Saturday, October 25, 2003

As you wish... 

This morning I drove to the Westside for my therapist appointment, for which I was twenty minutes late. Still a good session, talking about the events of this week. Afterwards I was rather hungry, since I hadn't had breakfast yet and I didn't have dinner last night (by the time I was hungry for dinner it was 10pm - I don't like to eat dinner so late, especially since I was in bed and asleep by 11:30pm). A nice big breakfast was called for. Except for one hitch. Unbelievably, I had no book with me. How could I eat breakfast in a restaurant with no book to occupy my attention? Inconceivable.

Since this was not to be borne, I drove to a nearby Barnes and Noble, intending to pick up a Neil Gaiman book. I had just started Neverwhere, having been given it by FFDWG(FKaSarah) - she loves his comic books but wasn't terribly impressed by the novel - but I left it in my carry-bag at home (I'm going to have to come back to Tom Wolfe novel I'm currently 200 pages into). I had recently read an Entertainment Weekly article on the man and was intrigued, especially having heard so much about him over the last few years. And CuteNerdBoy had recently stated that he saw two more heads sprouting from my shoulder when I admitted that I was unfamiliar with his work. (It's a little joke between us.)

So I thought that American Gods would be the book to buy, since the EW article mentioned it would be good for Gaiman virgins to pick up.

I walked into the bookstore, headed straight for the science fiction/fantasy section, and found the desired book. As I pulled it from the shelf my eyes wandered over the other book spines. And I saw it. A book I'd been meaning to read for ages, but had never gotten around to. A book that is on the list of "Books to Read" that I carry around with me everywhere, constantly jotting down more and more titles. A book that is the basis for one of my favorite movies of all time.

The Princess Bride.

In my estimation, and in the estimation of anyone with a modicum of intelligence, humor and good taste, The Princess Bride is simply one of the most perfect movies ever made. Not just in Hollywood or on Earth, but in the entire universe. I've seen it many times, though, unfortunately, not to the point where I can quote it word for word. But that's mainly because the only time I've been good at memorizing dialogue was when I worked on a play. And usually when the run was over, most of the dialogue I'd just memorized leaked out of my head.

(Sometimes I think Sherlock Holmes was right: the brain is more like an attic than an elastic room - when new knowledge is acquired, old knowledge can be pushed out or shoved to the back.)

But I've known enough to play "Quote The Princess Bride" with the owner of a coffee shop I used to frequent when I worked at Disney. And once upon a time I threw a Princess Bride video party for my female friends, incidentally introducing ModelGirl to the movie. She had never wanted to see it, but afterwards she admitted that it was better than she thought it would be. I still don't understand why she's not addicted to it, but we do have very different tastes in movies. For instance, she loves Titanic, which I think is one of the most over-blown pieces of tripe ever created (the main focus of the story is intensely uninteresting, as are the lead characters - which is saying something since I really like Kate Winslet - thank G-d for Victor Garber, David Warner and Bernard Fox) and both she and her husband loathed Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, which I loved enough to see it twice in the theaters, something I very rarely do.

So, the movie. Love it. The screenplay. The directing. The music. The cinematography and production values. The fencing (I'm a big fan of fencing scenes, thanks to Basil Rathbone). And the casting. Unbelievably inspired casting (especially Mandy Patinkin - I've adored him for years) . Sheer perfection, all of it. So it's not surprising that, when seeing the title in front of my eyes, calling to me, pulling at my eyelids and propping them open so that I could see the little paperback even more clearly, I would be compelled to add it to American Gods. For half a second I debated. Should I get one or the other? I ended up buying both, the clerk asking me if I had yet read Neverwhere. We spoke Gaiman for a couple of minutes.

Later, as I sat at a booth in Marie Callendar's, waiting for my veggie omelet (the vegan thing ain't going so well, though I'm still firmly vegetarian), a debate again raged in my head. Which book should I read? I wasn't that familiar with Neil Gaiman, so maybe I should start with something new and exciting. But William Goldman was whispering my name, his soft words a gentle breath caressing the inner lobes of my brain. Insistent and perceptive, recognizing the need for humor in my life right now, he seduced my little gray cells, delicately, deftly stroking my mental pleasure centers. I was powerless to resist.

I'm so glad I didn't. Just the forward (in honor of the 25th anniversary of the book) and the opening chapter are full of wonderful, wondrous words. I'm not that far into the book just yet, but I know I'm not going to regret my choice, or the fortuitous bit of chance that put the book in my line of sight.

It's a shame I have so much to do this weekend. And that I'm driving and not riding the bus for now. I must get back to this book.

Rest assured, I will.

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Carol/Female/36-40. Lives in United States/California/Los Angeles/San Fernando Valley, speaks English. Spends 40% of daytime online. Uses a Normal (56k) connection.
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