A cold snap that kills all the new leaves is an ambiguous way to usher in Easter, the holiday of renewal and new life, but my Easter visit with my family was invigorating nonetheless. Spending time with my family was a blessing, and it sounds like my brother's going through a potentially rewarding set of trials. He's interning at one of Music Row's many song publishing companies, and now he's got the gig of listening to their song demos, pairing them up with likely performers, and pitching the songs to the performers' staff. The next country album you listen to, if you listen to modern country, might include a song my brother matchmade. Of course if they give this gig to interns it may not be quite as hot a job as it sounds like to starry-eyed l'il Aaron.
I sat in on a Sunday School lesson my Dad taught; it's obvious Dad would like to get more intellectual dialectic going, but the sweet elderly people in the audience were obviously more attuned to folk wisdom and familiar pieties than to the eggheadedness of Dad's Robert Nouwen-inflected lesson. They seem awful impressed by him, though. There's another Sunday School group there that I usually attend when I visit, and it's much more up for brainy discourse and Scriptural parsing. It's also about a half-dozen people.
We watched Robert Altman's McCabe and Mrs. Miller, which is one of my Dad's faves; Mom seems a bit ambivalent about it. I loved it, and it inspired a family discussion about violence. I was intrigued that the first violence in the film takes place about two-thirds of the way in. Dad pointed out that I'd forgotten a s--bbing early in the film, probably because it's done in Altmanesque mise-en-scene rather than more upfront Hollywood Violence Mode, and Mom pointed out that the story is violent against women almost from the start, since most women in it are subjugated in prostitution. McCabe is a wanna-be Alpha Male who succeeds on a tiny scale, but soon finds that as more people come to town he is neither the best business mind nor the hardest tuff guy in town. It's a familiar story, since we've all seen or lived it, but it's more familiar in life than in movies. There are plenty of underdog stories in movies, but not many that deal with a gap between the underdog's self image and the reality. Also; although I've never indulged in illegal drugs, stories about opium and heroin, the numbing drugs, appeal to me somehow. Naked Lunch, novel and film, intrigue me just as hard-headed Mrs Miller's succumbing to opium intrigues me. Burroughs writes that a heroin-user can stare at a shoe for hours, and that the heroin junkie's surroundings have NO EMOTIONAL AFFECT. I can't sit still and get focused, and everything in my surroundings is coiled with explosive emotional affect for me. So it's a good thing for me that Burroughs points out this artificial Buddha mind dissolves as soon as the junk runs out, and the junkie goes mad for more junk.