Lydia Davis — Break It Down

The pictures come to you and you have to hope they won't lose their life too fast and dry up though you know they will and that you'll also forget some of what happened, because you're turning up little things that you nearly forgot...

Then you forget some of it all, maybe most of it all, almost all of it, in the end, and you work hard at remembering everything now so you won't ever forget, but you can kill it too even by thinking about it too much, though you can't help thinking about it nearly all the time.

And then when the pictures start to go you start asking some questions, just little questions, that sit in your mind without any answers...

And finally the pictures go and these dry little questions just sit there without any answers and you're left with this large heavy pain in you that you try to numb by reading, or you try to ease it by getting out into public spaces where there will be people around you, but no matter how good you are at pushing that pain away, just when you think you're going to be all right for a while, that you're safe, you're kind of holding it off with all your strength and you're staying in some little bare numb spot of ground, then suddenly it will all come back, you'll hear a noise, maybe it's a cat crying or a baby, or something else like her cry, you hear it and make that connection in a part of you you have no control over and the pain comes back so hard that you're afraid, afraid of how you're falling back into it again and you wonder, no, you're terrified to ask how you're ever going to climb out of it.

Private Sparkle

Here are my two new favorite songs this week:

1.) Aretha Franklin - Jump

I read about this soundtrack album (that I had never heard of or seen even after years of record shopping) as being the most criminally unknown/underrated Aretha album. The fact that it's from 1976 and composed/produced by Curtis Mayfield should put any lingering doubt in your mind to rest. Here's the vinyl rip since I couldn't find anything online.

Aretha Franklin - Jump
[right-click to download]

2.) Private - My Secret Lover

Sorry for the radio edit but it's all I could get for the moment. Watch the video for all the dirty bits. Apparently (but of course) this is huge in the UK, yet another reason I'm in the wrong country...

Private - My Secret Lover
[right-click to download]

Still Bill

Just picked up Bill Withers Live at Carnegie Hall for a dollar and can't wait to go home and listen to it. It reminded me that everyone should watch his performance at the Zaire 74 music festival (from the documentary Soul Power):

Margaret Atwood – Oryx and Crake

How did this happen? their descendants will ask, stumbling upon the evidence, the ruins. The ruinous evidence. Who made these things? Who lived in them? Who destroyed them? The Taj Mahal, the Louvre, the Pyramids, The Empire State Building – stuff he's seen on TV, in old books, on postcards, on Blood and Roses. Imagine coming upon them, 3-D, life-sized, with no preparation – you'd be freaked, you'd run away, and after that you'd need an explanation. At first they'll say giants or gods, but sooner or later they'll want to know the truth. Like him, they'll have the curious monkey brain.

Perhaps they'll say, These things are not real. They are phantasmagoria. They were made by dreams, and now that no one is dreaming them any longer they are crumbling away.

~ ~ ~

"Let's suppose for the sake of argument," said Crake one evening, "that civilization as we know it gets destroyed...Once it's flattened, it could never be rebuilt...Because all the surface metals have already been mined...without which, no iron age, no bronze age, no age of steel, and all the rest of it. There's metals farther down, but the advanced technology we need for extracting those would have been obliterated."

"It could be put back together," said Jimmy..."They'd still have the instructions."

"Actually not," said Crake. "It's not like the wheel, it's too complex now. Suppose the instructions survived, suppose there were any people left with the knowledge to read them. Those people would be few and far between, and they wouldn't have the tools. Remember, no electricity. Then once those people died, that would be it. They'd have no apprentices, they'd have no successors...All it the elimination of one generation. One generation of anything. Beetles, trees, microbes, scientists, speakers of French, whatever. Break the link in time between one generation and the next, and it's game over forever."
Reminds me of how medieval peasants in France believed the towering Roman built aqueducts to be the work of giants.