27 September 2019

"What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.”

This Week

The transition from summer to autumn is usually a difficult one for me. I’m naturally resistant to change and I love summer. I still associate September with the advent of school, which was never my favorite thing. But once I get through the initial resentment, I always find a fierce poignancy in fall. Summer lulls me into believing it will last forever, which is a certain kind of pleasure; but fall never lets you forget how briefly it will be here and that awareness sharpens the edges, saturates the colors and deepens the shadows.

It’s almost October, so I got a head start on my Bradbury:

“Night and day. Summer and winter, boys. Seedtime and harvest. Life and death. That’s what Halloween is, all rolled up in one. Noon and midnight. Being born, boys. Rolling over, playing dead like dogs, lads. And getting up again, barking, racing through thousands of years of death each day and each night Halloween, boys, every night, every single night dark and fearful until at last you made it and hid in cities and towns and had some rest and could get your breath. And you began to live longer and have more time, and space out the deaths, and put away fear, and at last have only special days in each year when you thought of night and dawn and spring and autumn and being born and being dead. And it all adds up. Four thousand years ago, one hundred years ago, this year, one place or another, but the celebrations all the same—”

— Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree



  • I read Claire DeWitt and the Bohemian Highway by Sara Gran. Recently I wrote about discovering Claire DeWitt, my newfound literary soulmate. Well, I’m working my way through the (unfortunately brief) series. After book two, my opinion remains strongly glowing.

  • I’m reading the Sunset Boulevard screenplay by Billy Wilder and Charles Brackett. I'm getting back to screenplay reading after a break and this one is a treat. Not only does it feature scenes and lines that were filmed but cut from the final film, some of the descriptions and sentences are worth reading in themselves. Here is the introduction of the interior of Norma Desmond's home: “It is grandiose and grim. The whole place is one of those abortions of silent-picture days, with bowling alleys in the cellar and a built-in pipe organ, and beams imported from Italy, with California termites at work on them. Portieres area drawn before all the windows, and only thin slits of sunlight find their way in to fight the few electric bulbs which are always burning.” I primarily read screenplays so that I understand screenplays, but sometimes you run across one that is literary in itself.

  • I’m not sorry to admit I signed up for a free trial of Stitcher so that I could listen to all of The Dream podcast bonus episodes in one fell swoop. If you missed this podcast about MLM (multi-level marketing) schemes, start from the beginning.

  • Have some music from the Regrettes.


Quick note that the essay for paid subscribers is going out soon, and it’s about Disney World. You can sign up on Substack if you want to read it.

Happy autumn. Embrace it.


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Today’s quote is from Werner Herzog.