Thursday, March 4, 2010

In Plein Air

Catching up on my reading is proving easier now that I'm able to sit next to an open window and catch a breath of the yard as it slowly hardens into a well-tracked clay interspersed with fluffy emerald poofs of not-grass. It's like the yard itself is dreaming of what it used to be or what it could have become without all those pines.

I finished the latest Realms of Fantasy, glad to notice that the sleep-editing of the previous issue seems to have been replaced by a more alert perusal of the text. I like the new format, including moving the gaming and movie reviews to the front and letting the stories run beginning to end and ending with reviews, almost like suggestions for additional reading. The only quibbles I found where the completely uncritical look at paranormal television shows--just because I read fantasy doesn't mean that I don't live in reality--and the oddly truncated artist interview. The artist interview also contained no labels for the artwork pictures (which made understanding the references made in the interview tricky). Although the Q&A format was a turnoff (the artist either didn't completely answer the lengthy printed questions or had his responses edited for space--why not edit the questions as well?), the pictures themselves were unusual and an unexpected choice that I enjoyed very much.

Those pictures reminded me (sorry) of some of the posters that used to hang on the walls of Mr. Gatti's when I was growing up. Italian prints of art works that showed figures that seemed to be wearing clownish outfits yet didn't exude a 'funny' vibe. More like clowns as just another group of genderless people, stacked on bicycles on their way to their jobs.

While these images quietly tweaked my perceptions while I waited for my pizza with extra pizza, a giant TV set and arcade games competed for my attention. Similar to my working environment today, there are things that I can focus on to lose time, repetitive actions that reward behavior in electronic pellet format, and things that add to my awareness of my surroundings and push me back into my thoughts. Surely this is part of the description post earlier. Knowing what is distraction, what is obfuscation, and what will truly open up a sense of wonder. Wonder, by the way, is one of the keys to an engaging story. On the whole, ROF put out a successful issue by reminding me of that fact.

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