Thursday, February 25, 2016

133. Works in Progress } Mon Mothma's Brood.

Description of a 2:11-min. video parody of the 1982 trailer for Return of the Jedi called “David Cronenberg’s Return of the Jedi”:

TITLE CARD: 20th Century Fox presents a Cinepix tax-shelter incentive CUT TO: Stars. Voiceover: “A shocking new vision from David Cronenberg, and the final chapter of the Star Wars saga. Play it. Live it. Exterminate all rational thought: Return of the Jedi.” CUE MUSIC by Howard Shore (strings processed through a black panel Synclavier II). CUT TO: A pair of ROYAL GUARDS, clad in the red robes and surgical masks worn by the doctors in Dead Ringers (’88), exit as DARTH VADER and LUKE SKYWALKER arrive for their audience with the EMPEROR. Voiceover: “Return for the climactic clash between the forces of good and evil.” CUT TO: JABBA THE HUTT. Ensconced on his throne, he inserts a video cassette directly into his stomach and his massive eyes light up blue and static. Voiceover: “The battle for freedom rages on.” PRINCESS LEIA struggles against her chains while NICKI BRAND extinguishes a cigarette on her left breast. CUT TO: The SARLACC PIT; it groans with lascivious pleasure as various HENCHMEN are drawn toward its moist innards. CUT TO: Rebel headquarters frigate. MON MOTHMA, after briefing the Rebel forces before the Battle of Endor, opens her white gown to reveal an external womb that is also the head of ADMIRAL ACKBAR. A deformed baby drops from his mouth. CUT TO: Endor. Close up of LUKE’s speeder bike entangled with a BIKER SCOUT’s speeder. Voiceover: “The heart of a hero, the strength of a leader, beyond pleasure, beyond pain.” CUT TO: LEIA as her speeder bike crashes. The Ewok WICKET finds the princess amid the wreckage. They tumble together in uncontrollable, accident-inspired lust. CUT TO: outside the shield generator bunker, HAN SOLO reaches into LEIA’s laser-inflicted wound and removes an organic pistol. HAN SOLO: “I’ve got a serious urge to kill someone here.” LEIA: “Do it. It’s just a game.” CUT TO: the DEATH STAR, main docking bay. Voiceover: “A destiny revealed, the circle closes.” LUKE watches as VADER’s head explodes. Voiceover: “To becomes the new flesh, you have to kill the old flesh.” CUT TO: Stars and, superimposed: Return of the Jedi. CUE MUSIC by John Williams (triumphant Star Wars “End Titles” theme). END.

[Excerpt from the essay “Of David Lynch’s Revenge of the Jedi”—from which I’ll read at the Works in Progress reading, hosted by the Nonfiction Writing Program at Brown University, Wednesday, March 2, at 6:30pm, Wilson Hall, room 206. More information here.] 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

132. “Did you touch me, } or why am I terrified?”

From The Supernatural Tales Blog, Jan. 30, 2016:

“…the online poll for most popular story in… ST #30 produced a pretty decisive result. ‘Wild Dogs’ by Adam Golaski won by a country mile.”

Monday, February 1, 2016

131. The New Yorker v. } “Lydia Davis’s radical fiction.”

“The letter, like many things that [Lydia] Davis writes, had started out sincere and then turned weird” [24].

How sincere could Davis be, writing to tell General Mills that their frozen-pea packaging isn’t “appealing”? Frequently, I begin to write with no other goal than to amuse myself—Davis’ letter to General Mills… after she cooked the peas… did she steam them, to be eaten as a side, or put them in a dish—

chicken pot pie—

while the pie she made baked (35 minutes “or until golden brown”), Davis sat at the kitchen table and contemplated the empty frozen peas bag. She talked about the package with Alan, her husband, “an abstract painter,” maybe he’d be interested, look at this washed-out photo of peas, not at all like the peas in actual.

After dinner, after the dishes were washed and put away, Davis wrote, in longhand, the letter. It amused her to do so. To send the letter completed the project—if came a response, it might be incorporated—she made a copy; she recognized what she had. After all, this was her mode since August, 1973. Of her process, “I follow my instinct pretty—I don’t like the word intuitively! I follow them in a kind of natural way, without questioning them too much” [27].

What’s more, the editors of The White Review wrote to ask for work from Davis—

“Even now, much of Davis’s writing has its first life in obscure literary magazines. All the editors have to do is ask. If she likes the cover letter and feels she can trust them, she’ll send work. In small magazines, she feels free to experiment. ‘There’s an opposition between what’s good for my career and what’s good for my writing… What’s good for my writing is these little places’” [30]. Besides, FSG will publish what once was obscure in those “little places”; those “small magazines,” their editors, readers, etc., all a part of Davis’s process.

As “sincere” as any of Davis’s writing—and as “weird.”

[ Goodyear, Dana. "Long Story Short." The New Yorker, March 2014, 24 - 30. ]