Friday, February 21, 2003

Last week I finished Nick Horby's book, How To Be Good. Thorougly enjoyed it. I became worried a third way into the book, when metaphysical elements entered, and while they were large in plot, they were small in significance. Horby has an astute eye for human behavior and relationships, and is able to articulate these scenes into insightful prose and an entertaining read. Everything comes across as being so honest, and that's the goal of any artform. Being truthful.

On Tuesday (February 18) I went to see Shawn Colvin in concert. Shawn is my favorite singer-songwriter (along with Liz Phair), and it was my first time seeing her play live. I was fourth row center in the cozy East County Performing Arts Center. Incredible show. She's an amazing guitar player and has the best voice in the business. Very powerful. But something I wasn't expecting was how very funny she was. She told great anecdotes and had a wonderful rapport with the audience.

On Thursday (February 20) I went to the Museum of Contemporary Art - Los Angeles to see one of my artistic idols, Lucian Freud. I had missed his London exhibit by only a few days when I was there. But his L.A. appearance was his largest collection of artwork on display. Amazing show. One element that doesn't come across in reproductions of his artwork is the amount of texture and layers present on his paintings. Very thick paint that rises in bits across the painting, offering a three dimensional aspect that is not felt in pictures. An inspiring show.
Received a rejection letter from the Cimarron Review for my three poems Air Hole, Two Beds, and Where We Are.

Saturday, February 15, 2003

Added acrylic painting, Vanessa, to my Oil and Acrylics page.

Removed two ink and acrylic on canvas paintings: Untitled and Miss.

Friday, February 07, 2003

I finished reading two books this week. Gregory McDonald's Skylar in Yankeeland and Susan Minot's Rapture.

Gregory McDonald is known in popular circles for his Fletch books which the movies derived from. In writer's circles, he's known for his succinct and accurate dialogue. He writes mystery novels. In general, my problem with mystery novels is they run entirely on one convention. Either something is stolen or someone is murdered. In his book, Skylar in Yankeeland, we are fortunate to get both. While his dialogue is indeed engaging, I have problems with the plot itself. His dialogue and tone is jovial, which makes some of his plot points disturbing as in the course of 250 pages there is one child molestation, one attempted rape, and one successful rape. These weighty issues are treated poorly in a novel containing such a casual tone.

Susan Minot's novella, Rapture, involves an unusual format. The book begins with a women giving an old lover a blowjob, and ends with his orgasmic completion. The time between contains flashbacks of their volatile and random relationship. Minot is one of my top three favorite authors and I love her minimalist style and succinctness, in addition to her astute and accurate observations about human behavior and the human condition. She also consistently employs the best killer last lines in the business. But in this book she tends to indulge in stream-of-consciousness rambling that becomes monotonous and uneventful. While I enjoy her courageous experiment, the book wallows in intraspective etheral thoughts to a point that cohesive tension is lost.