[PREV - TWISTED_PATHS] [TOP]
March 21, 2006
The lone car parked across the
street has a parking ticket on
it's windshield, which tells me Tomorrow is
that it's Tuesday morning. Dan Leone day. (But I have
a radio show
to do this
Less than a week out of the afternoon.)
commuting life, and I'm
already back to my old ways
of reckoning time.
There are various ways to think about
this dot-dash pattern of my existence...
One is that I work for someone else
for long enough to acquire some
capital, and then I begin "investing And working on
in myself", and go back to developing my own ideas. But for
new skills. Hustling for a me "big"
big score? is just
Another way of looking at it, though, that I don't
is that I'm "taking my retirement need to
in installments", rather than doing work for
it at the end of my life... someone
Which brings us to the "Travis McGee"
character, one of the more famous (Though
creations of John D. MacDonald. that's not
I seem to be the real trouble
re-reading the WASTES is that I'm
first of these after something
at the moment, more than money.)
not for the
first time, but
for the first
time in a long Whose name now seems
time: "The Deep embarassingly like
Blue Good-By". "The Long Goodbye"
to say that
when I was IN_A_BLUE_HAZE
It's rare for me to re-read a
book that I loved and find it
fall flat, but this one gets
There are constant bids at
serious commentary throughout
that seem too shallow to take
seriously; it is, to use an
overused and abused term: Just to give you an idea,
"pretentious". Overwrought. a collection of quotes:
Says things too many times.
Goes on after he's put the [ref]
Style: there's that staccatto
rhythm, and excess of
cleverness that now seems like
a dated sixties affectation.
It reminds of Zelazny's "Lord of
Light"... not to mention magazine
But what I wanted to say,
was that in a lot of ways And also, I
these books brought me wanted to make
back to humanity... the point that
MacDonald Note: he
Travis McGee kills, but himself was started
doesn't like to kill, quite in
in fact he finds it influential: 1945
nauseating, and is in the
inclined to go on for We're allowed to cite pulps,
paragraphs talking only Hammet, Chandler, and wrote
about the enormity of McCain... but many a until
the act. He manages modern adventure novel 1984...
to get across the seems written in
*reality* of death. MacDonald's voice.
And myself, when I Possibly, MacDonald
was thirteen, I was ignored because
don't think I quite of his attempts at
got this before I sometimes being positive,
reading these think there because of his
books, and it might are a lot of *earnestness*...
have taken me people who
longer if I hadn't. still Note that:
haven't MacDonald has his
Previously I'd gotten the Travis McGee
been sold on a word. character express
kind of "tough a profound
guy" ideal, a Monsters distrust of
sneer at the value faking earnestness.
of human life -- humanity.
or the other guy's A point
life, at any rate. MacDonald was
Example: I had the there's
vague thought that something more
if I wanted to kill subtle there:
someone it would be MacDonald wants
a good idea to do us to see that
it while I was still C.S. Forrester he's not McGee.
legally a minor. calls this the
"callousness of Or maybe there's
Yet another youth". some joke here
example of the about the importance
need to feel Perhaps it's of not being
superior, a not unusual. earnest.
Now the introductions, I am afraid that
which I've saved for last: I must mention
Travis McGee calls himself a with apologies:
"salvage consultant": he is a Robinson is one
last resort for those who of the few to
have been robbed. cite MacDonald
as an influence.
He goes after the
thieves, steals back It was perhaps
what was stolen, and not a good
returns half the influence.
recovered property to
the original owner.
He works roughly 6 months by halves?
on 6 months off, which he
calls "taking my retirment
in installments", a
philosophy he rationalizes
by professing to believe
that his work is too
dangerous to expect that
he'll reach old age.
He lives on a large houseboat BRONSON
berthed in Ft. Lauderdale,
Florida, which he won in a
poker game (a story repeated This boat is apparently
in nearly every story). insanely large.
In the first novel a
Maybe the idea is that he's dancer friend of his
not the kind of person who is working on some
would actually buy choreography in his
something this excessive. living room. Is that
He has doomed relationships with
sensitive, serious women, and
consoles himself with flings with
party girls who are just oh so
shallow, leaving him feeling guilty
and degraded about all this,
because he is of course not as
shallow and trashy as the party You can tell they're
girls he manages to force himself trashy by their
to have sex with. southern accents.
But that prefunctory
piece of schtick was
unusual for it's time...
Florida, to me at
Not only does he feel least (and going just
guilty about killing by reputation) sounds
people, he feels like a pretty trashy
degraded by casual sex. locale: retirees,
sleazy college kids
and obnoxious cops.
There's a certain groping I'd guess that in
here toward a philosophy of the early 60s it
sex-as-an-expression-of-love, still had the glow
a notion that there's of "vacation
supposed to be a spiritually paradise" about it...
uplifiting component to the
"human sexual act", as opposed
to the merely "animal".
Does that sound obvious?
But check the record:
I have a feeling it was
being invented around
Previously, the "why
not fuck around?" EXCUSES
question had a
[NEXT - WASTES]