Emails from Larry

Date: Sun, 11 Feb 2001 From: lmassett I dreamed the trains were running on time and everbody was upset we'd planned to run them on atomic energy one of these days, but time? And where were they getting it from? Officials assured us they were just drawing on the general future of the cosmos but the trains were using a lot of it two hundred and fifty years per minute on the DC-New York metroline and old folks were afraid it might get personal. Larry

Date: Tue, 13 Feb 2001 14:16:44 -0500 From: lmassett I dreamed I was looking at porn on the internet which seemed like a waste of time like dreaming about taking out the trash or working on income tax this is stuff that will happen in real life anyway so why squander a dream on it? Nevertheless me and these ladies were at the Department of Motor Vehicles for our ñemission control testsî ha-ha, performed in a very funny way I was afriad I was going to, ho-ho, wake up laughing and forget the whole thing So one of the technicians showed me this back room at the DMV full of ancient reel to reel tape recorders and blinking lights and other sci-fi props where people in white lab codes were busy downloading the dream to my hard drive so, they explained, it would never be lost. Trouble is due to disc limitations they were randomly wiping other information god knows what, to made room for the silly porn and I woke up worrying, wondering what files had been lost. Scurried through the brain corridors- yep, geology seems to be there, thereÍs the Latin conjugations...uh-oh, French appears to be missing. Well jeeze. Too bad. Oh the other hand.... quand je ferme les yeux

Date: Tue, 11 Sep 2001 From: lawrence massett Subject: woke up late as usual. Nice day, where's the coffee? Discovered Beth in the kitchen holding a little plastic bag full of water and one tropical fish. What's going on? "This fish likes excitement. The one at my office turns out to be shy. So I'm going to let them trade places for a while." The notion that fish have peronsalities.. hard to swallow on an empty stomach so I look out the window. "Nice day, anyway." "Not really," she says, "Two planes crashed into the World Trade Center and just now one hit the Pentagon." Refusing to be confused any further, I open the back door and point: Look. Nice day.

Date: Mon, 2 Aug 2004 From: Larry Massett ...Some folks who can't put two words together without a train wreck -- Jim Harrison, Annie Proulx ("Oh God, Jim, no, don't go for the parenthetical clause , you're gonna forget what the subject was and the verb'll wind up in the wrong tense, don't do it, it'll puke, man!) -- still hook you by pure storytelling chops. Which raises the question, what IS that? The story-telling thing, the narrative drive? I don't have a definition, but Isak Dinesen talks about how she could hypnotize the natives by saying "This man walked out into a field. And this other man was coming the opposite way..." Which incidentally is how Hitchcock opens "Strangers on a Train." You see a pair of shoes walking one way, another pair of shoes walking the other way. Obviously they're going to meet- why else would Hitch show them? It's all about suspense, resting on an assumption the narrator will connect the shoes later on. Or do you remember the first moments of "The English Patient?" Under the opening credits, you see a brush drawing some lines and dots on paper. You don't know what they mean, but you can see the brush is purposeful; so you keep staring to find out what the pattern will turn out to be. The design, when finished, actually means nothing to you at that point- but you know it does have meaning, to be revealed later. So here's the thesis: humans are genetically designed to discover patterns. When Mother Nature, or a narrator, shows you...part...of one, every survival-seeking endorphin-hunting cell in your brain lights up. An unfolding pattern, as opposed to one fully revealed, stirs up anxiety mixed with the hope of a big payoff. It's worked for us so far. Philosophically speaking, life may be random and meaningless; but at the level of primitive emotions, it's a story. Well, that's it, isn't it? L