Confession: I’ve kept a ‘notebook’ or ‘journal’ all of my adult life. All different kinds from classic black hard back artists sketch style to marbled black and white composition books like the kind I had in kindergarten. Plain and collaged with my own personal vision boards. Knowing all this I imagine you won’t be surprised to learn I love to read about the lives of great writers and poets. One of my dreams is to take a writers walking tour of London and Paris.. Or NYC! So many amazing writers and poets live have have lived, worked, played fought, loved and created in these places. Safe to say that such dreams are within reach. That first miracle I needed happened when I was home on Maui recently to see the amazing Dr.Joel Friedman, ‘shaman’ and author of Dear Isaac. On my way out the door, I grabbed a few more of my favorite books off the shelf including poet Mary Oliver’s Thirst, and Billy Collins “Questions About Angels“.
A few days later I opened my WordPress reader to learn that “Billy Collins, a former United States poet laureate who manages to send books onto the best-seller list, can now claim another feather in his cap: the sale of his archive to the UT at Austin, where his papers will sit beside the collections of such greats as E. E. Cummings and T. S. Eliot. They include dozens of notebooks containing observations, notes, doodles, clippings and extensive drafts of poems, published and unpublished. There is also wide correspondence, audio and video recordings, and childhood writings and diaries. Mr. Collins, 72, said by email that he had decided to sell his papers when he “started making a mental pile” and realized just how much material there was, including more than a few jottings on cocktail napkins, envelopes and other scraps. “I remember one occasion when the lines of a poem occurred to me while I was walking around the city with no pen and nothing to write on,” he said. “So I ducked into a bank and started writing the poem, standing up, on the backs of deposit slips. I used the bank pen that was attached to a desk with a chain, all of which made for a rather short poem. I tried to look very serious as if I were making a monster deposit.” Speaking of poetry and angels, I wanted to update you on The Sound and the Fury and let you in on a little secret that the rest of the world won’t hear about until the official press release next week at the Berlin Film Festival. The need EU distribution deal is in place and the film is going to premier at Cannes on May 2014 with James playing Benji and Seth Rogan playing against type as the sheriff! Talk about a feast for the senses. I’ve been invited to attend and if I can pull it off I intend to savor every French moment, and to post a special “engaging the senses” Cannes edition. To paraphrase Holden Caulfield, one of the all time great literary characters, “What really knocks me out is a movie that, when you’re all done watching it, you wish the director that made it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it.” This is how I am starting to feel about oscar nominated actor- director- writer of The Sound and the Fury, James Franco (Milk, 127 Hours, Homefront). It seems to me that James is redefining what it means to be an actor and a ‘hollywood star’ and in doing so has taken on the unlikely role of literary guardian angel. He’s already made two great American novels into films and played one of America’s great cultural figures, ‘Beat’ poet, Allen Ginsberg in “Howl”, and now he’s turned the iconic, outsider, writer and poet Charles ‘hank’ Bukowski’s “Ham on Rye” (one of Franco’s favorite books of all time) into a film staring Tim Blake Nelson (Lincoln, O Brother Where Art Thou?) and Alex Kingston (Like Crazy, ER) amongst others! Engagingly yours! Sabrina xXxoOo p.s. Billy’s new CD has been released. The live recording was part of a benefit for WNYC public radio and includes and improptu introduction by Bill Murray. You can purchase the CD here.Billy’s new book – The Trouble with Poetry is in bookstores.
Beautiful post, Sabrina. It occurred to me when reading it that the great value of these kinds of collections is the inspiring glimpse they give into the creative process, and how inchoate if often seems until it bears fruit. Also–congratulations on your invitation to Cannes! Finally, I’ll be able to read something cogent and valuable from that hotbed of the sublime and the ridiculous! (Writing this from my dad’s hospital room, while he finally gets some much-needed sleep. His life is a testament to the value of the creative process–it’s kept him alive and whole and with a bright, clear mind up to 93).