The New York Times hyped it like crazy. So did my friends. “The eclipse is the thing, man. We gotta go!”
I thought little of it until I was driving home to Toronto and, on a manic whim, instead of sticking to Interstate 80, I veered down 81 toward Virginia and the eclipse.I calculated that I could get as far as Roanoke, Virginia, which I learned through my app would have 92% coverage, and that sounded like something indeed, far more intense than 84%, which is all I would have had if I stayed my course.
Electronic signs began to appear at the side of the road. Solar Eclipse today 12-4pm. No stopping on shoulder or ramps. The interstate was heavily traffic, trucks lining the right lane as far as I could see, but it seemed right. We were all journeying down together, a convoy, to see this astronomical event. I listened solely to Off the Sky, brooding electronic music, perfect for the approaching darkness. I reached the Virginia border, only 234 miles to Roanoke. Only. Ten minutes later, I realized that was well over three more hours of driving which meant another three hours back. I was getting in deep. I focused on the music and the historic moment to come – the sky darkening, animals scattering, humans collectively moaning. It was going to be something, to be sure.
I gassed up less than a hundred miles away, ready to talk to the cashier about the moment to come, but she and a man from Texas were talking in amazed terms instead about the cost of cigarettes in New York. “$15?! That’s two meals for me! Who would be dumb enough to pay that?”
Back on the highway, it got suddenly dim. I looked up. Just a cloud. I drove madly – I needed as much coverage as possible! – until 2:35, five minutes ahead of the full 92% and pulled into a gas station. A van pulled in and two bikers. I looked up. The sun looked the same. I went into the store and bought a can of Chipotle Pringles. The woman looked tired, bored, completely uninterested in this remarkable event. I went back outside. The light began to dim. It cooled quickly, at least 10 degrees below the high of 95. Two people came around behind their van and donned polarized glasses and looked up. Another took a picture of them. “Eclipse!” I looked at my watch. It was 2:41. It had passed. Had I missed it? I wasn’t sure. I was going to borrow their glasses but was afraid they might be the unsafe kind and so looked into the sky again. It was getting hotter, brighter. Yes, it was over. It was eleven hours – a eight-hour detour in the end – to get to Toronto. I listened to nothing for a while, just the tires clicking over the asphalt. And I thought about the next eclipse, only seven years away. I can hardly wait.
Anne Imhof’s “Faust”, German’s 2017 entry at the Venice Bienalle, offers little on the surface, except the surface.
It’s more about the people watching than the performers – all the legs passing by.And the arms and hands. And then it is high above on a glass platform.
And that’s just weird.
A writing guidebook doesn’t exist, and if did, it would confuse.
A story can’t be someone reflecting about their self. That’s boring. Same with the Uber Voice. Boring. The first person is interesting because it looks out at the world. The third person examines others in detail as well as, of course, the self. Seeing someone else through another’s eyes just might be the highest level of interiority. Omniscient first person, that’s the thing. Half of us are firsters. Half of us are thirders. In the end, first and third person is mere grammar. Boom, boom.
I’ve arrived in Ohio for a writing conference or, as my niece calls it, ‘camp’. This is actually – her favorite word – a more accurate description given not so much the bucolic atmosphere as the bleak accommodations. It’s the sort of place – despite the well-placed trees and 200-year history – that does not inspire as much as subdue. My best work from the day: The fucking earnestness of discussing the horrors of the world when they are so far away – that deeper feeling of humanity, the western mind – is what is wrong with this fucking world, pretending to care, to love, to be willing to die for, when the truth is, the time will come – it’s called 5pm – when they don’t care because the children have come home and a favorite show is on. And that is all.
Being at a writing nadir, more interested in my video poker than figuring out what I should be writing next, I need more than new writers who think they might be interested in writing but aren’t quite sure.I know I am being judgmental, but I really have to get out of my sci-fi quagmire!
There are those who talk of Porter Airlines as a quaint raccoonish airline with prop planes, retro uniforms and free beer, forgetting their essential problem of flights perpetually delayed and cancelled. Returning home to New York, we had yet another cancellation and decided to make the nine-hour drive instead – a prescient choice given that the re-booked flight was also cancelled the next day. The only problem was that we booked on Expedia, who lulled us into believing that they would refund us automatically. Nine days later, no refund posted, I was subjected to the limbo of hold and repeat until, almost an hour later, they released me from their specific hell. And so I propose that Porter merge with the Expedia so they might be grounded together.
I’ve climbed a few mountains, including Mounts Baker (10,781) & Rainier (14,411).
And now I want to try out Everest (29.029). Sure, it’s more than twice the height of anything I’ve tried, and that hundreds have died in the attempt, but it’s my kind of thing, a straight-ahead venture of just putting one foot in front of the other. It’s a simple thing. Just go up. Until the air is so thin that I might dream of being something else, maybe even touch the face of the gods. I’ll start with New Hampshire’s Mount Lafayette and take it from there.