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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

The Reeler wonders what's not from a Bergman film

bergman_1.jpgTake it away, Stu: “I live kind of a pathetic little life in Jersey City, N.J. There’s the tiny apartment I just moved into, with the home office, two disused CD players, a stack of unpaid bills, an empty refrigerator and more dirty clothes than I can sometimes afford to wash. Traffic noise persists virtually around the clock. None of the bodegas in the neighborhood sell beer, and none of the liquor stores sell food. The last tenant took the air conditioners he pledged to leave behind. I’m too cheap to replace them. Across Montgomery Street is a church that I spy every day and from which a cloudburst of hymns sneaks through its three-story facade each weekend. It’s a Spanish-language church; I can’t make out a word of it. But there’s something very familiar about its weekday quietude — the boxy crosses and weathered wooden doors, the tiny vestibule tucked between the bases of twin spires, the faded blue and yellow windows against the sand-colored walls, an old, humble monolith that would apologize for its own symmetry if it could. In my lapses of workaday self-pity, I stare out the window and think, “It’s like a scene from a Bergman film.” Well, of course it is. Everything is like a scene from a Bergman film…” [Much more at the link.]

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“With every table in the dining room occupied and me, the only waiter, neglecting the needs of a good fifty patrons, I approached Roth. Holding out Balls as a numbness set into the muscles of my face, I spoke. “Sir, I’ve heard you say that you don’t read fiction anymore, but I’ve just had my first novel published and I’d like to give you a copy.”

“His eyes lifting from his iPhone, he took the book from my hands. He congratulated me. Then, staring at the cover, he said, “Great title. I’m surprised I didn’t think of it myself.”

“These words worked on me like a hit of morphine. Like two hits. It felt as if I was no longer the occupant of my own body. The legs had gone weak, the ears warmed, the eyes watered, the heart rate increased rapidly. Barely able to keep myself upright, I told him, “Thank you.”

“Then Roth, who, the world would learn sixteen days later, was retiring from writing, said, in an even tone, with seeming sincerity, “Yeah, this is great. But I would quit while you’re ahead. Really, it’s an awful field. Just torture. Awful. You write and write, and you have to throw almost all of it away because it’s not any good. I would say just stop now. You don’t want to do this to yourself. That’s my advice to you.”

“I managed, “It’s too late, sir. There’s no turning back. I’m in.”

“Nodding slowly, he said to me, “Well then, good luck.”

“After which I went back to work.”
~ Julian Tepper

“Any form of physical or sexual assault is a very serious matter, potentially a legal matter. But I’m also wondering, what about having some kind of “extreme asshole” clause? I know lots of people who have been abused verbally and psychologically. That’s traumatizing, too. What do we do with that?  It takes a lot of energy to be an asshole. The people I admire most just aren’t interested in things that take away from their ability to make stuff. The people I really respect, and that I’ve met who fit this definition, have a sense of grace about them, because they know that there is no evolving and there is no wisdom without humility. You can’t get better if you behave in a way that shuts people off. You can’t! You don’t have all the ideas necessary to solve something. You don’t! I’m sure if you spoke to Harvey in his heyday and said to him what I just said to you, he would believe that he accomplished all that he had because of the way he behaved.”
~ Steven Soderbergh