The Empty Spaces of “The Invisible Man”

It’s not that good a film. It’s unnecessarily gory, the fight scenes are comical and the jump scares predictable. But Leigh Whannell’s The Invisible Man film does succeed in one area: the use of empty space.

The justification for all of these shots is that the evil invisible man is probably there watching Elizabeth Moss and hence us, and that’s what works so well, what makes it so creepy. It’s akin to Hitchock’s shower scene in Psycho where the shower, the safest place of all, was made dangerous.

Whannell’s film makes every place dangerous – every room, hallway and corner of anywhere you can go. He might be there watching, ready to fuck with our heads.

Young Chronicles IX: Cavendish Beach, Prince Edward Island

I spent three days on Cavendish Beach, PEI in early June 1983, eating nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I wrote the following at the conclusion:

Solitude is a necessary state that all should experience for some extended period of time. It must also be noted that man should not be in this state for too long lest he lose his sanity. Man is an insecure beast. So be it. Not only is he dependent on other men but also on external imaginary forces. It is man’s brooding mind that entrances him upon such a state. .

The fact that we are aware of our existence does not prove our existence; it only clarifies our insecurities. Does a bird brood upon its existence? Nay. It is because it has no reason to, as it concentrates its attention on the day-to-day. Man, in his comfortable and unnatural state, is cursed with his awareness. He cannot enjoy life as it is because he worries for the future. And so do I.

This I write to my future wife. The skies may cloud, the seas roughen, the days grow dark, but we will walk upon the crimson dunes of time (sic) together with the swallow at the glimmer of first light. Let us dig in our footholds together.

Remember: I ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

Fuck Pedagogy: A First Draft

I’ve begun work on an autobiography on my twenty years in teaching. Here’s a rough version of the opening:

I spend a lot of time trying to figure out who I am. I smoke out of boredom. I don’t want to do anything. I get excited about the dumbest of things. I seek revenge. My first thought after learning someone died, anyone, is that it was good that it wasn’t me. I digitize old pictures. I search through old letters. I reflect. I remember. I think about who I was as a kid. I sure as hell didn’t know who I was then, but I was certain that I would know when I was 19 or 20. And, it’s true, I thought I knew what I was about then, or I certainly acted like I did. The thing is I was just a dumb ass kid who wanted to fuck and be recognized as a great writer.

I’m no more than that now. I separate myself from everyone because I don’t like people. But what do I do when I’m on my own? I think of who I can talk to on the phone. I like being alone but I hate being alone. I’m afraid of nothing, and I’m afraid of everything. I wish this was just clever stuff. But it isn’t. It isn’t clever at all. It’s a spew. I mean, I hate acronyms. They are lazy and dumb – 911, Fidi – I hate them, and then I finally give up and use them and don’t question it anymore. It’s true that I have principles. Or I think that I do. I have a moral code. I just don’t know what that is. I’m not what I want to be. I’m still that stupid kid, thinking I will grow up soon. Even now, I think I know everything. I actually know that I know nothing. But knowing that is knowing everything. I think that I could hold up under torture and know that I wouldn’t last a second.

I really am stupid like that. I judge everyone. I objectify women, young and old. It doesn’t matter. I think that I am better than everyone, and I know I am not. I know that admitting all of this is good but it doesn’t feel like it. It feels like I’ve wasted my life trying to be something I never was. I never could be myself. That’s the thing. I want to find that guy, figure out who the hell he is. One thing I know for sure: I’m no teacher.

Ice Friday: James Jones “Thin Red Line”

The stark World War II prose of James Jones in The Thin Red Line remind us of what happens to the psyche when everything else is stripped away:

He heard the soft “shu-u-” of the mortar shell for perhaps half a second. There was not even time to connect it with himself or frighten him, before there was a huge sunburst roaring of an explosion almost on top of him, then black blank darkness. He had a vague impression that someone screamed but did not know it was himself. As if seeing dark film shown with insufficient illumination, he had a misty picture of someone other than himself  half-scrambling, rolling down the slope. Then nothing. Dead? Are we, that other one is I? am he? img_4553“Am I hit? Am I hit?”

“Yes,” Train mumbled. “Y-you are.” He also stuttered. “In the head.”

“Am I?” Fife looked at his hands and found them completely covered with the wet red. He understood now that peculiar red haze. Then terror blossomed all through him like ballooning great fungus, making his heart kick and his eyes go faint.