Knowing all the places around town that make life alright, Next Door's Hainan Chicken over rice and Angsho Beef noodle soup, Benji's 2am falafel with amazing tahini, the 50 peso drafts at H&J, the shiatsu/Swedish combo at Phaem Boran. A small coffee shop that makes a nice brew. Starbucks, even, where the name on my cup has come out, in recent days, as Lemon and Amen. Small things that add up.
In a strange case of synchronicity, directly after my personal revelation about tree roots twining beneath the city pavement, I read a review of Peter Wohlleben's “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate — Discoveries From a Secret World.” The title says it all: trees in a forest communicate through fungi that act as impulse conveyors within a root-tied nervous system. Live trees will keep stumps of fallen comrades alive for centuries through passing on processed sugars (for no apparent reason, these stumps are not coming back––maybe the sustaining impulse of life itself)?
The closest I ever came to feeling communication between trees was in a little five-acre patch of old growth redwood forest just outside of Garberville, in the early 1990s. On an unfettered journey with 400 CC Yamaha across Northern California for a summer. I sat for hours and hours, sensing great power––sensitive, age old communication between several dozen behemoth trees.
In other news, Japan is moving inexorably toward an active military footing. It is fascinating to see unfold what I could see was coming a decade ago. With Japan threatening to shoot down a North Korean ballistically launched satellite, the time has never been more propitious for the release of Arisugawa Park. Time to find that white beach for a month or two, comb through the manuscript and bring it to a (semi)publishable state. The editors may not want it (how many ways can you say 'ambitious/multifaceted/intriguing work, unfortunately not for me?'). But I am fairly in awe of what I accomplished when I go back and read it. It is no simple hack piece.
Yeah, I know I am an anachronism. I am also at the cusp.
And then an excerpted forward to the 20th anniversary edition of David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest. It repulses me somehow, this "trying too hard" review of a "trying too hard" book. Here is a sample:
“Infinite Jest” surpasses almost every novel written in the last century, maintaining a consistent and mind-boggling descriptive mastery, as when he portrays a sunset as “swollen and perfectly round, and large, radiating knives of light. . . . It hung and trembled slightly like a viscous drop about to fall.”
To each their own.
What about Franzen? My current close read of The Corrections is about halfway toward completion and I am still a bit underwhelmed. Admiring the ambition and the language, I get bogged down in the old people/dysfunctional family parts. I do enjoy Franzen, his wry comedic touch, his deft way with words. Yet he seems a bit of a know-it-all who is trying to appear not so much. Maybe I have this quality as well––it annoys me when I see it in others.
Stop. This. Impulse. To. Know. Everything.