Thursday, September 9, 2010

The Circuitous Route

I seem to be a fan of the circuitous route, even when I try my hardest to adhere to the straight and narrow. Last week for example, I drove back from Petersburg to Richmond via 95 South, 295 North and Route 895--- a highway I didn't previously know existed but whose $2.75 toll plaza moved the term "highway robbery" to the forefront of my vocabulary. Getting home from the county dump continues to mystify me, even though I am perfectly capable of driving directly there when the piles in the backyard are adequate. My father once invented the term "spatial relations dyslexia" especially for me, but I am now trying to use this handicap of perspective to my advantage. Going at things sideways can be far more effective and far more interesting, especially when applied to packing, or art.

I forget the least stuff when I leave my suitcase (or canvas sack, really) in the corner of the bedroom for a 24-48 period of time and then throw something in it every time I walk past. Likewise, leaving word documents up on the screen and throwing words or phrases at them offhandedly doesn't give me that dreaded or (equally bad) overly ambitious feeling of Sitting Down to Write. And too, the books and movies that have left the strongest impression on my psyche never make it from Point A to Point B without scooping up and inspecting C-Z first.

"Out of Sheer Rage," Geoff Dyer's book about D.H. Lawrence is composed almost entirely of asides, completely brilliant in their neuroses. Ross McElwee's documentary "Sherman's March" is everything Sherman, but more importantly, everything but.

I admire linear thinkers, but if I am on the path to becoming one, it is via the most indirect route possible.


  1. I LOVE Sherman's March! I remember going to see it with my dad, and have seen it at least once more since then. I have one degree of separation from McElwee and a couple of his subjects because I lived in his hometown of Charlotte in the 1980s ~

  2. Dynamite!

    The "lady in black" has always been a mystery to me, and as we know, mystery is alluring.

    But surprises are nice too, especially delightful ones.

    The Write Life is a delight! The presentation is stylishly simple, yet still retains a touch of eloquence, regardless of how edgy or rough-and-tumble the prose. I especially appreciate the literary quotes artfully placed.

    "Mountain Baby" by Valley is provocative in an endearing way; and quite revealing.

    A cool blog by a cool lady.

    Robert Hartley