My da had more wrong with him than my ma. There was nothing wrong with my ma except sometimes she was too busy. My da sometimes lost his temper and he liked it. He had black things across the top of his back, like black insects clinging to him. . He was useless at lots of things. He never finished games. he read newspapers. He coughed. He sat too much. Usually he was fair, and he listened when we were in trouble. He listened to me more that to Sinbad. There must have been a reason why he hated Ma. There must have been something wrong with her, at least one thing. I couldn’t see it. I wanted to. I wanted to understand. I wanted to be on both sides. He was my da.
Yes, I knew I was asleep, well, mostly anyway, but I didn’t understand why I would have ever taken another French class and not go to class, being only one credit short, and then forget to start my final project and put myself in a situation where her leg was across my shoulder, her breast peaking out. I mean, I was smart enough to get out of there, but I couldn’t get that muddle out of my head because she looked like someone I knew, even with my eyes open and the clock right there, and I had to pee, but I didn’t want to, needing sleep, so that I wouldn’t miss my french class again.
There’s supposed to be something like three stories, right? Boy Meets Girl. Boy Kills Father. Boy Gets Old. Whatever the number of seminal narratives, it’s all derivatives of derivatives now, exemplified by Jordan Peele’s ballyhooed Get Out. While the film is a compelling attempt to address the hypocrisy of whites pretending not being racist, the story mashes up Scream, Being John Malkovich and Driving Miss Daisy and is plodding at best. There is no character development nor even plot, nothing to consider in the individual, except that we’re just derivatives of derivatives of ourselves.20th Century Women, ironically this year’s choice original screenplay at the Oscars, represents more laziness, offering moronic short-hand for finding truth in accepting our silly old selves. Quirky, they call it.Both films fall into a blithering tradition, initiated by heralded auteurs with such films as Breathless, Easy Rider, and The Last Picture Show. Rather than offer an arc or delve into the intricacies of character, these films offer things to look at, moments to be consumed, and then we’re needing more.
a. Derived from the Greek, meaning no place or not on a map, the word was re-purposed by Sir Tomas More 500 years ago to mean paradise.
The most grotesque and fantastic conceits haunted him in his bed at night. A universe of ineffable gaudiness spun itself out in his brain while the clock ticked on the washstand and the moon soaked with wet light his tangled clothes upon the floor. Each night he added to the pattern of his fancies until drowsiness closed upon some vivid scene with an oblivious embrace. For a while these reveries provided an outlet for his imagination: they were a satisfactory hint of the unreality of reality, a promise that the rock of the world was founded securely on a fairy’s wing.
When I begin the story, I think of everything neat and square, a perfect progression from the corner, building up, clear and strong. I come to consider a character or a moment further on and must get that down and then another further along. I might even drift toward the end. And it becomes a messy, multi-colored thing with jagged, hanging bits and far too many gaps. I go back to the start to find what I thought was strong and clear is not, those bits not like I remembered, but lonely and spare, and try to flesh those out, sticking them together, patching and editing, hanging them loose, and watch the occasional magic flash. And hold to that wondrous feeling too long, having made something from nothing, in no hurry to address the problems that await…until I realize the trap and begin anew.