Friday, August 13, 2004

Hurricane Charley may perhaps cause serious damage to Sarasota, my last home, or to Tampa Bay, the town where I emerged into this world. I have been reading all the news reports on the Herald-Tribune tense with anticipation about the storm, and yes, a little envious of those that are there. And while I have never been in a storm this size, I am recalling other tropical storms, am wondering what the sky will look like, how dark it will get, and what it will sound like. Tropical storms are some of the most awe-inspiring events in this world, totally beautiful in their recklessness, and I truly hope no one gets hurt so that this won't read as tasteless naivete a few hours from now.

This storm, and reading Motherless Brooklyn right now have helped to see that my heart isn't here, that so much of it is still in memories of Florida and while I don't ever plan on moving back to Sarasota, I am wondering if I need to move somewhere. The book is awesome so far. I read somewhere a blurb comparing Lethem's writing to Nabakov's and after reading Pnin a week or so ago, the comparison does seem apt. They both write in this really clean, precise prose that use similies and sometimes lofty descriptions which always land on their feet. Lots of other writers, even good ones, sometimes try too hard to achieve nice prose and you can see that the phrase was worked and reworked, and you can still see the scratched out phrases underneath, how hard they were trying.

And while I love the book so far, it does have me feeling a little removed from Brooklyn. Even though I know most of the streets he talks about, most of the neighborhoods, I still feel like I am reading about someplace else, and yes, the book gives a noirish quality to Brooklyn that is not really how most people see the town, I still feel like this is someone else's town, someone's else's history. There is almost too much history here in New York. I walk by buildings all the time that have historical markers on them and I usually try to pause to read them, while everyone else rushes by, thinking gosh wow, where am I, what I am doing with myself. I don't really know what I am saying. I really think I have seasonal affective disorder because it hasn't been to sunny lately and I have been feeling it. Wait till a week when it is sunny and warm (will there be anymore with summer almost over?) and listen to me talk about how much I love life and this town.

But I hope all of you in Florida come out unscathed from the storm, and if there are any "I Survived Hurricane Charley" shirts, you know a certain Charlie that you should send one to. A small size.

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