Monday, June 05, 2006

6.05.06, Books not Words (well, not too many words)

Franky Scale: 8 then 7ish. Good first half of the day then some nausea of unknown origin. Not a big deal but when it comes without warning it can be harder to get in check after the onset. Fine overall though.

This a late in the day post, obviously, after 6 pm here in Seattle, and even though I've thought about what to post not much has come to mind, so I'll keep it relatively short, spare everyone too much trivia, and will have to wait until I get the fourth seasons of the The Sorpranos and rewatch that for more inspiration... Till then.

One item on books: I picked up two books on death this week. (A comment that sound unnecessarily morbid out of context, so bit it.) One of them is apparently a "classic" that until now I've never had occasion to or motivation to read. It's On Death and Dying by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. Once I picked it up I realized this is the locus classicus for the five stages of dealing with grief/dying, stages it seems like we all "know" and try to recall but forget after listing one or two of them (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance). The second book is by Stephen Levine and is called A Year to Live. Kubler-Ross's book is not bad about 60 pp. into it, although I could do without the belief in a life, or generally "life" after death, also much of the slight religious overtones. Not a 2 x 4 over the head approach, still, I much prefer the tone of a Camus, a Nietzsche, even a Bataille. Also the book seems geared in many ways toward everyone but the dying, The Dying, so ominous that title; and she's written what seems to be a dozen or more other books among which there are definitely a few totally directed at helping others come to terms with what the terminally ill person's experience seems to be like. It's all second hand, right. Of course. Either way, it seems worth a single read from me, and there are a number of transcribed interviews with patients at the end that are worth looking at.

Book two, subtitled — and I cringe at admitting this, that I'm actually going to read it, oh well — the subtitle is "How to Live this Year as if it Were Your Last." Seems to be a self-helpish kind of thing designed to help "you" live a fuller life "in the now" and then later, probably after an editor's suggestions, was reshaped slightly to say "Oh yeah, if you're really dying this can help you too!" To be fair, the author appears to have experience with interviews or counseling with the terminally ill and some of the insights of the book are based on that. So, excizing all the new-age and spiritualist cheese from it — or should I say "resecting" it? — there may also be some worthwhile points in there. At least that's what I aim to find out. (On the other end of the spectrum I've come across a couple of more philosophically oriented titles that appear to have at least as much insight, however the academic book's shortcomings become blindingly obvious when they are on the topic of death and are read in the situation I find myself. Still, age-old questions, anxieties, and fears. One is called Facing Death: Epicurus and His Critics, by James Warren; not bad so far if you can see past the silly scholarly apparatus and tone. The other is The Vitality of Death: Essays in Existential Pscychology and Philosophy, by Peter Koestenbaum; a rather meaty thing, about 600 pp., and looks very good from the initial skim I gave it.

The long and short of it, of these or any books, will already be a question in some of your minds: what the hell good is a book at this point? My answer: I agree. It's just that when you're in the mood it might be poetry, could be fiction, a guilty glance at a new-agey leaflet, or even something trying too hard to be erudite and get someone tenure. Other times are for music. Some for conversation. Some, silence and watching the sky disappear into night. Whatever hits in the moment.

2 comments:

david said...

there's a way this is a book, the blog, I mean, only it happens that we readers are also leaving our traces in it, or near, here over to one side. traces, step in and all pull!

trying to.
wanting to.

Slarry said...

Monday Evening Late, But Not Too Late 6/05/06 tomorrow is O6/06/06 OMG !!!!!!!

A Little Ditty For Mr. Jones:
THE ARRIVAL

We want to make certain
Your bowels stay loose,
So we went to Dan’s
and got some Juice.

A little orange
for vitamin c--
A little Prune
to help you pee.

We washed the sheets-
Your bed is made.
It sure is ready
If you want to get laid. ( wait a minute, I can’t say that .. hmmm )
And bought Gatorade. ( much better )

I will pick you up
And won’t be late-
And get some mole
While I wait.

So excited are we,
that you will be here--
We’ll have a little party
To add to the cheer.

I think I’ll end this
As it is getting silly-
Sydney can’t wait
to bonk the big willy.


Love and Hugs--
from your sophomoric, moronic Sistas from Devereaux

Larry and Left

( Please don’t share this with anyone else ) :-)