Monday, January 28, 2008
However, Trev told me that a present I gave him for Christmas (which he picked out) has changed his life. It is this thing: the Hammacher Schlemmer Peaceful Progression Wake Up (not Alarm) Clock. It's about a foot high and looks like a robot servant from a 50s science fiction movie. It's even in black-and-white, except for the green display and the ladder of lights that discreetly come on, one at a time, a half hour before your wake-up time. If you're lucky, the first light wakes you up with a red-orange glow that is not unlike dawn. In our case the alarm sits next to a bunch of orange-red fake flowers that I can pretend is a cloud, so the whole effect is quite pleasant. At T minus 15 minutes, a sound begins to play. We chose the Zen music (the usual flutey stuff) because the cricket and bird sounds were those of terrified crickets and birds, and the ocean sound was a tsunami. At Wake Up Time, however, it's no more Mr. Zen Clock and the beeping that you know from every other alarm clock begins. This feature cannot be turned off, and you lie listening to the Zen music in increasing dread of the beeping. So you get up.
Trev says he sleeps better knowing that he'll be awakened in this relatively humane way. So consider this my Possessed and Consumed column. I do not go so far as to suggest that you order one of these clocks, which appears in the Hammacher Schlemmer catalog on an airplane near you--alongside, I'm not kidding, a motorized cooler that you can ride.
Friday, January 25, 2008
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
[R]eality has come to seem more and more like what we are shown by cameras. It is common now for people to insist about their experience of a violent event in which they were caught up--a plane crash, a shoot-out, a terrorist bombing--that "it seemed like a movie." This is said, other descriptions seeming insufficient, in order to explain how real it was. While many people in non-industrialized countries still feel apprehensive when being photographed, divining it to be some kind of trespass, an act of disrespect, a sublimated looting of the personality or the culture, people in industrialized countries seek to have their photographs taken--feel that they are images, and are made real by photographs.Or by blogs, or Diggs, or Twitters...(I still don't understand Twitter).
Friday, January 11, 2008
[In writing "Revelations of Child Love"] I wanted to strike a certain nerve on the page, but when I tried to write a conventional story, I couldn't get to the emotionally dangerous point I needed to get to. I had to wait for the right voice--the right form--that could carry the charge and danger this story needed. [...] I go by the same advice I give my students: If you aren't sure what the danger point is after finishing a draft, ask what secret you are keeping from yourself.
Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Here is more information about the series:
http://www.bernalyoga.com/Events.html (Scroll down to read about the series.)
* No yoga will be performed.**
** Not by me, anyway.
Monday, January 07, 2008
To a large extent this course is about characters and characterization: How do authors and other artists create characters, both human and non-human? How do readers decide whether a character seems real, and what if the characterization is a bit off from our sense of reality? After examining techniques and experiences of characterization, however, we'll go further, by questioning the boundaries around characters. What is inside and outside a character? What is a character and what isn't? And more basically still: how do artists portray aliveness itself?I'll introduce the course with LonelyGirl15, and its self-conscious gestures toward "dorkiness"--a marker for realism.
While discussions will be fluid and topics will merge and diverge, the course falls into three basic sections: Claiming Reality (weeks 1-3); Building Characters (weeks 4-6); and Consciousness and Point of View (weeks 7-9).
Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Anton Chekhov, Uncle Vanya
Daniel Clowes, Ghost World
Fyodor Dostoevsky, Notes from Underground
Edward P. Jones, The Known World
Konstantin Stanislavsky, An Actor Prepares
Virginia Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Films: Ghost World (Terry Zwigoff, dir.); Vanya on
42nd Street(Louis Malle, dir.); The Cherry Orchard (Michael Cacoyannis, dir.)
+ Class visits by Rachel Anderson of Stanford's Drama Department, and fiction writer and Stanford Creative Writing instructor Eric Puchner.
+ Gallery talk by Patience Young, Curator for Education,
on works by Richard Avedon, Joan Brown, Chuck Close, and Duane Hansen. Cantor Art Center
+ Additional articles/excerpts by Erich Auerbach, Sigmund Freud, Sherry Turkle, Alex Woloch, and others will be handed out or available for download from Coursework. There is no course reader.