Thursday, January 27, 2005

“Only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is.”

The Movie: True Stories, 1986 (David Byrne, Beth Henley and Stephen Tobolowsky, screenwriters; David Byrne, dir.)
Who says it: David Byrne as The Narrator
The context: The Narrator shows around a fictional small town in Texas on the eve of the state’s sesquicentennial.
How to use it: To remind yourself not to take anything for granted.

The entire quotation: "I really enjoy forgetting. When I first come to a place, I notice all the little details. I notice the way the sky looks. The color of white paper. The way people walk. Doorknobs. Everything. Then I get used to the place and I don't notice those things anymore. So only by forgetting can I see the place again as it really is."

Anything is interesting -- beautiful, even -- if you look at it closely enough. Margaret Bourke-White understood this, and you see it in her photographs. Cogwheels look like stained glass windows; snarls of telephone wire are mysteries of art. I don't know where the exhibit's going after it leaves Portland, but watch for it, if it comes your way.

Portland was fun, despite the crummy weather. One benefit of working at home and living alone is that I almost never get sick. One day in Portland, and I feel like I'm catching a cold.

Elsewhere on the web today, I saw an item announcing that Elvis Costello is writing a piece for the Royal Danish Opera, based on the works of Hans Christian Andersen. 2005 is the 200th anniversary of Andersen's birth; the opera will be performed sometime in October.

Elvis Costello may be the greatest Christian existentialist of the late 20th century, with the possible exception of Bruce Springsteen; "The Little Mermaid," which has very little to do with that vile, disgusting, offensive travesty of a Disney movie, is my favorite fairy tale. Elvis Costello... Hans Christian Andersen... opera... I'm checking fares to Copenhagen right now.

And finally, I know it's supposed to be satire, but this article from this week's Onion is a little too close to the reality of my life for comfort.

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