Sunday, September 5, 2010

Now tell me pretty baby, do you think you're too sweet to die?

This is a post on death and dying.
Death is in the air. The death of summer. The death of freedom. The death of uncertainty. Pretty dramatic, huh?
As I realized that the warm months were slowly coming to a close, I found that my choices in literature were had a morbid thread running through it. I listened to this book on tape:

This was one of my favorite books. I first began reading it on a plane back from D.C. The book took me a while to read, and for some reason, it struck a chord. But the audio version almost killed it for me. The narrator chose to deliver most of the writing as snide and clever. I didn't like that choice. It bothered me so much, that I traded off between reading and listening so that the book could maintain some of it's charm. I am quite sensitive. But ANYWAY. Spoiler: People die. Actually, you know right from the beginning of the book. Hannah Schneider is dead, Blue Van Meer found her that way. She leads us through the series of unfortunate events with name dropping and detailed references on the way. It is a nice fall read, but not a nice fall listen

I then listened to Chuck Klosterman's "Killing Yourself to Live". A much better choice to listen to.

Dr. Buonforte, one of my anthropology teachers, has taught the importance of seeing photos of the authors you are reading. Otherwise, you may build up a false image of them in your mind. So here is what he looks like.

Pretty much how I thought he would look.
This was a great book on tape, all thanks to the narrator. His name is Patrick Lawlor. I feel like he is a guy who read this book, and said to all his friends, "Dude! this is an awesome book, let me read it to you!" So I'm saying, it doesn't really sound like Chucks voice, but the voice of some guy who really likes him and his writing. I especially liked the way he said "anyway". Kind of like this: ANYWAY - the pitch is high- AN- low-Y-middle-WAY; and very forced. wish I paid more attention in the dramatic linguistics class in high school. Then I could write exactly what it sounds like. Then I could explain to you what this is: ə . Did you know there is a linguistics club at BYU? ANYWAY...
This book made me think about several things. First, if I were so inclined, would I be a "pot/creedence contingent" person or a "coke/interpol" person? I listen to more interpol, but I would like to think I am more good-natured, like the former category. But considering the hardest thing I will allow my body to ingest is Dr. Pepper I would probably make up a whole new category. I also really liked his section comparing Radioheads Kid/A and 9/11. Trippy. The book is not perfect, and his language is a bit loose for my post mission ears, and I really wouldn't want to have Klosterman as a boyfriend; but the audiobook is the bees knees.
I didn't really tell you what is was about. Klosterman goes all around to where rock stars have died. It seems like it is a rock rule that if you die an "interesting" death, you reach legendary status; more so than if you had simply aged gracefully. Hence the title. Rock star's music really comes "alive" after they are dead.
It's just like this poem I found by Emily Dickenson:

A death-blow is a life-blow to some
Who, till they died, did not alive become;
Who, had they lived, had died, but when
They died, vitality begun.

Why is that? I will always remember NOT going when Elliott Smith played Redfest (which I think was his final show ever). I was just an awkward high school kid, and I don't think any of my friends at the time were really into him. Plus, the idea of college students being there was terrifying to me. I think he died a year later, and my stomach plummeted and my heart lodged up in my throat when I heard about it. But still, I wonder if people would still think of him as such a wonder if he were alive today? I think that I would.
Which bring me to another master of death that I have already mentioned, Emily Dickenson.

I've had a book of her poems lying around for literally 10 years that I hadn't gotten around to reading till last month. Interestingly, of the few bits of poetry I've memorized in my life, it is hers that I never forget.

I like a look of Agony,
Because I know it's true—
Men do not sham Convulsion,
Nor simulate, a Throe—

The Eyes glaze once—and that is Death—
Impossible to feign
The Beads upon the Forehead
By homely Anguish strung.

Quite something. That and "She walks in beauty like the night..." blah blah blah. I memorized that one to the tune of Weezer's "Butterfly". ANYWAY. I've never been much into poetry, so this is a pretty good start.
Well enough of this heavy stuff.
I'm still alive, in my second to last fall semester at BYU. There is so much to do. More updates coming. Thanks for being patient with me.

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