Jon Raymond is an Oregon-based writer you should get to know and appreciate. He’s published a novel, which I haven’t read, and a short story collection, Livability, which I highly recommend. He’s most well known from his collaborations with the filmmaker Kelly Reichardt, in fact two stories from Livability were made into films directed by Reichardt: “Old Joy” and “Wendy and Lucy” (starring Michelle Williams). Both of them are well worth your time and attention.
In fact I’d rank “Wendy and Lucy” easily in one of my top-ten movie-going experiences. The tone of it is singular, pitched low but humming with emotional intensity. When the credits came up I had the curious experience of being glued to my seat, wracked with emotion, all but sobbing, while one row ahead of me old ladies bitched and complained about how terrible it was, how nothing happened. The film, about a young woman in dire economic straights, almost acts as a moral litmus test: how much are we supposed to care about one another?
Now, Raymond and Reichardt’s third collaboration, “Meek’s Cutoff,” is in limited release. It’s going to take forever for it to get to Pittsburgh but I’m patient.
Also, Raymond wrote the script for Todd Haynes’ mini-series adaptation of “Mildred Pierce,” which is currently showing on HBO, to which I don’t subscribe, so I’m coveting that experience too.