First Hobbit Teaser

The first teaser trailer for The Hobbit was released this evening on iTunes! It’s pretty spiffy, and fairly long and detailed as far as teasers go. Check it out here:

http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/thehobbit/

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A Rare Form of Solitude

Victor is a spy:

Not a very good one, he

Is constantly seen

Perching on windowsills

Holding still on planters

Peering through windowpanes,

Big slats of smudged glass.

 

His mother is dead:

Not a very good death, she

Was diagnosed with some rare form of

Hodkins-Non Hodkins Sickle Cell Breast Pelvic Oral Skin radiation,

Or maybe she just fell off something very high, or

Maybe she was never really here at all; like an angel, or

A magic woman, come with potions and tonics resplendent.

 

‘VICTOR!’

 

His father shouts:

Angrily, from the balcony, he

Calls down onto the street below

Worried about the dinner on the table:

Did he cook it just right? Is it too cold?

Will he stimulate Victor in

Pragmatic, analytic, thought-provoking, developmentally rich

Dinner conversation? What with

Marie gone, and so suddenly.

 

‘VICTOR!’

 

Victor hears the echoes:

He crouches on a stoop, a crumpling one with

A rusty handrail and graffiti-stained granite steps

Leading up to a dilapidated building that houses

A thousand boring people who Victor is intently interested in.

He hides from his father’s call, beckoning

Him into a house he no longer desires, a life

That died along with his mother.

 

‘VICTOR!’

 

His father shouts into the night:

He sees his son under a thin strand of

Lamplight pooling on the steps

Of a long-forgotten stoop.

And oh, his son cowers, frightened of

A past that wasn’t so forgiving—

A childhood ripped and jarred.

Victor’s father walks inside the apartment

From the balcony and sits at the table to dine,

Alone.

He says grace, asking God to bless Marie,

Alone.

 

‘Victor!’

 

His mother cries from he clouds:

She says it softly, sweetly, she

Coos into his floppy ear.

Victor sits on the stoop and says Grace,

Alone

While Marie sits up in the stars

And waits.

Playlist: December

Here’s what I’ve been listening to this frosty December:

Through The Night these Days……..Jason Collett

Cosmic Love…………………………….Florence and the Machine

Cello Song……………………………….The Books

Leaves in the River…………………….Sea Wolf

Duet For Two Guitars #2……………..M. Ward

Helplessness Blues……………………..Fleet Foxes

Rooms……………………………………..Mia and Jonah

Born a Wolf……………………………….Vows

Battery Kinzie…………………………….Fleet Foxes

Yankee Bayonet………………………….The Decemberists

In The Morning………………………….The Coral

Two Headed Boy…………………………Neutral Milk Hotel

Coeur Valant……………………………..Howard Shore

Money……………………………………..The Drums

A Literary Mecca: A Short Journey to The Graves of F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald

The headstone sits plainly in the churchyard, next to a much older grave with faded, ancient words. The rest of the sloppy, slanted stones in the yard are old and faded and weatherworn– forgotten. And yet, here is a stone, clean and well cared for, the resting place of a husband and wife. The husband was born in 1896 and died in 1940, and the wife was born in 1900 and died in 1948. Neither lived to see the 1950’s and all their clandestine, clean folds, their primitive modernities and primal luxuries. Neither lived to see anything past that final decade, ten years or so after their heyday. And, yet, their lives were complete without what could have been, almost. They lived more in those 40-some-odd years than most do in 80, 90, 100. But they were so young. And here, in a new century, 70 years later, their grave is clean and cared for. A bottle of open sauvignon sits on the lower stone, next to a glass filled with its contents. A tea candle sits beside the glass, recently snuffed by the wind. Pennies and stones sit on the upper-stone’s head, a visitor’s acknowledgment– I came for you!

You can almost see the two ghosts sitting there in the yard, the husband in a well-tailored suit and the wife in minks and furs. They sip from the sauvignon and their pockets jangle with the weight of many pennies.

Francis Scott Key Fitzgerald

September 24, 1896

December 21, 1940

 His wife

 Zelda Sayre

 July 24, 1900

  March 10, 1948

————————————————–

A Literary Mecca

Today, I closed the cover over the last page of The Great Gatsby, having read it for the first time. In all of my many years as a lover of literature I had never found the time to read Fitzgerald. And, now, after only a few days after picking up the book on a whim, I was enthralled. Not by his decadent, overwrought lifestyle like many, but by the brilliance and depth of his prose; the way my brain latched on to every word and sunk into it like an animal’s hungry maw on a chunk of raw meat. The whole day lay ahead of me, so I decided to go on a little trip.

F. Scott Fitzgerald and his wife, Zelda, were buried in Rockville, Maryland, in a family plot.  They were interred at St. Mary’s, Rockville’s oldest Catholic church. Fitzgerald was not from Maryland, but he often visited an old family estate, and took residence in Towson, a suburb of Baltimore, for some time. F. Scott and Zelda felt an affinity for Maryland, and, so, after a feud between the Fitzgerald’s daughter and the Catholic Church, who claimed that the man was not a practicing Catholic during his life, the Fitzgeralds were finally buried on the hill in Rockville.

Living in Northern Virginia, just a half-hour’s drive from Rockville, I decided I should take the time to drive up and pay my respects to a man whose work I already so admire. For, when it comes to prose, I latch on to what I love and hold tight, steadfast, and never let it go.

The road to Rockville was uneventful, and I wound my way through the hills and flats of Rockville, a suburban Maryland city, the center of the sprawling Montgomery County. The sky was grey and a rough wind slapped against the car’s windshield. School children leapt off buses and into traffic, swerving and running wit their hands over their head, excited for the end of the school day, the promise of Christmas break glowing in their eyes. A homeless man stood on a median and begged for change, holding a sign ‘Homeless with a bad heart– help?’. I imagined him as Klipspringer from Gatsby, a shiftless freeloader who lives in Jay Gatsby’s marvelous estate.

St Mary’s came up suddenly on the right, and I jerked my way through a lane of traffic to make the narrow turn into the parking lot, which was full of running cars, of parent’s waiting for the Catholic day school to spill their children out unto the street. I parked behind the school, a modern building, and walked around the line of cars to the old Church building, which stood white and regal, facing the busy street, its reflection painted in a towering glass office building across the intersection. Beside it was a patch of grass– faded, unmanicured– behind a black gate. The gate wasn’t locked and there was no one in the yard save for me. There in the center was the largest, cleanest grave, the author’s final resting place.

What does it mean, when even F. Scott Fitzgerald can’t make money writing? What does it mean when America’s most treasured author dies of drink, falling against a mantlepiece into his mistress’ arms? What does it mean when his wife, a sharp mind herself, dies alone in a mental hospital fire, eight years later?

I ask his grave this, silently. I put my hand against the stone and mutter useless questions to a man who has been dead for over 70 years.

And, don’t tell anyone this, but I think i felt a shiver go through my arm and down my spine, and I think I felt a little more calm after that.

In the final chapters of The Great Gatsby, Jay Gatsby, really, James Gatz, dies in a swimming pool, shot through with bullets. The narrator, Nick Carraway, phones everyone who ever knew Gatsby–his numerous party guests, his business associates, Klipspringer the freeloader.

No one comes to the funeral,and the grandiosity of Jay Gatsby’s pretended life is over, finally and wordlessly.

I went to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s grave on a cold and grey December evening to tell him this:

You are not Jay Gatsby, and your fire burns still, and the party is never over, and the book is never put down.

The Nightmare

I saw the beast, he says,

Eyes wide, worn cotton blanket tucked

Under one arm.

With a jaguars body

And bear’s feet

And a lion’s mouth—

The devil!

 

What did he do? His mother asks.

Maybe he’s ugly but he’s not so bad,

Maybe he’s powerful but gentle still, maybe

He walks the earth just to tell us something

Good and whole and pure.

 

He wasn’t, mother,

The boy whispers, afraid.

Everyone worshipped him, and

Him alone. And they forgot God,

And all the children danced around him, and

They were happy, very happy.

 

So? His mother asks.

So, he says, shaken,

He ate them all up.

All of the children danced around him

As he ate them one by one:

Very happy, very happy,

Then nothing at all.

The Extra Part

“I’d imagine the whole world was one big machine. Machines never come with any extra parts, you know. They always come with the exact amount they need. So I figured, if the entire world was one big machine, I couldn’t be an extra part. I had to be here for some reason.” – Hugo Cabret

Two Books, One Reader

‘Tis the season for final exams, falalalalalalalala.

Only, I have this terrible habit of reading instead of studying.

I know; i’m such a rebel.

I’m reading Swing Low by Miriam Toews, a memoir of her late, suicidal father told from his perspective. Stunning, fast-paced, this book shows us how beautiful a withering mind can be.

 

I’m also reading The Rules of the Tunnel by Ned Zeman, a true account of a succesful reporters fall into (and out of) morbid depression.

Cheery, I know.

I’ll post reviews of both books when I finish them.

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