Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Hanging by a thread

(It's not spider-silk but it's just as strong, so I don't despair.

Every time I announce a long silence on this blog, I break it almost immediately. This time, while not doing precisely that, I can't let the year go without looking back just once. At least just a little way.)

The year in reading has been amazing. I don't keep a reading diary - maybe I should - but off the top of my head, my stand-outs have been Rahul Soni's translation of Shrikant Verma's Magadh, reading and re-reading Sundara Ramaswamy, getting annoyed with Kalidasa in Iowa City, among other things.

But there's a book for every phase in one's life and while it was all Book of Disquiet five years ago and A Lover's Discourse two years ago, this is the year in which Daniil Kharms' Today I Wrote Nothing became my I Ching. What can I say? When I need divination, solace, when I need to bury something in someone else's words, I dive into this one.

Other things I've been reading recently: Miroslav Holub's Intensive Care which is basically some new poems and all his Selected rearranged in strange but informative ways. There are bits of paper sticking out, where I've marked lines and pages and the plan is to write about one book of poetry I've read at some regular interval as yet undecided upon.

When? Who knows. Some time soon, I hope.

Also Tomas Salamun's On the Track of Wild Game which, I don't know, is lik he was trying to be Bukowski, and was disappointing. I should put it away and return to it some other time.

Currently reading: Kazim Ali's translations of Sohrab Sepehri's poetry, The Oasis of Now.

On my Next Up list:

Tsering Wangmo's A Home in Tibet.
Naiyer Masud's Occult
Nirmal Verma's Days of Longing & The Red Tin Roof
Forugh Farrokhzad's Sin (in a less than satisfactory translation by Sholeh Wolpe, I already know this, but Farrokhzad has been the guardian angel of my recent writing, so it must be forgiven)
Kazim Ali's Skyward
M. Nourbese Philip's Zong!

This last is a book I have long wanted and when Kazim just gave me his copy of it, I almost swooned with gratitude. It deserves close and careful reading and extensive, maybe even running, commentary so I will definitely be writing about it, if not here then somewhere.

So that's the reading year, both gone by and coming up. It's not a blow by blow account - god! why would I do that to you guys? but it's some kind of highlight.


I haven't watched and don't plan to watch The Desolation of Smaug. I feel the shorter and more entertaining gifs on tumblrs around the world are enough. And, Jennifer Lawrence notwithstanding, Hunger Games does nothing for me.

The Sherlock mini thingie yesterday! Did y'all see it? The hair, oh gawd! So terrible! I predict an awful season, but I will watch it anyway.

What will make me both happier and weepier, will be this evening's Doctor Who, in which Peter Capaldi says hello and Matt Smith says goodbye.

All this seems to indicate that I watch more TV than films and this is true. The last film I remember watching is Four Lions which is funny and sad and problematic and in which it is proved that Brit Pakistanis can outswear Malcolm Tucker.

Other films in recent times included the loooong, strange and strangely fun film Kin Dza Dza! There was the harrowing Act of Killing and the epic-but-went-by-in-no-time Jai Bhim Comrade. And oh yes! - there was Recollections of the Yellow House and Offside, which were easier because more familiar types of filmmaking, without asking too much of the viewer. I regret to say I didn't finish watching 12 Storeys, which I found unrelentingly bleak; but now I wish I hadn't skipped it.


Music, I dunno. I said nasty things about whiny midwestern American singers who hide their faces behind their long beautiful hair and thus might have offended a friend. There was a lot of salsa music at the IWP, as well as lots of belly-dancing.

I mean, I listened to all the big releases and all - Kanye, Beyonce, Daft Punk (that was this year, wasn't it?) but the thing that really got me was a mixtape of tango that Kaash put up somewhere. It had 'Tango Apasionado' from Happy Together on it, so no more words necessary.


I cannot talk about the people. They have been the most important.


I am trepidatious about the new year. If I've had a good one - and I have - it must follow that the universe has a mega-balancing k.o punch in store for me, right? Right? Therefore I am nervous. I feel like I'm being set-up and I want to finish the year in hiding and/or hibernation so that I can fly under the radar and make myself small and invisible until it becomes necessary to show myself.

But that's just me. I hope the new year will be good to all of you.

See you on the other side.


Fëanor said...

i'm sure the universe's balancing act is not on an annual frequency, so don't panic about 2014! i suspect it's more like a 15,312 year cycle, and i intend writing a paper about this. have a superb new year!

km said...

A very happy 2014 to you as well!

And thanks for all those film recos in this post. On the lookout I will be. (Why am I talking like Yoda?)

kaash said...

i may be grinning like a maniac because i'm having a complete fangirl-got-mention moment. really silly, i know, but hi! been reading here for a long, long time. i was so thrilled you went to iowa; i wished for longer diary entries and shorter silences but i mean, who didn't?

thanks muchly, also, for sharing your reading list. so much unheard, so much remembered.

??! said...

What Feanor said.

Also, damnit! More reading lists! As if I didn't have a long waiting line already. But they're your recos, so they zip up the list.