LATE AFTERNOON, I had to run out. Quickly.
Lots of loose ends.
Didn’t make a list. Moving too fast, so now making double trips.
The end of the year will do that to you — if you let it.
But something told me to pause, to look up, just as I reached the broken-down husk of a theater on the corner: the one the city keeps talking about renovating; the one new neighbors consider “the eyesore” the one that the long-time neighbors still refer to as “the old picture show.”
And the sky said this:
In the last light of the last days, farewell 2012.
Remember, look up — or you’ll miss it.
LAST WEEK, as a sort of virtual Christmas present, a writer friend posted a link to an “exhibit” dedicated to the work of John Fante. I haven’t re-read Ask the Dust or Dreams from Bunker Hill or Wait Until Spring, Bandini (my favorite Fantes) for sometime, so was looking forward to venturing out and spending some time looking at ephemera — typewriters and manuscript sheets perhaps, photographs of old Los Angeles. As it turns out, you don’t have to leave your computer to fall down a rabbit hole of the author’s vision. UCLA’s Special Collections has assembled an elegant and expansive online look at Fante’s life and work which was the basis of an on-site exhibition in 2011.
John Fante: A Life in the Works moves chapter by chapter through Fante’s 40-year career.
There are manuscripts, book covers, photographs, the whole nine yards — enough to send you back in time, and then back to your old worn out paperbacks.
“Ah, Los Angeles! Dust and fog of your lonely streets, I am no longer lonely. Just you wait, all of you ghosts of this room, just you wait, because it will happen, as sure as there’s a God in heaven.”
― John Fante, Ask the Dust
A LITTLE different this time, but just as heartfelt…
FROM THIS spot, I was surprised to see, architecturally, how many decades of Los Angeles come together and stretch out below.
The city is almost at holiday pause.
“In order to do what you need to do, you need to walk. Walking is what brings the words to you, what allows you to hear the rhythms of the words as you write them in your head. One foot forward, and then the other foot forward, the double drumbeat of your heart. Two eyes, two ears, two arms, two legs, two feet. This and then that. That and then this. Writing begins in the body, it is the music of the body, and even if the words have meaning, can sometimes have meaning, the music of words is where the meanings begin. You sit at your desk in order to write down the words, but in your head you are still walking, always walking, and what you hear is the rhythm of your heart.”
— Paul Auster from Winter Journal
image via paulauster.tumblr.com
THIS came over the transom today from a friend …
But upon hearing it, it sent me to this version by the wonderful Danny Barker — who references “The Gown Man” of New Orleans folklore. It is my favorite: