Written by Woody Allen
If there is one artist in this world of ours that I have always found myself most relating to, it’s Mr. Woody Allen. I’m not quite as idiosyncratic as he is, and I sure as hell am no where near as intelligent, but something in the man speaks to me from beyond the ether. In my opinion he is the single greatest filmmaker of any generation, and yes, that’s because I grade his films on somewhat of a curve. True, his more recent works have not been up to the par set by his earlier efforts, but most of them are so damn good that to have even one of them in a career would make any other artist green with envy. (It sure makes me.) Woody Allen has been making fantastic films year in and year out for well over thirty years now. In case you didn’t hear that last part, I said year in and year out. That’s one film a year. Most directors are lucky if they make a film every three years. Woody is nearly Eighty years-old and he’s still doing it! And not only does he make a movie every year, he’s directed plays, acted in other films, formed his own jazz band, and written short story compilations. All this and he still has time for psychoanalysis. And people wonder why this man is my hero. (Did I mention that he’s also married to a woman 35 years his junior? Oh I didn’t? Well there’s a reason for that, which I’m not going to get into now, but regardless of how weird that situation is – and it is – I still come down on the side of support for Woody.) “Mere Anarchy” is his most recent work of short stories (written in 2007) and is classic Woody Allen is every sense of the long, elaborate, and overly complicated word.
I make mention to Woody’s wording only because he is a master behind a keyboard or a typewriter. He writes in a style, and with a voice, that I can only one day dream of cultivating. But as defined of a sense of style as he has, it is a very long ways away from anything modern, which will probably throw a lot of people off. Like with most of his film work, Allen doesn’t like change. He knows what works and he sticks with it. (Yes, to the point of banality at times, but give the man credit for his perseverance.) The thing is, despite not being capable of writing in a “modern voice” (I should probably use the phrasing “despite not wanting to,” or “not caring to” instead of “capable of”) for anyone with a love affair of the written word, Allen’s talent shines through brightly. And not only that, he’s one of the few writers that actually challenges your education. I mentioned before that I don’t believe myself to be anywhere near as smart or well read than Mr. Allen, and this is certainly true, but I do believe that I’m above average in those two areas. Still, I was running to my dictionary (on my iphone nonetheless, I’m sure Woody could write an entire short story on that concept alone) every other paragraph just to simply find out the meaning of one of his many archaic and “intellectual” words. This is something that I didn’t have to do that once while reading the 900 page behemoth that is “The Brothers Karazamov”. I probably had to do it about two dozen times while reading this 100 page collection of short stories.
My love affair with Mr. Allen began about five years ago now and though I may not watch a film of his every month, there is seldom a time during my own artistic endeavors when I do not sit and ask myself “What Would Woody Do?” It’s my own personal mantra and it’s worked out alright for me so far. As far as “Mere Anarchy” goes (which I believe is probably in reverence to one of my favourite poems of all time “The Second Coming” by Yeats) it’s a fantastic read for anyone who is looking for something short, sweet, funny, and challenging. After all, where else are you going to read about Nietzsche’s tips on dieting? Or the destruction of a wealthy Russian family living in New York City simply because they cannot get their three-year old into a prestigious day care? Or The String Theory being used as an excuse for an affair?