on mad max and my possibly mad mom

on mad max and my possibly mad mom

Hello, readers.

Welcome to another week. This one’s way better than last week which was so three minutes ago.

Before that, when I was a kid, my mom introduced me to Mad Max, a dusty trilogy of post-apocalyptic westerns. I don’t remember the how’s, or the why, I just remember my mom had a crush on Mel Gibson and would often shake her head at the oddity of a woman seemingly so gentle, and against violence, finding such joy in films that carved bone from flesh.

Guess I’m just crazy, she said, and she was, and that could be quite frustrating, at times, but in her love of certain things I think her presumed insanity was really just a cover for enjoying things that, perhaps, she wasn’t supposed to enjoy.

3698.0.570.359

But, here’s the thing with those Mad Max films. They were not a mindless celebration of violence, so much as a celebration of the fight, and, in fact, the very fast running away to avoid fighting. There was, amidst the so-called psychopathic violence, some bit of soul, some moral compass, to those films. The world was a scorched, weary, violent place, and here was this man, made mad by the loss of those he loved to a world grown increasingly more violent, who was left just trying to survive.

I think my mom found something, whether she knew it or not, in the story of a man with the weight of a lost world on his shoulders, carving a lonely path, the weight of his past holding him back even as it pushed him forward.

I think she loved the love Max sought, and sometimes discovered, in the wake of having lost everything.

That was, at least, part of Mom. She could be gentle, and she could be mad, and it did very much seem like, from time to time, the weight of some lost world would visit her shoulders.

Later this week, I’ll be seeing Mad Max: Fury Road. I’m so excited and so full of thoughts of Mom and what she would make of a Max not played by Mel. I think, considering what people are saying, she would have loved it. I think she would have found its rebellion led by women something to cheer. I think, perhaps, she might have developed a crush on Tom Hardy, or, who knows, Charlize Theron. We’ll see.

Here’s something A.O. Scott said of this most recent version of Max.

Even in the most chaotic fights and collisions, everything makes sense. This is not a matter of realism — come on, now — but of imaginative discipline. And Mr. Miller demonstrates that great action filmmaking is not only a matter of physics but of ethics as well. There is cause and effect; there are choices and consequences.

This captures, a bit, of what maybe Mom, and certainly I, have grown to appreciate in Miller’s post-apocalypse.

The weight of things.

Of the past, of action, of consequence.

It’s a mistake a lot of action movies make, allowing their pace, and their explosions, and their BAM/POW to escape gravity when really it’s the gravity of things that holds it, and us, all together.

Happy Tuesday, readers.

ttfn.

the invention of me

Hello, readers.

There’s an excitement in the air, or possibly the soil, or maybe the clouds, and there’s a question for you, are the clouds a part of the air? Is the wind? Are you? Once, there was a book called THE INVENTION OF AIR, which is a great phrase as phrases go. I wonder if the author of that book would say he was made up mostly of air, or clouds, or heart. I wonder if anyone’s ever written a book called THE INVENTION OF ME. If they did I bet it would have to go back a long way. Probably before television, but after the big bang. Sometimes I also think about the first person who ever thought. Not about anything in particular. Just thought anything at all. Right now my other wonder is whether or not the invention of me came before, or after, the invention of you, or if it was concurrent. Concurrent being a cool word we should all use more because once you accept the fundamental interconnectedness of all things, it’s not a big leap towards accepting the fundamental concurrentness of all time. Except, sometimes it’s too late. Which is sad, but probably for the best. If everyone was always on time for everything then a lot of things would probably never get invented. It’s the things that steal our time and take our air away that generally invent who we are and sometimes that means we miss out on other things. I’m not sure where this is going, but here we are.

John Oliver interviewed this amazing human at one point in time and I watched both parts this morning and this is part of my excitement.

This weekend, EG and I met up with a girl whose initials are IY and I will use those initials because it might stand for I & You, even though it doesn’t, though that’s pretty close to you and me which we were talking about earlier. We met up at a coffee shop over near Bloomsbury. It didn’t have a bathroom. It did have some lovely peppermint tea and a coat rack on which to hang our heavy, London in December coats. While we were there, one of the baristas looked at EG’s sketchbook and made happy noises. The three of us talked about our books and our futures, which is a way of saying we talked about the things we were hoping to invent, things that none of us could see, but we were happy to imagine how we might pull them out of the air and make them real and read by others. I have been working on my book for a while, and not saying much to EG about it, keeping all the excitement to myself, putting it on the page, and it was nice to take this get-together as an excuse to talk a bit about it and listen to their thoughts and this is part of my excitement, too. I don’t have a link to this excitement, though. Not yet. Just wait. You’ll read it one day.

The sun’s already setting. It’s a London in December sun. It rises late and goes to bed early. December 21st is coming up, though. Almost to the mid-point, the solstice, halfway out of the dark.

Happy invention, readers.

ttfn.

thanks

Hello, readers.

I wrote a thing about Nick Drake for the folks over at And now we rise. It came about after listening, and tweeting about, the 99% Invisible episode about him, Three Records from Sundown. Here’s the beginning of that thing I wrote:

Under the television, behind a couple of cabinet doors, she kept her collection of CDs, a myriad of albums, artists, and mixes. For a time, after she left, she left that collection behind. I guess I knew one day she would come back for it, and she did, but in between when she first left, and when she came and collected everything, I listened, I swallowed, I absorbed, I pushed that music deep, deep down into my soul, holding on to what we had and what I knew we had lost. Among those CDs–so many of them just CD-R’s with the name of an album, artist, or mix written in black marker–were Weezer, Neutral Milk Hotel, Badly Drawn Boy, Lou Reed, Tom Waits, Leonard Cohen, and one mix called “The Frantic Panic Mechanics.” The music blurred into a soundtrack for that moment. One of those CDs had a name written on it I had never seen before.

Nick Drake.

Head over to And now we rise to read the rest. Music is the best time machine. Well. Except for a delorean.

Also. It’s Thanksgiving in the U.S.

So, remember, if you make a bear, undo it, whether you meant to make a bear or not.

Also, also. Someone quoted this passage from To Kill a Mockingbird the other day. It seemed right.

“Atticus–” said Jem bleakly.
He turned in the doorway. “What, son?”
“How could they do it, how could they?”
“I don’t know, but they did it. They’ve done it before and they did it tonight and they’ll do it again and when they do it — seems that only children weep.”

To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee (published in 1960 – based in 1936)

Happy today, readers. Be awesome. Be worthy of thanks.

Thank you.

ttfn.