Sunday, December 23, 2012

pathless with untrodden snow

Summer was almost all sunshine, now winter is sunshine again but colder and I swear it was like balm to have Jane Eyre sitting around staring out the window at the drizzle in Charlotte Brontë's book, a subterranean sensation arising in me as of real drizzle observed somewhere far away, down a tunnel, associating itself hazily with the English countryside, where I have never been, also with Melbourne, where I have seen most of my drizzle (wattle blotting it), and Oregon where the moss was damp; gradually, motivated by longing, I saw a picture of her countryside as as I have seen it in films, trees black-trunked because they are soaked (why black though?), the grey clouds, "rooks" because there are rooks in these scenes (I have to insert crows, I don't know rooks), long green lawn, damp muted light, perfect for sheep wrote John Dyer in his poem about sheep, The Fleece which is only available online in a scanned version that makes every s an f so that the glassy sea is the glaffy fea, and I love this rain, said Geoffrey Hill once to an interviewer as they sat in a room somewhere in Britain, but a poet being interviewed in Las Vegas would rarely and by mad fluke have the chance to say that they loved rain (looking out the window at it as G.H. was in the interview, the interviewer perhaps remembering that The Triumph of Love begins with these words that are attentive to rain: "Sun-blazed, over Romsley, a livid rain scarp" and the poet talking to himself throughout the poem, then realising the particular existence of phenomena more concretely at the the end; to show you this he repeats the line and changes the a to the or that is my interpretation: Sun-blazed, over Romsley, the livid rain scarp.); it would be a significant event and a huge drama, the air beforehand not so much freezing as thick with rain-smell, thicker than I have smelt it in places where rain is normal. So thick the other day that it was if the atmosphere had rotted. (It is not like that when wind blows.)

A character in a novel set here would not spend the first portion of the book looking out the seeing rain, rain, coldness, rain, over weeks and months and years, as Jane Eyre does while she is a child having a bad time, the weather improving when her times get better, a disaster presaged with a lightning bolt, and her despair described with ruined weather.

A Christmas frost had come at midsummer; a white December storm had whirled over June; ice glazed the ripe apples, drifts crushed the blowing roses; on hayfield and cornfield lay a frozen shroud: lanes which last night blushed full of flowers, to-day were pathless with untrodden snow; and the woods, which twelve hours since waved leafy and flagrant as groves between the tropics, now spread, waste, wild, and white as pine-forests in wintry Norway. My hopes were all dead -- struck with a subtle doom.

There would have to be some other way for a Las Vegas novelist to show you misery in the weather over months and years; they would have to use the opposite of rain, so I'll say heat, and then we have to make it terrible not warm so flat heat, years of hardbaked sky, and then, when the character is happier, modulated cool weather, a mist scene on Mount Charleston with fog coming up the long ravine as the character makes her way down the hiking trail by Cathedral Rock. Clouds, mist, a change, relief: we are meant to reflect on the character's changing circumstances, now not relentlessly bad but improving.

She has been employed on a horse ranch where she falls in love with the owner, Bob Rochester, who manages a small chain of suburban hotel-casinos. He is devoted to her. He is ferocious. Shania Twain had her chance with Bob but she gave him the cold shoulder when she heard that he did not in fact own a controlling share in Caesars Entertainment.

Brontë's Eyre in England sees spring, birds, blossoms, and her life is opening, her love is awakened, but the weather in this Vegas novel has a different character, not so gentle, green, and blossoming, the light is rarely muted, normally bright, and this difference changes the course of the story; events and thoughts become appropriate to a desert, the heroine's thoughts are not like the thoughts of Jane Eyre even in translation, she has developed in a way that is the opposite of the way that Jane Eyre has developed, the dryness and the heat have reversed her, the curled plastic spines of the barrel cactus rather than the short thorn of the roses like the fingers of tiny starfish; she is directed by these changes until she decides she will murder Mr Rochester and stab his mad wife who has been sequestered with a pony in one of the stables on the ranch.

The mad wife Bertha catches her, chops her up instead in self-defence, rescues Mr Rochester from the pit of Jane's death trap which I am associating now with Eli Roth's Goretorium (corner of Harmon and the Strip, second floor, find Walgreens and look up), is cured of her madness by explosive bravery, sees the light, becomes sane immediately, becomes the hero, refuses to stay married now to Mr Rochester, obtains a quick divorce downtown, and is recruited by one of the ten dozen bail bondsmen who live there in the area around the Stratosphere where everybody wants to sell you meth. Your mother may have been a Creole loon, says the bail bondsman, but I have a non-discrimination policy.



  1. I assume - I hope - that you and your agent are now negotiating with a producer over the rights to your scenario. As a movie, this sounds like a sure thing.

    1. The Goretorium will throw in some funding. Eli Roth will direct. It will be superb. You can play the bail bondsman if you like, or Bob Rochester, your choice. I'm going to put on a beard and be Geoffrey Hill.