« Some Catching Up To Do »

I don't know what it is, but the planets have reversed their orbits in the last few years for me. I've been digging a range of things in literature or film that I have known about for years but have pushed aside for whatever reason. Tonight I just watched the Gary Sinise version of Of Mice and Men. It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Today I went to Borders with a jones to get some classic lit that should probably be in everyone's collection, but stuff I never bothered to read or understand or like, but in light of the things that I am interested in now, I felt it was time to finally indulge in. I did not happen to buy any of it once I came to my senses that maybe the library was just as good a place, and that lately, I've gone on a few book buying binges, spending about $40-$60 a pop. Today I did get some quintessential peak oil reading—Kunstler's The Long Emergency and Heinberg's Powerdown, which did the usual job of robbing me of $40 or so. Later on, I shall try to get through some classics.

The new interest came from a forum my church is having tomorrow about the themes in Dracula, Frankenstein, and The War of the Worlds and how they relate to today's human arrogance and intervention in natural systems, and how we will account for the damage done by our creations, technology, and so forth. I've never read one of these books. I know something about them, but not much. At one point back in high school, I did read Gulliver's Travels but have forgotten most of it too. I feel like I have a lot of catching up to do. I feel like I need to throw my computer off the cliff in an Office Space moment so I can get back to reading and experiencing something different than anything I have experienced since at least the time when I was a kid, and even then, I wasn't an avid reader, but you know, I was exposed to this sort of material. But now it seems time to finally understand it and let it stain the fabric of my being.

I know I read Of Mice and Men back in 1990 or so when I was in 11th grade history and/or English classes (my classes were merged in some sort of multi-discipline approach that year). I remember it vaguely, but all the human nuances were lost. I never read for that sort of thing. I seem to remember being bored by it. I was more into British stuff in that period, being a fan of Jethro Tull and Fairport Convention led me to more British types of literary work, if at all. But having traveled in Steinbeck country a few times in recent years, I grew a bit curious about his work. As far as the film goes, that was a random thing at the store today. But you know, its hard to go wrong with Sinise and Malkovitch. I don't think I've ever seen any other Malkovitch, but I've seen a few Sinise films and trust his ability. I watch films like this at least twice in the same week, or watch the commentary and extras so I can really mainline it and get it into my system.

I did that kind of thing with some other movies a few years ago. There was a time when I was sooooo overwhelmingly depressed that I needed a total shock to my system to get me back into feeling again, so I hit the cinema hard for a few weeks with stuff like repeated viewings of The Deer Hunter, Saving Private Ryan, Schindler's List, Shawshank Redemption, Threads, The Day After and a few more that escape memory. Heavy stuff, but it was all like a blast of fresh air to me because I stayed away from movie watching for a long time. I get so much more out of movies now.

I hope to be able to tackle some lit essentials in a similar way. I never got into fiction literature, and all my recent reading has been some disturbing non fiction about the state of the world. But I find myself finally wanting to get some background, and as the pieces come to me, I get them on my list, and even if I can't get to the books themselves, I try to cozy up to the story in any other way that at least gives me something to think about. But more and more, as I get tired of staring at my computer screen, I find myself toting a book around, or taking time out to read more. I guess if my way of life is going to crash before long, I could at least connect with some of the timeless elements. I find I like to hear orchestral music more now, mainly because it's not so ephemeral as pop stuff, rock, and whatever else I already know too well or hate already.

I guess I'm just getting old. Is that possible at 32?

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