Should forever immagine the Lands further off are Still better than those upon which they are already settled… (-errors and/or typos from original text)
Took a break (from) reading this book the other day. It was one of them rare, early hot summer days in Germania. Drove to a dam to have lunch, catch the sites. But all this sort of thing does is make me remember. Reminded by so many indigenous tourists in their getaway vehicles. Motorcycles fill the streets. Illegally parked cars line the already thin mountainous roads. Bikni clad blondes and guttural hipsters with the whitest skin you’ve seen walk to the dams freezing waters and minimal shores. Good times, youthful days, take advantage while you can, youth. Their boats and canoes and dinghies with mis-matching ores paddle around the man-made lake’s icy surface–they do so just like the worker-bees driving their autobahns, the people they are waiting to become. It’s been a while since I thought about days missed. And not just youth. Days where I could finish a job, get off work, start my bike and take a ride. The days where all I wanted to do was drive around on my motorcycle. Waste life–as it was meant to be lived. The only purposeful accomplishment being the females laid or the child birthed or aborted. When the perpetual winter breaks in this part of Eurowasteland, few and far between, that’s when the reminders come to me. Reminders to get a bike again, this time get a BMW R1200GS. Put some luggage on it, get it with those fog lights, an iPhone connection, drive and drive more, take it to my home, my real home across the Atlantic where highways lead to the nowhere they should. And do it like Shepard has done it.
The German issue of this book is called “Drehtage”. Roughly translated Drehtage means the days when a film is shot, when actors and crew work on a film. Also, “Day Out of Days” according to Wiki, is a chart used by filmmakers to tally the number of days worked on a film. I mention this, dear worst-reader, because this book feels like Sam Shepard, in the most beautiful and vibrant way, is chronicling his days while working on a film. The film that comes to mind is Don’t Come Knocking. This book also makes me wonder if Shepard, who is America’s greatest living playwright, let’s his mind wonder and dabble in the idear of writing a novel–which I don’t believe he’s ever done, or at least he’s never published. This is a book of stories but it almost feels like a novel. An exhilarating, poetic, chaotic and comical novel. The only (wondrous) problem with Shepard’s humour, though, is that he seems to think finding a severed head on the side of a road and carrying that head as though his protagonist is a slave to it is funny. The head threads all the stories in this book together. It is a brilliant literary tactic by Shepard.
This book reminds me of one more thing. I remember reading a Shepard interview many, many years ago, where he vehemently claims he does not write using computers. He said something about he could never get used to what he writes disappearing. That said, I believe he is a blogger in the truest sense. This work proves that. Not only does it read like a novel, as some blogs can, but it also reads as a journal where a writer writes always. If Shepard were ever reduced to blogging, this amalgamation of entries would fit right in. If he’s reduced to the writing brilliance that he clearly possesses, well, that’s even cooler.
Nomatter. Seriously. Brilliant. Read.
Links (thorough reviews):