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Match Play is a golf/suspense novel. Dust of Autumn is a bloody one set in upstate New York. Prairie View is set in South Dakota, with a final scene atop Rattlesnake Butte. Life in the Arbor is a children's book about Rollie Rabbit and his friends (on about a fourth grade level). The Black Widow involves an elaborate extortion scheme. Doggy-Dog World is my memoir. And ES3 is a description of my method for examining English sentence structure.
In case anyone is interested in any of my past posts, an archive list can be found at the bottom of this page.
My newest novel, Happy Valley, can be found here.

Wednesday, February 17

Old Age & 45 Years

Today, Hal Holbrook is celebrating his ninety-first birthday. Now that I’m up in years (Now there’s a euphemism if I ever heard one.), I keep track of famous people’s ages to see where I fit in with them. In this case, I’m nine years younger than Hal, and I remember when I first saw him doing his television show in 1967, Mark Twain Tonight, that I thought he was a really old man. He was then forty-three. And I thought of him as an old man. I used a recording of him doing Mark Twain for years and years when I taught American Literature. And now he’s ninety-one. And I’m eighty-two. I even take some notice of the obituaries in the paper to see at what age people are dying. I took note of Antonin Scalia’s age when he died, seventy-nine. So I’m three years older than Justice Scalia. A little obsessive, you say? Yes, I guess it is. I’m not being morbid, just curious about aging and dying. I look in the mirror and see a man I don’t think of as old. Selective viewing, I guess. But then I see people here in Sun City West whom I’ve known for over twenty years, and they seem to have aged much less gracefully than I have. Selective viewing again.

Today, I went to the theatre to see 45 Years because Charlotte Rampling is up for best actress. Tom Courtney plays Geoff Mercer, her husband of forty-five years, which would have made him about seventy, twelve years younger than I am. And he looked like a rickety, unshaven old man. It was a strange movie. Almost nothing happened. It was a week-long movement from the time he received news that his past love Katya had been discovered in ice high up in the mountains in Switzerland to Geoff and Kate’s celebratory anniversary party. Katya had fallen into a deep ravine when she and Geoff were hiking, and her body, irrecoverable, has been frozen in time and space in crystalline ice. And for most of the film we are shown closeups of Kate as she tries to understand her husband’s past, his neglecting ever to tell her about his first love Katya, his growing preoccupation with memories of his lost Katya. The movie comes full circle with the sound of Kate’s humming “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes” at film’s beginning to the couple’s dancing to the same song at their party. As I said, a strange movie, but one that was an interesting study in the facial acting of Charlotte Rampling, who certainly deserves the nomination for best actress, but who doesn’t stand a ghost of a chance of winning.
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