Friday, September 17, 2010

Margaret Drabble's novel The Red Queen opens with an epigraph from Alexander Sokurov's film Russian Ark: "The dead weep with joy when their books are reprinted."

Tom happens to have just watched that movie, and I happen to have found myself reading The Red Queen for the second time, and remembering how beautiful the cover is, and how terrifying the tale. I had dreams last night about a small boy being kidnapped by a posse of Repo Man-like highway patrolmen. They disappeared over the crest of a mountain. Meanwhile, I helplessly cleaned the bathroom. This scenario has no relation whatsoever to the plot of The Red Queen but the fear, the powerlessness, the claustrophobia are precisely similar.

Possibly this is a poor reading choice for me, but we'll see. At the moment I'm feeling oppressed by the gaps in my writing and thinking skills . . . and whether or not that oppression is justified is, of course, beside the point. Anything can be a nightmare. As Drabble's novel makes clear.

In any case, I'm done with my editing project, home with a sighing dog and a coughing husband, with a day of bread making and workshop prep ahead of me--though the prep is nearly done, I think, and let me sum it up for you: "How do poems manage order and chaos? How do they encapsulate both beauty and ugliness?" How indeed? I wish I knew.

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