Feb 17, 2009

jim harrison

i can't stand his screenplays or the long books (i think these are just a matter of time), but his autobiography and short essays on food are more than satisfying--the best parts of these are the throwaway lines that i hope he spends hours refining. (it would be tremendously unfair if he just pulls those out, perfect and fully-formed like athena when she burst forth from zeus's brow.) he also enjoys, as i do, the parenthetical sentence. some scraps from the table:

Within either the classic Greek or Elizabethan concepts of drama, disasters of either business or marriage do not transcend the comic framework into the arena of tragedy. Tragedy is saved for those of "high degree" who fall from a "high place" because of hubris. (Marriage and business were not thought to be sufficiently high places, more like an ordinary porch with a bad step.)
"repulsion and grace"

I sat there and let the mud settle for an hour or so, finally so still that an iridescent-green hummingbird came within an inch of my blind eye, doubtless sensing the nectar there in the memory of childhood flowers.

the smog had cleared and the night's scent was oceanic, flower-laden.

You have to hold out for the wine, even blood, nights that are actually dark, bears that aren't teddy, gritty women like you really know, children who die contorted into question marks, the sun on people who have never bought lotion, the human voice not reduced to prattle, animals who have never been watched, the man who cuts all the ropes so he won't hang himself.
"heart food in l.a."

Due to lack of ambient light and air pollution, the nights remind you of your youth, the peerless air of the northern forest night. The stars were much closer then and you could see the cinders in their bright smiles and the Milky Way was a dense ermine floss, a cumulus of stars.

It is important not to miss the world that is actually there.

A phenomenal percentage of discoveries on the theoretical level occur to scientists at the moment of waking, when the most abstruse of concepts gather functional dream images around themselves.
"versions of reality"


JCZECK said...

This pretentious blogging about literature and food reminds me of everything I hate in the world.
What you appreciate in Harrison's food writing is exactly what is so amazing in his fiction. It's obvious to me that you haven't actually read any of his novels and I would recommend The Beast God Forgot to Invent as a great start.

vaughn tan said...

you like what you like, i like what i like :-)