I honestly think that great literature (and David Simon’s The Wire) can save the world. But, ours is currently a world of blogs, tweets, instagram, status updates and cat videos. There is a sort of loss that we are suffering, not to mention a lapse in Monday afternoon productivity due to…well, in my case, it is probably cats. I’m not sure we’ve seen the dividends of this suffering just yet, but I can imagine there will be less and less books like Lolita being published in the future. Unless someone turns Lolita into a fucking zombie OH GOD IN HEAVEN PLEASE DON’T DO THAT.
Lately, I’m longing for something very far away from a computer screen. I’m looking for evidence of a human hand connected to a human brain and heart. The best proof is often found in the scribbles and scratches in the margins. Just look at Nabokov’s butterflies above. He had an obsession that wouldn’t quit, even here when he was working on a translation of the Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. It’s like seeing Picasso’s brushstrokes in a museum. It’s thrilling to be that close to his moving hand. Most of the time, we can’t get that close to a writer’s hand. Unless, you look in the margins of their working manuscripts.
The above, is a page from T.S. Eliot’s The Wasteland. I love knowing what he wanted to rework, how he crossed out sections, how some words had to be cobbled out.
And this scene from The Godfather – Coppola uses TWO colored pens here! And all those arrows, all that movement while there is eating and shooting! I love it.
Maybe this is the same reason why some ladies throw their panties on stage at a Poison concert (and yes, some ladies are still doing it). Maybe we all just want to get a piece of us a little closer to the things we love. For me, it’s my eyes on beautiful words and ideas.
Though, back in the day, if Faulkner was playing the Arena, I may have thrown a pair his way.
P.S. of course, there is a Tumblr for this and that. That’s our world of today in a nut-shell, baby.