Will you Please be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver

Saturday, June 6, 2009

I do not exactly recall how I first came across Slavoj Zizek. I believe it was in my search for contemporary philosophers who discuss the events of modern society at a deeper level than journalism is able to do. A few online pieces of his work proved to be rather interesting, especially his fascination in film and the underlying messages it often conveys. So, I was happy to see an interview with him in the Financial Times a few months after my initial introduction. The interview jumps from the financial crisis to Marxism and even includes a brief anecdote on the movie, Titanic. However, it was one reference he made to the film, Short Cuts that caught my attention. He claimed it be a Hollywood film which deserves to be called "art" compared to many "fake" European films. This stuck with me namely because I remember as an early teen looking at the VHS case of Short Cuts at my local Blockbuster. It was a blue case with little cut outs of all the different actors in the movie. I never did rent it, most likely opting for True Lies instead.

Nearly 15 years after having first seen it dawning the wall of the New Release section at Blockbuster, I finally sat down to watch Short Cuts. It did not disappoint. As an American living abroad now for several years, I am becoming more and more curious about my native country. I find myself constantly in search of those cultural works which best describe the true essence of the U.S. This serves two purposes. The first is that it allows me to have a portfolio of recommendations for those individuals who actually show a curiosity in better understanding the U.S. and its people beyond the stereotypes often conveyed by our own pop culture. I have not come across many interested takers yet but I am ready when it does happen. The second is simply because I relate to these albums, books, or films more now than when I am living in America. I appreciate them more, mainly due to nostalgia. Returning to Short Cuts it depicts the real life of normal people living in the more mundane neighborhoods of Los Angeles and confronts the difficulties they face in their day-to-day lives.

The film was based on the short stories of Raymond Carver. The director, Robert Altman, took a dozen of Carver's stories and weaved them together. The Criterion Collection of this film included a documentary on Carver. Thus my introduction to Carver began here with the first scene being of his widow reading one of his poems above his gravestone in Port Angeles. I only discovered he was buried there after the fact. However, I only needed to see the evergreens in the background running up to the cliffs edge above a large body of water to know that she was in the Pacific Northwest. Such an interesting string of connections served as the sign to me that the author's works deserved reading.

Will you Please be Quiet, Please? is Carver's first collection of short stories. He lived his entire life on the West Coast and this comes through in the stories. I found myself relating with his words. I have two more collections of his short stories to read and will describe in my future posts those that I enjoyed the most. In the meantime, go and rent Short Cuts. It is certainly no longer in the New Release section of Blockbuster, especially the one on N.E. 8th in Bellevue which closed down two years ago. Actually, the action "go and rent" isn't really valid any more either. It can be substituted with "go to 'Your Favorites' folder on your browser, left click, Search on Netflix 'Short Cuts', left click three times".

15 years is a long time.

30 comments:

♪KathleeN♪ June 11, 2009 at 11:51 PM  

http://blogfromthebeginning.blogspot.com/

Meg June 12, 2009 at 3:26 AM  

!

Greg June 12, 2009 at 4:28 AM  

I have not seen the film, but the stories are wonderful. Be sure to read "Cathedral," and his poems.

Very nice blog. Congrats on being a Blog of Note!

Shawna June 12, 2009 at 7:57 AM  

Do you find short stories satisfying? For some reason I always find the majority of them either whet my appetite and leave me wanting more, or give me no feeling of substance whatsoever. I've kind of given up on finding a great collection of short stories! Which is too bad because short stories are perfect for bus rides, coffee breaks, boring class lectures...

If you have a favorite, I'm open to recommendations!

Anyway, congratulations on being blog of note!

Shawna's Study Abroad

Kavita June 12, 2009 at 8:22 AM  

Hello there, I came across your page as it featured as the Blog of Note today. Congrats, and I just wanted to say that I'm going to be back for more than a peep over time, as your page seems really interesting.

The villager: June 12, 2009 at 10:08 AM  

I was quite into Carver's lean poetry at one time, so might check-out these stories.

utkarsh d thinker June 12, 2009 at 11:17 AM  

http://utkarshsblog.blogspot.com/

plz follow this blog...

Isaac Yassar June 12, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

I always love short stories. They can say many things in a few words. Not as tiring as novel to read.

Isaac Yassar

John June 12, 2009 at 11:32 AM  

My book is finally out and it deals with change in the world and combines both eastern and western philosophy. It is being submitted soon to the newspapers here in Arizona but I am not sure of how some people will view it. I just need to find the right open minded down to earth people, but that does seem hard to find these days.

It is about changing the world for the better which is definitely a good thing though.

http://www.changesjlb.com

M.J.Y June 12, 2009 at 2:45 PM  

I'll begin by saying congratulations on become a blog of note (the reason I came across your blog). Whilst I haven't read any of the books mentioned within the blog (nor seen any of the films mentioned) - I'd recommend (depending on what genre you enjoy) books by Mike Gayle & Danny Wallace, along with the chic-lit of Chelia Ahern.

Check out my blog at: www.doweneedanotherhero.blogspot.com

Shana June 12, 2009 at 5:30 PM  

Blog of note - congrats! I like the concept of your blog. I attempted to do the same thing with the banned book list.

kjij June 12, 2009 at 5:34 PM  

Thanks for that post hope you will keep doing the good work.
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K. June 12, 2009 at 7:03 PM  

Sounds interesting...I'll have to check it out...

Scott June 12, 2009 at 7:28 PM  

Short stories rock.

Angels March June 12, 2009 at 9:02 PM  

I've always been a fan of Carver's work. I'll have to pick this book up. Actually finding time to read will be the hard part!

Congrats on Blog of Note.

househen June 12, 2009 at 9:42 PM  

Congratulations on being a blog of note! None of the books you have featured piqued my interest except 'If This Is A Man' by Primo Levi. I will make a point to check that one out.
For a book review I generally go to The Bookslut http://www.bookslut.com/blog/

Hixon and Co. Photography June 13, 2009 at 2:35 AM  

Great blog! I just came across it today in Blogs of Note. I'm now a follower... and will definitely be coming back! :)

Josh June 13, 2009 at 3:16 AM  

Great Blog. It's nice to see fresh material out there.

Mr Lonely June 13, 2009 at 4:59 PM  

nice blog.. have a view of my blog when free.. http://www.lonelyreload.blogspot.com .. do leave me some comment / guide if can.. if interested can follow my blog...

P June 13, 2009 at 9:21 PM  

have you read any of murakami? I would be interested to know what you thought, especially as he was influenced by carver.
great blog!
http://white-room-moment.blogspot.com/

Sandra June 14, 2009 at 9:51 AM  

Congrats on being Blog of Note. I do live near rainy Lake Washington, and I one knew someone who was really into Raymond Carver......could that be you.....

Sanny June 14, 2009 at 2:25 PM  

Check out my blog: www.saannys.blogspot.com

Cute girl from Sweden writing about her everyday life!

Scythe June 15, 2009 at 1:10 AM  

hey all! please check out my blog!!! www.existence-scythe.blogger.com! thanks...

The Good Life June 15, 2009 at 9:35 PM  

Wonderful! First time I click on a Blog of Note and the top post is about Raymond Carver, a writer/poet I've long been an admirer of. Fortuitous or what?
__________________
We live in the blogosphere now. But we are all from somewhere else. My name is The Good Life, but that doesn't give me the right. Things are just back-to-front sometimes.

The Good Life June 16, 2009 at 1:39 AM  

and you've inspired me to start a blog of my own - albeit one without a clear structure yet. It has a kernel of an idea inspiring it, but it will be interesting to see if I can develop it. In case you want to pop by sometime, it's http://criticalnaivete.blogspot.com/

Mister P. June 16, 2009 at 9:08 AM  

I don't know why, but somehow I become very pensive whenever I visit your blog. I've no idea if that's a good or bad thing. This would be the very first time for me to leave a comment though. You're in 'blogs of note.' Keep the good work up.

TBlaze June 16, 2009 at 10:03 PM  

Thanks Mister P. I take it as a major compliment that you feel more pensive when reading my blog. Feel free to share more of your thoughts on any of the subject matter I touch on. Cheers

JT (Tijuana) Thomas June 24, 2009 at 6:54 PM  

I've never read Carver (though intend to after reading your post) but I do have an affinity for films and literature that captures the essence of a cultural moment or locale.

abhishek January 22, 2010 at 12:26 PM  

sir its really great

abhishek January 22, 2010 at 12:27 PM  

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