November 7, 2007 - Wednesday evening

Reading The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins at a Mission dive bar not particularly known as a good place to read, though people do, and maybe more people should.
I photographed another reader there in May and I'm sure, in between that time, hundreds more have read there, too. In fact, she was telling me it was her third time that week! What makes it so good? Other than the nice glow of candle light--which you can see because of my hideous flash--the background noise. Conversations are muddled so you don't hear just one, and it's relaxing...and the beer helps, too.

Come to think of it, my friend, Colleen, gave me feedback on my novel there--the beer really was helpful for that.

The God Delusion, however, was going down easily for her. She'd always wanted to read something by Dawkins, ever since an anthropology professor at Cal Poly had recommended him, talking up his books The Blind Watchman and The Selfish Gene. Dawkins, she said, writes a lot about Darwinism.

She just recently finished The Sound and the Fury, by Faulkner. It was interesting, she said. The stream of consciousness was good, but hard to get used to. After a while, though, you get used to not expecting to pick everything up. It's about the demise of a southern family from 1910 to 1928. Their ancestors had been respected landowners and the fall of the family is based on different character faults, which you learn about as the characters narrate, each with their own perspective. You first hear from a mentally retarded brother. His observations are clear, he tells it just as it is. Then you go to a more conflicted character.

Her favorite book? Usually she's against favorites, but what popped into her mind was East of Eden, by Steinbeck. She just wanted to keep reading to see what happened to the characters and the development of the story. It got so that she knew what the characters were about, like people she knows.

A memorable part was when the son confronts his mom who runs a brothel, when they meet for the first time. There's all the shame that goes with realizing that that's your mother. She loved the mother. She was like no one she could have imagined.

A book that's helped her get through a time of her life--The Portable Dorothy Parker. The author has a bad attitude, but is really witty, like she's making fun of her pessimism. At the time she was reading it her job sucked and life sucked and the author was miserable too, and she took heart in that, because this miserable woman was amazing. It was like it's okay to be miserable if you look at it as a joke.

Thanks for your company! I was in the midst of doing my laundry at the laundromat next door...washing out the resin from some poison ivy I happened upon. This is the second time this year. I could use some Dorothy Parker! and some Dawkins, too, to understand why I'm not evolutionarily advanced enough to avoid it.

1 Comment:

The Maximizer said...

o life is a glorious cycle of song...