Here Comes Michael

IMG_6048Back in the fifties and sixties Michael was a very popular name for boys. Generally the very unscientific analysis of boys named Michael suggested either boys that were always getting into trouble or, later on, boys that whined a lot. My own experience with boys named Michael is a boy who grew up somewhat uneventful and now demonstrates his rebelliousness quietly reading Ezra Pound and Allen Ginsberg.

But almost without warning a new Michael is rapidly growing in the Gulf and heading right for my house.

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Greetings From Apalachicola

images.jpgIt has been about ten months since my daughter moved me down to Florida to make her family unit multigenerational: her two kids at one end and me at the other. Most of the construction is now completed and I am very comfortable in my two rooms with all my books, my T-shirts, and my dog Ricky (we miss Luci).

This last weekend the more active members of the family spent a few days cavorting at the beaches of the gulf and I stayed behind to enjoy cold-brewed coffee and read poems by Allen Ginsberg. It was only two days but the peacefulness of being alone with my thoughts was refreshing. When the family returned, my precocious little granddaughter brought me a cowry shell with Apalachicola engraved on its top and a gold sticker announcing Made in the Philippines on the bottom.

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Tomorrow, Tomorrow, Tomorrow

imgres.jpgWell, I’m fully moved to Florida and now sitting at a small desk experimenting with a new environment: the desk drawer is much smaller, the side-cabinet is in the other room, I still haven’t found the box which contains the contents of my old desk, including fountain pens, letter openers, eye juice, extra notebooks & writing paper, and, most important, my great big magnifying glass.

But it is gradually working out with me and my dogs living with my daughter’s family and her cats and kids. I’m looking forward to construction of the sunroom addition which will house my built-in desk and bookshelves and just about double my living space.

I notice that there are no alligators in the backyard here but the pygmy mosquitoes more that make up for the danger factor.

I have been allocating a bit more time to cleaning up my Netflix inventory, watching one or two movies each day and following too many television (or Netflix) series. My reading is almost exclusively on my digital devices (iPad and iPhone) since my books are in a couple of dozen sealed boxes with no particular place else to go.

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Sunset Park

Sunset Park

This novel, Sunset Park by Paul Auster, has it all: Cuban immigrants in Florida, Broadway actresses in Manhattan, students struggling to write their graduate theses, guilt over a brother’s death, a lonely female artist who exchanges oral favors to get men to pose naked for her, a hint of homosexuality, squatters living in an abandoned house, movies, plays, typewriter repair, “Lolita” love, and a less than idyllic neighborhood known as Sunset Park, Brooklyn.

Although not as complex as an Irving Wallace novel, Auster does do a credible job of developing his themes and characters, tosses in enough background knowledge to cause literary wonks a tingle or two, and generally provides a realistic narrative without too much sordidness or unnecessary cuteness. However, the novel only provides a low-intensity assault on the reader’s comfort level and would probably scores fairly low on the Kafka scale.

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