Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Forced Prespective

I finally came to the point where I could not tolerate the lousy vision in my right eye any longer. I went to see a very fine eye doctor who told me I had cataracts and needed surgery.  That was good news to me. I have never been able to see well. The cataract surgeon told me that with a new lens implant, I might not need to use eye glasses at all, save to read.  That seemed a wondrous notion, almost like magic and not science. I underwent the procedure on the right eye on April 13, 2015. Within a few hours, I could see out of that right eye. I am sitting at about 20/30, uncorrected. That may not seem like much, but if you have had poor vision for your whole life, it is worth celebrating. I am going to have my left eye done on April 27, 2015.  So, yes, that means that for two weeks I have two different corrections in my eyes.  I am still utterly dependent on eye glasses on the left and have very clear vision on the right. So I am walking around with the right lens popped out of my eye glasses. My depth perception is off. I have run into more things with my right shoulder and leg in the last ten days that I did the rest of my 54+ years. I keep thinking that this is some sort of metaphor: the ability to take in two different views of the world and harmonize them. But that idea is going nowhere.  This is no metaphor--this is a pain in the neck. I trust that by next week my eyes will be back in sync and I will stop walking into door jams.  If you have good vision, be sure to be grateful for it. If you don't, talk to an eye doctor. Maybe there is something to be done.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Great Gatsby Turns 90

This month marks the 90th anniversary of the publication of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby. I have often thought that Gatsby is one of those books so essential to American literature that you cannot imagine their absence. I would put Twain's The Adventures of Huckelberry Finn in that group, along with Absalom, Absalom by William Faulkner.  Just take a moment to think of the size of the void left behind if these books did not exist.  The extraordinary thing about Gatsby is how much Fitzgerald got out of so few words. In truth, Gatsby is a very brief novel.  By some estimates, it is barely more than 47,000 words. Ana Karenina is more than seven times longer, for example. But, oh what Fitzgerald did with his carefully chosen words.  No other work of American literature better punctures the myth of the American dream.  We see Gatsby gathering great wealth and prestige (at who knows what cost) all in pursuit of a goal not worth having: the vapid, childlike Daisy Buchanan. The Green Light, indeed.  The message of the book must still resonate. Scribner is still selling 500,000 copies a year.  If by some chance you have never read The Great Gatsby, do so now.   It will change the way you feel about any number of things, mostly about the folly of the American dream.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Meridian Update

I am happy to report that Meridian is out for proofreading. I also got in touch with Teddi Black to have her start cogitating over a cover design.  I suspect it is still going to take a month or two, but Meridian is getting closer to publication.  I will keep you updated as I go along. I will announce, of course, when the book is available on Amazon and CreateSpace.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Foreigner's Take On The Murder City

If you have not yet read it, I suggest you take a look at a long travel piece that appeared in the New York Times recently. Karl Ove Knausgaard, the Norwegian writer, accepted an offer from the times to come to America and write about his time here. Most improbably, Knausgaard ended up spending a large part of his time in Detroit.  Though he had no particularly original takes on Motown, it is still interesting to read what he has to say.  I think is must astonish foreigners to see Detroit.  For most non-Americans, the USA represents everything that is new and polished and bright. But Detroit is none of those things.  So how to reconcile your notions of America with square miles of abandon and ruin? You will have to read it for yourself.  It is well worth the time.

My Saga by Karl Ove Knausgaard.