WWSP's "The Alternate Boot!"

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Reading Fiction. I Recommend It.

Reading. Reading fiction. I recommend it. I used to do it almost exclusively when I was young.  Then later in life, I gravitated to "non-fiction," histories, biographies. I also got totally obsessed reading books on music and music-makers. Lately, I am back to fiction. There is something extraordinary and uncommon about a good novel. It is an art-form unlike any other.

I am reading Marlon James' masterful "A Brief History of Seven Killings," (the spirit of the great music-maker Bob Marley hovers over the story). Before that I disappeared into Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov." Crazy, agrarian, pre-communist Russia. Mad emotion unbound. Time-tripping, indeed.

The best novels take you to other worlds, you inhabit other human beings. You live in other minds. It is so refreshing. Humanizing. It's best to sink into and experience human beings who are foreign to yourself. Expansive. Opens your head, your heart, your spirit. Bathing in other conscious beings.

You learn. You experience. You change. The process changes you. Art working on you on a very intimate, all-consuming, enveloping level. Subtle & powerful.

The a.m. soundtrack - The "Before Night Falls"  film soundtrack. (2000). A great film by Julian Schnabel. Our first introduction to the amazing Javier Bardem. What a tremendous actor. A beautiful, heart-breaking film, based on an autobiography by the Cuban poet Reinaldo Arenas. The soundtrack is a compilation of 60's Cuban music with some original orchestral music from Carter Burwell. Gorgeous. Other-worldly. It all rises to a heart-swelling climax. You inhabit a time and place that no longer exists. Except, of course, in the grooves, in our hearts, heads, souls.

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