Sunday, April 25, 2010

Duplex Planet #186

 (Duplexplanet) There's no bigger booster than I of this zine about interviewing the elderly that has been around so long it is itself elderly. But I'm a bit torn about the latest issue. David Greenberger devotes the entire mag to conversations with Maxine Gilboy, a woman who I assume has dementia of some sort settling in, where she can't respond to questions with "normal" answers. Greenberger is in no way making fun of her, and he's impressively patient, and kind, and able to steer the conversation vaguely back regardless of where it goes, but still, this doesn't feel entirely right. Clearly what Greenberger appreciates is the beautiful poetry of semi-sensical sentence construction. When asked about giving piano lessons she replies, "They let them decide, they damned it, the dame damned decide, because you get them. You play them and somebody over here is so mad. Let's go and have and get some." That's not an undignified or stupid or goofy response, and it's certainly a beautiful poem of a some sort, but it's sure a shift from the oral histories and beautifully weird semi-senile, but kind of responsive, passages that have made this book so great over the decades. I think there are many compelling reasons to explore the thoughts of someone whose mind is somewhere else and really different than "standard," but the book length treatment kind of shook me up in ways I wasn't ready to be shook.

No comments:

Post a Comment