UNDER THE INFLUENCE
Have you ever wandered in the footsteps of a favorite writer?
They asked us about New York, and I saw in their eyes that they romanticized our city as much as we did theirs, and wondered if they would be disappointed if they visited. Or if, on their last night, they might find exactly what they’d hoped for.
I thought I was reading to take me back, in geography and in my own life. A way to revisit the teeming humanity on the train platform. The cardamom boiling in the milk for tea. The bitter smoke of morning air. A way to turn from the last page back to the first.
Barbara pursed her lips and said we would begin the harvest in a few days. I would stomp the grapes with my bare feet and purple my palms. We would make wine, for better or worse.
At the center, the ellipse was a shelter, a hurricane’s eye, an intake of breath. I wanted to lay down there, to hold his hand, never to leave.
I was sure there were missing pages or I was misremembering the story of Dracula. I soon realized, though, that I wasn’t looking for an exquisitely crafted translation or even a new understanding of Dracula. Rather, I was reveling in the fact that one of my favorite stories had made its way to my favorite place in the world.
After the killing was done, the deep silence of the desert returned, and I must have fallen back asleep quickly. When I awoke at sunrise, the whole thing seemed like a dream. I went to pee in the outhouse, and when I was done I ventured into the dawn-washed desert, looking for the kill site, for any evidence of what I had heard.
The whole park is like this: lake and sky, gloom and glass. Time itself passes according to its own rules: the sun rises and sets, shadows spin like sundials, years go by in seconds, tree leaves curl up and fall.
The historian is like Merlin, living backwards from the future, knowing what the world is, but having to infer why. As we peer into the past, the view grows less distinct, until it vanishes in a fog.
While much of the media was focused on the Summer of Love, Didion focused on the darker side. The country was not in open revolt, but there was a brewing discontent.
IN THE STUDIO
"At the edges of language, caught between here and elsewhere, there is hope that if we look out of the corners of our eyes, we can sometimes catch the metaphors lying round about, hidden in the most ordinary words, in wait for the possibility of surprise."