Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Road.

After reading The Road by Cormac McCarthy I have realized that the images that words provoke are far more important than the words themselves. Lack of puctuation or conventional structure are also unimportant because we can paint our own picture in our mind without small technical things getting in the way. Who cares about commas and the lack of quotation marks anyway? It is how vivid the images light up in our mind that is important.

The story about a man going on the road with his son in a post-apocalyptic and deadly uncertain world resonates more with me now than ever because I am going to have my own son soon and I have realized that even the hardest and most cynical of men will love their children passionately and do anything to protect them from harsh realities of life. Teaching your son how to survive in the big bad world and yet preserve his innocence is not easy. You shouldn't let cynicism creep in too early.

Another great book I read recently is Kinski Uncut. It is the autobiography of the actor Klaus Kinski. I have only seen a few of his movies like Aguirre, the Wrath of God and Nosferatu but after reading the book I have become a fan of the crazy guy. The book has long been banned and is out of print because apparently it is a little too explicit for some and gives details about a few people who tried to stop it's publication. I heard about the book a long time ago and finally tracked it down on Ebay. It's the best purchase I have made recently.

Kinski was hated by many and was referred to as a "mad genius". He was an extremely hard worker and strove for perfection, but was frequently at odds with collaborators and directors like the great Werner Herzog. Off-screen, Kinski often appeared as a wild-eyed, sex-crazed maniac. The book describes his exploits in detail in the present tense as if everything is unfolding in the moment.

The last part of the book describes how devoted he is to his son. He is already middle-aged by then and sees his son as his last hope for salvation when he has given up on making stupid movies for stupid people. All he wants to do is spend every waking hour with his boy. His periods of separation from the boy and his mother drive him nuts and he is obssessive about being with them. While reading it you are aware that he comes across as an unbalanced psycho but nevertheless he is a psycho who has a lot of love to give and all he wants is some of that love back. His character flaws and struggle within himself makes him strangely sympathetic.

Another book that I have just started is Viktor Frankl's 1946 book Man's Search for Meaning which chronicles his experiences as a concentration camp inmate and describes his psychotherapeutic method of finding a reason to live. I read a little about his theory of logotherapy when I was studying philosophy in College. This book looks like it's another keeper.