly picking my way through the book version of Under the Skin and James Joyce’s Dubliners. Musically I have surprised even myself by becoming obsessed with Kanye West, especially his new album Yeezus.
Although I’m not far along enough in Dubliners to comment upon it, many of these works deal with the idea that the modern world creates the wrong kind of dreams in one way or another. We are searching for a connection all while being told by the dominant society to crave material things that bring us no lasting happiness. The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology dealt directly with these themes. Mad Men and the work of Kanye West both explicitly deal, in different ways, with the world of the material, but also both show its shortcomings. The Herzog movie dealt with a character who searches constantly for something to cling to only to finally be driven to complete insanity.
If you are a fan of Mad Men than this review of this week’s episode over at Salon is really good: http://www.salon.com/2014/05/26/mad_men_finale_recap_the_moon_belongs_to_everyone/
I’ll leave you with lyrics from Mad Men’s Bert Cooper’s strangely delivered farewell song. On one hand they can be seen as too sentimental. However, in the overreaching story of the show they seemed powerful to me:
“The moon belongs to everyone.
The best things in life are free.
The stars belong to everyone.
They gleam there for you and me.
The flowers in spring, the robins that sing.
The sunbeams that shine, they’re yours they’re mine.
And love can come to everyone. The best things in life are free.”
The truth is never simple and yet it is. The truth is we did kill him. By silence we consented… because we couldn’t go on. But by Ares, what did we have to look forward to but to be discarded in the end like Cleitus? After all this time, to give away our wealth to Asian sycophants we despised? Mixing the races? Harmony? Oh, he talked of these things. I never believed in his dream. None of us did. That’s the truth of his life. The dreamers exhaust us. They must die before they kill us with their blasted dreams.
A quote by Ptolemy in the movie Alexander. Directed by Oliver Stone. This is one of my favorite movies of all time. It got a bad rap when it was first released. I think it was too complex and too dense in story to be digested in one sitting. Every time I watch it some new detail emerges. It is a highly intelligent film. It also features many entertaining and great scene-chewing performances, in the best sense of the term. My favorite version is the longest version, The Final Cut.
I am reading the fourth book in the Game of Thrones series. I know that the book series is actually called A Song of Fire and Ice, but that seems to me to be more of a mouthful and not as good as a title as Game of Thrones. The first three books, which I read last summer, were a blast, but this one I have to inch my way through like some kind of World War I trench battle.
In the summer I try to read things that are fun and escapist in nature. Summertime in Texas is like winter in Pennsylvania, where I’m originally from. You don’t want to go outside unless you have to. However, I still think that summer is a time for dreaming and escaping as much as possible.
During the week it’s good to always have one day where the mind can wander and explore new possibilities. I think there should also be a time of year like this. I definitely have certain traits of an introvert and need time by myself to think and ponder.
If you are going to create anything you need time to gather ideas. David Lynch said for every hour of painting you need four hours just to think. David Milch, creator of the incredible show Deadwood, said that you need to be prepared to be inspired. By this he means that you have to do all the reading, watching, and thinking that you can. You need to do your homework. However, when it gets time to actually create you need to push all those influences to the side and allow your subconscious to do the heavy lifting. I’ve always liked that idea: prepare to be inspired.