what did you learn in school today?

In Current reading, Drafts, Film, Music, Poetry on November 11, 2013 at 9:26 am

Had I paid closer attention to the posted length of the movie, I wouldn’t have spent two hours and fifty-nine minutes on what the film director subtitled Chapters one and two in Adèle’s life.  Of course, had I left the screening during one of my moments of intense annoyance, I would have missed the best part: the final moments when Adèle walks off on her own while a young man comes racing out of the art gallery and starts running after her … in the wrong direction. Walk on, thought I, and here’s wishing you shorter and more interesting chapters three, four, and onward.

Life is a lot like that? Long, boring stretches of who-what-where-when-why am I. No doubt. A few less crying scenes, a few less sex scenes – in fact, one less hour on the final cut would make for a better cinematic rendition of the trials and travails involved in growing up. As for the sex scenes, what can I say? The film director got two actresses to act out his fantasy and thousands of moviegoers to share it with him. Endless expanses of bodies grappling and moaning bore me, whether the orgasmic show is real or simulated. Most people I know don’t experience sex from the outside, peep-show style. If the images or the words don’t suggest something about the inner experience – of sex or of any other human activity – I lose interest.

In fact, I found way more interest in the fascinating first chapter of a book titled Le dernier théorème de Fermat by Simon Singh (first published as Fermat’s Last Theorem; no surprise since the book was born from the BBC series Horizon and the interviews conducted for it.)

The part that held my attention in the first chapter titled “Je pense que je m’arrêterai ici ” (I think I’ll stop here): the fascinating discovery by one Hans-Hendrik Stolum, based on Pythagorean principles. While individual rivers may differ in their exact proportions, all meandering streams show a mean close to pi between their real length and the distance they cover. In other words, they balance and counterbalance their course somewhere between the straight line and the circle.

Which leads me straight back to Jim Harrison’s The Theory and Practice of Rivers and New Poems. Plus, no, if I get started on the plusses, I’ll meander way beyond pi.





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