Tuesday, May 30, 2017

THE NIGHT OCEAN



This is a case of book design getting me to pick up the book. The sky appeared to swirl around the moon, and then I saw the silhouetted arm sticking out of the waves. I stopped and picked up the book and read the jacket copy and checked it out (from my local library).

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The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge was categorized and shelved as a mystery by the library, but I would have placed it in literary fiction.

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It was promoted as being inspired by "H. P. Lovecraft and his circle," but it is less H. P. Lovecraft and his Cthulhu Mythos than it is Robert Bolaño and his novel The Savage Detectives. It is a love story to literature through the lens and lives of some of the purveyors of weird fiction.

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The main stories are anchored upon two apparent (although maybe not) suicides—Charlie Willett in the present day and Robert Barlow in 1951—and the author/weird fiction fan L. C. Spinks who is their connection. A possibly homosexual relationship between Barlow and Lovecraft and the discovery of The Erotonomicon underlie all. And it is all complicated by Charlie Willett's fandom of Lovecraft, as a black man who reads and relishes a (now) known (and known to him) racist.

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There are plenty of references and appearances by authors of weird fiction and science fiction—
Frederick Pohl, Clark Ashton Smith, August Derleth, Donald Wandrei, Hart Crane, Ambrose Bierce. Williams S. Burroughs appears in multiple storylines as one-named "characters" Bill and Lee, in addition to some of his famous "routines" from Naked Lunch being mentioned.

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For as many of the literary "in jokes" that I got, I'm sure there were twice as many that I missed. The characters are so well written and their stories so compelling that I found myself reading late into the night and filling up my free time with reading so I could find out what happened next. 

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I highly recommend this book to fans of mysteries, science fiction, biographies, and literary fiction.

Monday, May 29, 2017

APPROACHING SUNSET


Altocumulus clouds fill the sky as sunset approaches.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

INKTOPODES (now in blue, too)


"Rorschach" ("Inktopodes" #24)—watercolor, gouache, and India ink on 3″ x 3″ watercolor paper, by Troy Kehm-Goins.

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The "Inktopodes" will be available at the spring 2017 Destiny City Zine Symposium. In addition to orange Inktopodes, now there is also a new series of blue Inktopodes. Each unique individual comes in a small frame and with an official Troy’s Work Table Publishing “adoption certificate,” all for the reasonable and affordable price of $10 each.

Come and visit the TWTP table and start your own "octopus garden"!

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Destiny City Zine Symposium
Saturday 27 May 2017 • 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Destiny City Comics and King's Books, 218 St. Helens Ave, Tacoma WA 98402

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"Every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it."

—"The Mast-Head," chapter 35, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Thursday, May 11, 2017

A QUIET PASSION


I'm on a date with my Secret Girlfriend, or at least a Cynthia Nixon/Terence Davies rendering of her.

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A Quiet Passion is about faith, family, a woman's place in nineteenth-century New
England society. It is a series of meditations upon melancholia. It is a "pushing back" against the dictates and expectations of patriarchy, "within reason." It is filled with uncomfortable silences, beautiful gardens, exquisite cinematography, and, toward the end, scenes of illness and death.

But, primarily, the film is about the passage of time, which is explored in mostly "soft" and subtle ways.

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My favorite scenes are when just Emily (Cynthia Nixon) and her sister Vinnie (Jennifer Ehle) are on screen. They banter and cajole, pressing one another, scolding one another, forgiving one another, and loving one another. Their scenes together are filled with power and love—both familial and friendship. Yes, they may be sisters, but they are obviously also great friends.

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One of my favorite scenes is early in the film and involves a shot that circles (counter-clockwise and therefore "against" time) around the Dickinson living room at night, while the family members quietly read, sew, and sit in a room illuminated by candlelight, lamplight, and the fire in the hearth. It begins with young Emily reading and ends with her in tears, moved by what she has read.

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After our date, my Secret Girlfriend and I settle in at home for more intimate moments together.

Thursday, May 04, 2017

INKTOPODES


"Ceto" ("Inktopodes" #19)—watercolor, gouache, and India ink on 3″ x 3″ watercolor paper, by Troy's Work Table.

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The "Inktopodes" will be available for the first time at PuliCon 2017, Puyallup Public Library's Mini Comic Convention. Each unique individual comes in a small frame and with an official Troy’s Work Table Publishing “adoption certificate,” all for the reasonable and affordable price of $10 each.

Come and visit the TWTP table and start your own “octopus garden”!

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PuliCon 2017
Saturday 06 May 2017 • 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Puyallup Public Library, 324 South Meridian, Puyallup WA 98371

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"Every strange, half-seen, gliding, beautiful thing that eludes him; every dimly-discovered, uprising fin of some undiscernible form, seems to him the embodiment of those elusive thoughts that only people the soul by continually flitting through it."

—"The Mast-Head," chapter 35, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville