Thursday, May 14, 2009

Rick Moody

I went to the Zendo last night for a reading by novelist Rick Moody, who is perhaps best known for writing “The Ice Storm.” He read a new short story and a “collage poem,” in which he takes snippets of text from other writings by or about a subject and puts them together to create poetry. I was intrigued by the technique, though he said it takes immense amounts of reading to find the right components for the new poem.

It was great to meet him and hear more of his work. Ang Lee made a movie version of “The Ice Storm” that’s one of my favorite films ever, partly because I identify with the subject -- growing up in a home with marital discord in the early 1970s. (Plus it has a terrific cast: Kevin Kline, Joan Allen, Tobey Maguire, Christina Ricci, Elijah Wood and Sigourney Weaver.)

Last night, I dreamed that my mother wrote a book. It was a fat paperback about her life, illustrated with photos of places she’d been, family members and trips she’d taken. I remember part of it was about the friends and neighbors of my grandparents. In the dream it seemed entirely plausible that she would do such a thing, even though in real life Mom is not one to expound on any subject when writing. When I was in the Peace Corps, I'd get letters from her that were no more than a few sentences long -- and she almost never takes photos. I think Rick Moody must have influenced my dreams!

(Photo: Street art in Hollywood, May 2009)


  1. I once got a birthday card from Mom, when I lived in Colorado, that said, "I hope you get yourself a cake. Love, Mother."

    I wouldn't hold your breath about her writing a book!

  2. Definitely! The impact of that talk was huge because usually you don't remember your dreams in great detail. Fantastic!

    I too love the film The Ice Storm. I should put that on my netflix list. Thanks for reminding me.

    The image is really powerful - that hand. Wow.

  3. I love the idea of a collage poem. All of us could probably put together meaningful snippets, but probably not so artfully. The LA graffiti is definitely different from that in NY. Very powerful hand!

  4. I don't know Rick Moody at all but love the idea of poetry collages (but - oh the work involved, for sure).

    My first thought on reading the dream was: and what if he were to write it as the mother's inner voice telling the story? Seems like there's a lot there to explore.

    The hand almost looks like an x-ray. Very powerful indeed.

  5. Great dream. I love Ang Lee films, all that crackling ice in The Ice Storm... even the ice cube trays...