20 June 2011

Book 23 of 2011

I finished this at the gym while using the stationary bike.

Point Omega: A Novel

22) Point Omega by Don DeLillo
Don DeLillo tells the story in his own roundabout way of an older man who helped orchestrate the Iraq war, his daughter, and the guy who wants to make a movie about him. All of this takes place in between book ended chapters where a man watches Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho slowed down to a 24 hour pace at New York's Museum of Modern Art.

But the plot really isn't important. At least, it's ancillary to the idea that DeLillo crafts using the characters because not much actually happens. Not much needs to happen: this is about two people who craft their own reality as it suits their needs. Besides, if you're reading DeLillo for the plot, you're missing the point. That's not to say that I really "get" the point completely.

Both characters, in attempting to create and be overtly aware of how they wish to perceive their surroundings, fail miserably. Elster and Finley both wish to make the world in their own image, but they are so metacognitively conscious of what they are trying to do that they second guess themselves. Sadly, I found myself relating too much to both characters because of the time of year.

Summer is a time when I am acutely aware of how much of a lump I can be given enough free time. This is the first summer in a long time where I have nothing on the docket. Last year I was actively engaged in the purchase of our first home, which felt like a full-time job with the amount of paperwork and hassle I dealt with from all sides. The two years before that I did summer school and the year before that I got married. Summer school gave me a reason to get up and be active in the day, and the first few months of being married were pretty awesome; plus we immediately found ourselves caring for a new puppy in Spider-Man the dog. There were things to do is what I'm saying.

But this year? I got nothing. And my wife wants me to enjoy it, but I find myself having the toughest time doing so. I am completely in charge of everything happening in my life and all of the free time to finish or accomplish all of the side projects I usually ignore during the school year, yet I often find myself in a weird funk. The sheer number of things I could be doing overwhelms me to the point of complete stagnation.

What does this have to do with Point Omega? In attempting to take that total control of either the surroundings or the perception therein, it almost feels like doing nothing is the only possible recourse to feel a semblance of control. This is almost impossible to explain and reminds me of a line I really enjoyed from the book: "It's what no one knows about you that allows you to know yourself." Most people don't get the luxury of two months off in their jobs; my wife keeps telling me that this is a time I've earned, and I get that. It's just hard to reconcile staying busy for so very long and then...nothing.

I'm really glad that I scheduled a meeting for this week to discuss some of the plans for next year because now I have something to work towards.

No comments:

Post a Comment