Sunday, December 13, 2015

Naked As the Eyes of a Clown

It's the time of year of life that calls for the cliche, the trite. I'm still here, none the worse for the wear. What does that mean? I think that photo was taken in 1964 or 1965. Fifty some odd (another weird string of words) years ago. I looked pretty damn serious. Funny thing is that I never could stand Bugs Bunny.

I have nothing to report, to write. I went to hear Percival Everett speak and read yesterday afternoon at my favorite independent bookstore, Chevalier. I'm reading Everett's new collection of short stories -- Half an Inch of Water.  Ranching. Horses. Animals. Dogs. Old women who find portals to alternate vistas. They're extraordinary and seductive. How's that for adjectives? Adjectival. Every time I open the book, I start singing John Prine's song, and yesterday I asked Percival whether he'd thought of that song when he titled the book. He said, No, it was an expression my mother always used. Then he said the lyrics to the Prine song -- all of them. 

Here are a few:

I was sitting in the bathtub, counting my toes
When the radiator broke, the water all froze
I got stuck in the ice without my clothes
Naked as the eyes of a clown
I was crying ice cubes,
and hoping I'd croack
When the sun came through the window
the ice all broke
I stood up and laughed
I thought it was a joke
That's the way
that the world goes round

Extraordinary and seductive. Sweetness.

I met John Prine a few times when I lived in Nashville. He was a nice guy with a crinkly smile. He seemed up to no good in the best of ways. Cliche. He'd play out in the country at these things called Harvest Moon concerts -- lots of people playing music under the stars, famous and obscure (both the stars and the people). It was the way the world went round.

Extraordinary and seductive. Sweetness.


  1. Every time you say you have nothing to write, you write something interesting.
    In 1964 I was going to a Beatles concert, precariously standing on a folding metal chair and screaming my head off in a white wool suit my mother made for me...especially for the occasion.

  2. That's your idea of "nothing to write"?

    I haven't listened to John Prine in years. I should break out one of his CDs. And I'll have to watch for Everett -- I don't know his writing at all!

    That's a great photo. It's poignant that you got a present featuring a beloved children's character that deep down you disliked! (I used to LOVE Bugs Bunny as a kid.)

  3. It was your resemblance to your young children that caught my attention--that and the phantasmagoric Santa Claus that looks about half a second away from coming to life.

  4. Again, you have knocked me to my knees.

  5. Wow...I wish I could write like that when I think I have nothing to say...

  6. I'm beyond impressed that you met John Prine, and know an author who can sing all the lyrics to one of his songs, or know them yourself.
    I am a lifelong fan of John Prine and we always listen to both discs of his Anthology whenever we go camping. It's a tradition.
    Such a serious look on your face. I never cared for Bugs Bunny either and really do not like those jack in the box toys, so I feel your little self. :)

  7. When I look at that picture of you I see little Sophie. I too disliked Bugs Bunny and found Jack in the box toys creepy. I'm clown phobic too, though I find the title of this post haunting and I contemplated it for a long time. What an extraordinary post. Your writing is such that in your hands cliches are fresh and powerful. You spin them just enough to dazzle. You dazzle me.



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