Writing for the Writing

Just noticed that I’m writing more purposefully nowadays – haven’t played too much; haven’t riffed for a while.  Riffing defines my age.  Slang defines your age.  I just found out last night that IHOMO means ‘I Humbly Offer My Opinion’ or something like that.  I don’t text message, and text messaging is creating a whole new ‘in.’ that I’m ‘out’ of 

When I say I riff, I’m ralking late 1950’s – Lennie Bruce, Mort Sahl jazz – A riff is a kind of solo – off the melody – off the theme, a flight of fancy.  On the other hand I not homo is also 1950’s, because in th 1950s there were homos and they don’t exist  any more, only gays – Language changes culture, or vice versa, a forever question.

That’s one of the reasons I love old movies – not because they’re old culture, but to really see what’s under what they say – what’s constant – what’s human.  And also to see the growth of stars.  I saw a very old Burt Lancaster film today – one of his Apache movies – interesting that he was so type cast in so many movies.  This one I hadn’t seen; an Apache captured with Geronimo and entrained to Florida (a hideous, unknown fate.)  He escapes and makes his way back.  Charles Bronson had maybe his first speaking role as a sell-out Apache – I only watched a little. 

The scene that cut me was when he was making his way innocently through St. Louis when a small dog nipped at him and he was suddenly surrounded by a crowd, becoming almost a mob when they spotted him as “an injun” (his haircut and mocassins) and angrily started running after him.  That was no different than todays homophobes or Jena racists.  Except 150 years later, they’re just flare ups – news stories; no longer unnoticed themes of the day, remembered only in young Lancaster and very early Bronson films.

You know – one of tha advantages of being 70+ is that I have a long memory.  Last night PBS had one of their periodic specials (amazing, it wasn’t fund-raising) – this a long, long look at Grouch Marx.  But a relatively old one – the memories included now long dead rememberers, making it particularly poignant.  One night I see Mr. Roberts, with only dead stars, including the very first movie with Jack Lemmon, and his well-deserved first Oscar. The next I see Jack Lemmon remembering his love for Groucho – Time is inexorable.

Boy, I am in an interesting space.  Love, memories and language

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