Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Last night, I bought #4 non-bleached expensive coffee filters after I got off work. I picked up a thing of milk also, excited about making coffee the next morning. I got on the subway, listening to Jesus and Mary Chain, so happy, rocking out. I heard a man behind me on the crowded train saying "Excuse me," heard it muffled through my headphones. I stepped aside and turned to see who said it, and I know I let out a audible sigh of anguish as soon as I saw him. I was embarrased about this, but I don't think anyone else on the train noticed because everyone else looked equally horrified and glum. He was holding a laminated piece of newspaper, asking for money, the headline obviously concerning him: "Man Attacked with Acid." This man's disfigured face cannot leave my mind. I fell asleep to it. Jesus and Mary Chain suddenly seemed less rocking, the world seemed so much sadder. This man looked like something out of a horror movie. His ears had basically melted off. His eye sockets sagged like melted wax, charred eyeballs appearantly still able to see. I am so glad I did not have any money in my wallet because I felt so guilty and would have readily emptied my wallet in his hands. Everyone else on the train seemed to feel the same way. People were opening up their wallets like you've never seen them do before, all eagerly giving money - secretly hoping (I think) that the man would hurry and move past them, so the image could start to fade from their mind.

This morning, excited to make coffee, I realized that I bought filters that don't even fit in my coffee maker, that I needed #2 filters. I cut and folded the filter, a junkie improvising, needing my fix. Now I will have to buy another expensive box on non-bleached filters.

A while ago, I read Russell Banks' The Darling, and the main reason for doing so was that I had planned on writing a review of it. I had so much time to do so, but every time I sat down to try to write something, I failed miserably. I was real good at doodling on a piece of paper, sketching out various themes I wanted to address, but when I sat to write, I was always tripped up on the first sentence, never finding one that gave me enough momentum to carry onwards. And so this morning, I saw that there was a review in the NY Times, and I clicked on the link, saying to myself that if Michiko wrote this review I was going to scream. I didn't scream. But, she did write the review, and wrote it with a nice crisp opening sentence that made me say, yes, this is what I wanted to do. This is good. She is pretty amazing, not for her quality of writing, but for the volume of it. She reviews at least one book a week, sometimes two. And I think I am going to go look at the horrible draft I wrote and learn how to do it better, look at exactly what Kakutani did, at what she didn't.

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