Sunday, August 19, 2007

Further Reflections and "Judgement at Nuremberg"

All right, then, the Amazon numbers aren't everything. Writers, of course, always struggle with whether what we write is "good" or "good enough." Sometimes when I reread what I write, I loathe it. Sometimes I wonder who that woman was. And sometimes I reread something I've written -- like the last couple of chapters of my novel -- and I think, damn, that ain't bad. On a good day, "sales" or even "acclaim" doesn't matter. It's what I do. It's what makes me happy.

I found the start of a short story in this computer last week that I'd entirely forgotten about: a couple in the early stages of their marriage go to get their taxes done by a recovering alkie who's married a rich woman. When they arrive, there's a peacock on the roof and everything smells like a skunk. Oddly, I couldn't remember writing it -- but I remember the incident that prompted it. I have no idea where I wanted it to go. Nonetheless, the start I discovered interests me now, like inheriting a little heirloom from somebody else. Mysterious, this creative urge.

Bottom line -- I'm going keep writing because writing makes my brain feel good.

Last night, watched the 1961 Spencer Tracy flick "Judgement at Nuremberg." What a pleasure. Especially noteworthy was the surprisingly lovely and low-key Marlena Dietrich as the haunted widow Mrs. Bertholt. I loved the scene where she's serving Tracy (as Judge Haywood) coffee in little cups in her boarded up flat: trying to grasp what's happened and cling to her elegant life. Yet we know she can't face it: her husband had been hanged for atrocities. A marvelous portrait of yearning for the old civilities and the mourning and anger that comes when denial breaks down.

See, I've forgotten about my Amazon numbers already. Oops...

Off to see "Stardust" in search of coolness on another day bereft of sea breezes.

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