Monday, May 22, 2006

I Forgot

The wife and I sat down last night and made a plan. It's time to turn the television off at night. When the kids are put to bed, at 8PM sharp, we are sitting down with our respective projects--me with my writing and side work, her with crafts and household design, scrapbooks, etc. We need to take control of our life.

I'm listening to Tobias Wolff, Old School. We're all unique musical instruments requiring common techniques to play, but books are living beings that interact with us as individuals. I am enjoying it immensely, but not for any reason I can put my finger on. I suppose on the surface I love its intellect--not pretentious, not shy. Like me if I had followed my true calling instead of stuffing my brains into a construction hard-hat and dragging my knuckles like a cave dweller. The narrator has a row with Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. He undergoes a transformation as a result, just like I did so many years ago, which finally freed me from the grip of my past, giving me the strength to stand on my own, to have confidence in myself. It's too bad I didn't read it in high school. It might have been too soon anyway.

I have to read it again. Wolff's character meets Rand. The infamous author asks a selected group of students, "Who among you are writers?" Nobody moves. "Your meek little hearts stop you from raising your hand. Shame on you. The meek shall inherit nothing but a boot to the head."

Shame on me. I totally forgot.


Update: I just listened to the rest of the Ayn Rand section in the car at lunch, and it turns out that Wolff is taking a shot at Rand. Some of the audience members challenged her philosophy. It was a great scene. She apparently was quite full of herself. Someone asked her to name one American Novel that she loved, and she said, "Atlas Shrugged." Asked to name a second, "Fountainhead." She conceded that she really like Mikey Spillane. Mike Hammer, she said, vanquishes evil with clear purpose and conviction. I can't reproduce her words here, but the exchanges were brilliant. She was certainly full of herself.

But she had some points, and that is why so many people feel like she is a hero of sorts.


Toni Anderson said...

Haven't heard of that book. And sometimes we are just not ready for things in highschool. It is hard to stand up and say 'I'm a writer' you're putting yourself, heart and soul, on the line.

Good luck with your planning!!!

Anonymous said...

Turning the television off is a wonderful plan. I don't watch much, but even so, I shudder at how much I could get done if I eliminated all of it.

mr. schprock said...

I think you and your wife are on the right track. I remember reading Anthem in high school and thought Ayn Rand was awesome. Then a few years later I read The Fountainhead and thought Ayn Rand really should loosen up just a little bit. I'll never forget how she used the word "bromide" about a million times. To hear what this character has to say to her interests me. I might make that my next book.

Jeff said...

I agree with you about eliminating much of television. I rarely watch it anymore. I find the time I spend reading and writing much more valuable. :)

Scott said...

Toni - I know what you mean. The point Rand is making is that part of being a winner is declaring it.

Jason - Me too, and that's why we are trying to implement the plan.

Mr. Schprock - I think she could lighten up to a large degree too. I kind of fizzled out on her because of her intensity, so much so that I forgot about her good points. This book reminded me of just that. Of course I'm not all the way through his encounter with Rand...

Jeff - You are a better man than I, but I hope to also eliminate the tv from dominating my life.

Moni said...

Scott it's great that you and your wife are pursuing your interests. That takes discipline when at the end of the day you don't sit and veg in front of the t.v. Maybe someday I'll find the courage to do the same. lol

"If had followed my true calling instead of stuffing my brains into a hard-hat and dragging my knuckles like a cave dweller." Nothing wrong with that, made you who you are didn't it? Inspiration can come from all of our surroundings, ever read the story of the man who wrote "Fight Club"?

Scott said...

Moni, true enough. I don't mean to disparage the profession, or doing dirty work to make a living. It's very noble, and rewarding in ways white collar people could never understand. But it wasn't me. I wouldn't have been there had I followed my own muse instead of my father's, but I am thankful that I had the experiences I did. You're right of course.

I can't remember his name right now, but I plan to go on a spree of his books, the author of Fight Club. In fact, I have his web site bookmarked at home. Fight Club is just the kind of story I wish I had written. It was brilliant.

Kathleen said...

I was going to say that I had that book at home and now you've lit a fire under me to read it, but then when you started describing it, I realised I read it last year. I remember when I knew the title and author of every book I had ever read. Those days are long gone! Half the time I can start a book and be a good 20 pages into it before I realise I've read it before. The brain is gone!

Flood said...

Your meek little hearts stop you from raising your hand.

It's true, though. About Chuck Palahniuk- I liked Fight Club and Lullabye, but had some trouble with his other books. I think my problem is that I like something so much, I just want more of the same and get disappointed. My issue though, not the author's.

Ultra Toast Mosha God said...

Have a pop at reading 'Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance' if you get the chance.

magnetbabe said...

I can't not comment here about how much I love Chuck Palahmuik! Go read him!

Tee said...

Hmmm. Something for the reading list. I have to admit that since
I was about 16 years old I have been an Ayn Rand fan. We were
never assigned any of the books. I was very into the music by
the Classic Rock group RUSH. The drummer, Neil Peart, was also
the one who wrote the majority of their songs. If you don't know
RUSH, the song lyrics are a whole range of topics and simply
brilliant. I found out that the album "2112" (which I almost
had tattoed on my wrist and THANK GOD I never did. How ridiculous
that would look now. LOL.) - Anyhow, that album was inspired
by the book "Anthem" by Ayn Rand. I read it and was blown away
by all these "deep" ideas of individuality, etc. Then I read
"The Fountainhead". I think the character Howard Roark is one
of my favorites ever... Since I've gotten older I'm not so much
a fan of Rand, but I'll always love Howard Roark. Especially
when he's played by Gary Cooper in the movie - the end speech
in the courtroom is classic.

I love that meek hearts quote you have there. Awesome.

Tee said...

PS - Sorry for the crappy spacing. I typed it in notepad when my MIL interuppted my online session by using the phone. LOL. Yes - I blame all my problems on her ;)

The Zombieslayer said...

My mother loves Ann Rynd but I can't stand her. Her points she makes are too obvious. It's like "the sky is blue." Well, no sh*t. I'm not crazy about her style of writing.