Monday, June 22, 2015

Evanston: James Salter; the gym; THE WAY; sinking

        James Salter died a few days ago.  THE NY TIMES in a fine obituary calls him ‘a writer’s writer’, and others ‘the best writer you’ve never heard of’.  Well, I have heard of him and admire him greatly.
        I read his first novel, THE HUNTERS, earlier this year and immediately bought Kindle editions of several of his other books, though I have not yet read them.  The obituary caused me to download LIGHT YEARS as well.
        I kept THE HUNTERS on my Kindle, knowing I will want to reread it.  Set in The Korean War, in which Mr. Salter was himself a fighter pilot, it is much more than a ‘war novel.’   I highly recommend it.
        Mr. Salter died at age 90.  His last nov el was published at age 88.

        I don’t believe in expensive exercise equipment.
        Mine consists of an elastic band and two 5 pound weights, which are actually Carol’s.
        You could also count shoes in which I walk.  Unsurprisingly mine are boat shoes.  And a $150 bicycle I bought at Target.  It has 21 gears, of which here on the flatlands, 20 are superfluous.  In San Diego I had a one speed.  Friends asked me why I didn’t have a better bike and I said I wasn’t trying to make it easy on myself, I was trying to make it hard.
        Our building’s stairwell is also part of my gym.  That’s one flight in the photo above.  I’ve assigned myself twenty a day.  Starting at the bottom and going to the roof is six flights.  This may become expensive if the condo board discovers that I’m wearing out the carpet.
        After I again completed all three circles every day last week, this morning my activity app again tried to up my goal, this time to 420 calories a day.  Again I dialed it back to 300.


        A friend is walking part of the Camino Compostela, the 800 kilometer/500 mile long medieval pilgrimage trail across the north of Spain ending at the Cathedral at Santiago de Compostela where allegedly St. James is buried.  Through this I learned of a 2010 movie, THE WAY, written and directed by Emilio Estevez and starring his father, Martin Sheen.  
        A recent article in the NY TIMES states that in 1984 423 completed the pilgrimage.  in 2014 the number was 237,810.
        THE WAY is something of a road movie, something of a buddies movie, not great, but good, with lovely scenery and very enjoyable to watch, which we did Saturday via Amazon Prime Instant Streaming.
        One character in the film, an Irish writer, says that when he was young he wanted to be the next William Butler Yeats or James Joyce.  To want to be the ‘next’ anyone is clear proof that one is second rate at best.  An artist is an original or nothing.
        If you do watch THE WAY open a good bottle of red wine before you start.  This being Spain, the pilgrims drink a lot of red wine with their meals.  It is too tempting.  I had to pause the film 
to open one for us.
        By the time the movie was over, so was the wine.  We drank water with dinner.
        That, too, was perfect.


        The oceans may not be rising due to climate change after all.  North America may be sinking.