It’s really kind of the strangest thing for me that my reading habits have changed so much in the last year. I’m voraciously reading fiction, faster than I’ve ever read before, almost gobbling it up like secret chocolate bars at fat camp. Also strange is that I’ve become very particular about what I read. It can be dark, and often is, but there must be love and there MUST be hope. These two are key.
I just finished “Crossroads Cafe” by Deborah Smith, which I came upon by accident (as it seems all of my favorite books have made themselves known to me). I sucked it down as fast as I could. I loved it. And, per usual lately, I’ve been toiling over some of my favorite parts. I feel compelled to share them. Forgive me, kind reader, if this turns out to be boring and the magic I see in these words is only visible to me.
–Thomas is convinced to take one step away from his fortress of solitude, his devoted habit of emotional self torture over the death of his wife and child, to reach out and help someone (Cathy) in need.
“I stood there, my head bowed, my shoulders hunched. This is how it feels to be dragged from the cement shoes of a comfortable rut. The slow, steady strain on my legs became an excruciating amputation. My ankles pulled free from my feet. Bones snapped, cartilage tore, veins pulsed blood onto the soft brown clay of the yard. “
- Thomas exploring the depth of his guilt and soaking in is, as he is apt to do.
“Across the deep-blue mountain sky, a hawk, hunting, sang its fierce and forlorn call as it glided like an angle on the high currents. No past, no future, just living in that glorious moment, suspended on thin air. Hawks are practical, they know the cosmic score.”
“However, unlike a hawk, I had nightmares filled with regrets when I slept. Lots of karmic misery to pay back.”
“The hawk caught a perfect gust of air and floated, motionless, on the invisible palm of redemption.”
- Thomas after a night with Cathy
“The best sex takes us somewhere. Somewhere warm and expansive, a paradise of lust and happiness. Sex is and can be and should be but only very rarely is an act of communion with something bigger than ourselves. Men fuck and women make love, people say, but we men make love when we fuck a woman we adore: it’s the same thing to us. We mean it sincerely. I had places inside me only Cathy could fill with her body, and I made her happy with my body more than I ever thought I could.”
- Another character talking to Cathy. Cathy was the most beautiful woman in the world, an actress, and was burned on over half her body in an auto accident. Her husband of one year divorces her immediately for breach of marital contract. She lost her looks, he lost the face of his new perfume “flawless”. She’s never had to be anything but beautiful and, though she is very strong and very brave, she has nothing (in her mind).
“There’s something very freeing about losing the anchors that have always defined you. Frightening, sad, but exhilarating in a poignant way, as well. You’re free to float to the moon and evaporate or sink to the bottom of the deepest ocean. But you’re free to explore. Some people confuse that with drifting, I suppose. I like to think of it as growing.”
“Happy people look young. You’re really afraid of getting older, aren’t you? You should only be afraid of getting less happy.”
I’ve been thinking for a while about trying my hand at black and white photography. It’s more accurate to call it b&w processing since I shoot in digital.
Thinking in b&w is such a different experience. I didn’t realize until now, having worked in color for so long, how much of my eye is focused on how color behaves in a photograph. (who are the star colors in this piece? who will the supporting colors be? how do my color choices support or detract from the objective focus of the photo, or the mood / theme / emotion / thoughts I want to stimulate? how does the color flow around the plane of the image to direct the eye? etc.) In b&w it seems to be all about tone and shape / form. In some ways that makes things easier, but, of course, also much more challenging. It honestly feels like I’m forced, with full consent, to use a completely different glob of my brain. That is really cool.