Friday, October 27, 2006

LA Books I Mean to Read

These are the books I want to read about LA:

Mary Austin - The Ford
Mark Lee Luther - The Boosters
Nathaniel West - Day of the Locust
Myron Brining - The Flutter of an Eyelid
Carrol and Garrett Graham - Queer People
Don Ryan - Angel's Flight
Ross MacDonald
HL Mencken's American Mercury
Carl Van Vetchen - Spiderboy

Raymond Chandler - The Little Sister
Paul Cain - Fast One
Richard Hallas - You Play the Black and the Red Turns Up
Gar Anthony - When Last Seen Alive
Ron MacDonald
Roger Simon

Aldous Huxley - After Many a Summer Dies the Swan
Evelyn Waugh - The Loved One
Christopher Isherwood - A Single Man
Scott Fitzgerald - The Last Tycoon
Budd Schulberg - What Makes Sammy Run?
Peter Viertel - White Hunter, Black Heart
Leo Wurlitzer - Slow Fade

Christina Crawford - Mommy Dearest
Brooke Hayward - Haywire
Jacqueline Suzanne - Valley of the Dolls

Charles Bukowski - Women

Dorothy Baker - Young Man With a Horn

Thomas Sanchez - The Zoot-Suit Murders
Danny Santiago (Daniel James) - Famous All Over Town

Cynthia Kahdota - In the Heart of the Valley of Love

The Summer of 2006

This summer I read many novels set in Los Angeles. These included:

John Fante - Ask the Dust
Horace McCoy - They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
James McCain - The Postman Always Rings Twice
Robert Towne - Chinatown
Upton Sinclair - Oil!

Gary Phillips - Violent Spring
Walter Mosley - A Red Death
James Ellroy - LA Quartet

Robinson Jeffers - Collected Works

Chester Himes - If He Hollers Let Him Go

Oscar Zeta Jones - The Revolt of the Cockroach People
Ron Arias - The Road to Tamazunchale
Luis Valdez - Zoot Suit

John Gregory Dunne - True Confessions
Alison Lurie - The Nowhere City
Carolyn See - Making History
Kate Braverman - Palm Latitudes

Monday, October 23, 2006

From 'When Things Fall Apart' by Pema Chodron

There are four maras. The first mara is called devaputra mara. It has to do with seeking pleasure. The second one, called skandha mara, has to do with how we always try to re-create ourselves, try to get some ground back, try to be who we think we are. The third mara is called klesha mara. It has to do with how we use our emotions to keep ourselves dumb or asleep. The fourth one, yama mara, has to do with the fear of death. The descriptions of these four maras show us four ways in which we, just like the Buddha, are seemingly attacked.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Why Blog

I started this blog as a way to start an inner dialogue on what-all I was reading, to track what impact that reading had on me.

Afterwards, I started a newspaper column. I figured that since blogging wasn't like keeping a private journal--it is in the public domain, it cannot be private--I might as well put a bit more effort in and publish articles on a regular basis.

Now I'm realizing that perhaps I had not appreciated the lacksadaisical nature of blogs. I miss this blog. I will resume it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

From 'Slow Man' by JM Coetzee

"...Surely you don't scribble down the first thing that comes into your head and mail it off to your publisher. Surely you wait for second thoughts. Surely you revise. Isn't the whole of writing a matter of second thoughts -- second thoughts and third thoughts and further thoughts?"

"Indeed it is. That is what writing is: second thoughts to the power of n...."

Saturday, October 08, 2005

From 'Transmissions from Camp Trans' by Michelle Tea, in The Best American Nonrequired Stories

Twenty-Four Gender Myths

1. Although male-to-female transsexuals have surgery to change their anatomy and take female hormones, they still act like men.

2. Male-to-female transsexuals are not women-born women (or womyn-born womyn).

3. Male-to-female transsexuals have been socialized as men, and their socialization cannot be changed.

4. Male-to-female transsexuals are trying to "pass" as women. They try to make themselves as much like nontranssexual women as possible.

5. Male-to-female transsexuals take jobs away from women because they had access to better training when they were men.

6. To lessen the power of patriarchy in our lives, we must purge our community of everything male, including women who once had male anatomy.

7. Most women can easily prove they are not male-to-female transsexuals, if they are challenged to do so.

8. Male-to-female transsexuals have been raised as boys, have never been oppressed as women, and cannot understand women's oppression.

9. Women's space is not "safe" space if male-to-female transsexuals are allowed in it.

10. Transsexuals have surgery so they can have sex the way they want to.

11. Male-to-female transsexuals are trying to take over the lesbian community.

12. The sex assigned to a person at birth is that person's "real" sex.

13. The lesbian and women's communities have nothing to gain by including transsexuals.

14. Nontranssexual women have the right to decide whether transsexuals should be included in the women's community.

15. Transsexuals are guilty of deception when they don't reveal right away that they are transsexual.

16. Male-to-female transsexuals are considered men until they have sex-change surgery.

17. People can be categorized as transsexual or nontranssexual--there's no in-between.

18. Women who want to become men have bought into societal hatred of women or are hoping to take advantage of male privilege.

19. A person's "true" sex can be determined by chromosome testing.

20. Transsexualism is unnatural--it is a new problem brought about by sophisticated technology.

21. "Real" women, certainly those who belong to the lesbian community, rejoice in their womanhood and have no desire to be men.

22. Since Festival policy was made clear, there have been no transsexuals at Michigan.

23. Transsexuals have caused trouble at Michigan, resulting in their expulsion.

24. Nontranssexual women at Michigan don't want male-to-female transsexuals to be present.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

From 'Time Out of Joint' by Philip K Dick

At the dinner table, as they all ate, Ragle Gumm sat deep in thought. Across from him, Sammy yammered on about his club and its powerful machinery of war. He did not listen.

Words, he thought.

Central problem in philosophy. Relation of word to object...what is a word? Arbitrary sign. But we live in words. Our reality, among words not things. No such thing as a thing anyhow; a gestalt in the mind. Thingness...sense of substance. An illusion. Word is more real than the object it represents.

Word doesn't represent reality. Word is reality. For us, anyhow. Maybe God gets to objects. Not us, though.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

From 'Where I Get My Weird Shit' by James Ellroy

"The Establishment?" Fuck that. Counterculture rage denotes a new conformity. Every puerile street punk hates the Establishment. Their critique is short on analytical rigor and long on personal pique. Street punk Ellroy knows this. He can't quite voice it epigrammatically. He's a neoconservative crashing in parks and Goodwill bins. He craves women like the then-unknown Peggy Noonan. He's got a not-quite-acknowledged moral ace up his sheeve.

Goofball Ellroy rarely thinks in abstractions. Goofball Ellroy feels this:

He created his own shit. The Establishment did not fuck him. He made his own choices. He plumbed his own course. He engaged his own shit.

Weird shit. Goooooood shit. Painful shit compounding at a horrible cost. Righteous shit for future pages.

The 60's and 70's bopped forth. I bopped forth heedlessly. I got drunk. I got bombed. I ragged the counterculture and their candy-ass angst. I surfed their dope tide. I failed to note the contradiction.