Back by popular demand (and by that I mean a couple of comments and the fact that I enjoyed doing them last time): 140-character reviews of the books I read this past year. It’s a fun excuse for me to revisit my books and my blog posts. Enjoy.
Disclaimer: S-word‘s about to get real personal and confessional, folks. Turn back now, while you still can.
(“S-word” is my favorite way to swear at work. Office culture is totally kosher with saying things like “s-word”, even the occasional, well-placed actual s-word is tolerated.)
My high school english teacher gave us this exercise for writing poetry (It’s a tool that i’ve used to get unstuck with writers block, too.) where you take an inanimate thing like an emotion and then flesh it out through the five senses. Goes a little something like this:
For loneliness, say:
sounds like…a song you can’t quite remember.
looks like…the sock that’s left behind after laundry day.
smells like…someone you used to know, in a magazine cologne sample.
feels like…listening to jeff buckley on your car stereo while you drive in the rain. empirically.
tastes like…(for the life of me, I can’t think what loneliness tastes like. Maybe that’s ’cause food is my friend, so I can’t feel lonely while I eat. ha.)
So you can guess what’s on my mind tonight, readers.
I had the idea over the weekend that one huge perk of marriage must be that there’s always somebody there to listen to your stories and care about your shit. (s-word.)
(A perk of being single, no doubt, is having good stories to tell…)
Brace yourselves. I’m going to say the thing that I’m not supposed to say; that our mothers fought so hard in the 70s so we wouldn’t say it, etc.: sometimes it’s really hard work to be alone.
Some nights it just sucks, y’all. You sit in your house and cry while you watch The Daily Show and your cat looks on, concerned. Hypothetically.
And some nights it’s not so bad, true. If I weren’t single I wouldn’t have finished The Handmaid’s Tale in 4 days. (You guys! I finished The Handmaid’s Tale in 4 days!) And I wouldn’t have all this free time to train for my race and write and do all the other good stuff with my time (e.g. watch hulu).
I really, really liked Handmaid’s Tale. (Book Club discush coming Dec 2.) I read this little bit on Saturday morning at Einstein’s Bagels:
You don’t tell a story only to yourself. There’s always someone else.
Even if there’s no one.
My mind perked up a bit, bc I’d just had that thought about marriage and stories on my way in. (I like little moments when life connects like that. It’s what we writers live for, sort of.)
And then five minutes later, kid you not, in walked some ex-couple-friends with their adorable kids. (You know, we hung out when I was in a couple. They were his friends. Now we aren’t a couple. So we’re ex-couple-friends.) And I honest to god wanted to hide. I plotted escape. Is there anything more lonely than seeing ex-couple-friends when you’re out alone?
Out alone on a Saturday morning, reading a book?
I don’t think it gets more tragic.
But I was nice and said hi. We chatted.
Then I went back to my book. And they went back to their kids.
And I felt grateful, sort of, that at least I didn’t have to tell anyone to sit on their bottom, please.
And no one was telling me where to sit and when. So there’s another perk.
Welp. Sorry you had to be the victims of my loneliness, readers. At least maybe I’ll keep writing more. Writing is good company.
(This post brought to you by Edy’s Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip and too many repeat viewings of You’ve Got Mail.)
Wednesday night was book club. 06.09.10.
Our very first meeting, to discuss Reading Lolita in Tehran, was 06.10.09.
that’s kind of cosmic, right?
This month’s book may be my favorite so far…and I’m not even a third of the way through. (Finishing books by an assigned date is sooooo 4th grade, daaahling.) I’m told that I may change my mind longabout 2/3 through. We shall see.
We read On the Road by Jack Kerouac. I never got around to it during college…English majors have a lot of ground to cover, people! And frankly I don’t know whether I would’ve cared too much for it then. But something about it now (“it” being JK’s style and rambling poetry-prose, his passion for life and the open road, the-un-I Love Lucy-50s aesthetic, all of the above) gets me right where it hurts.
I’ve pretty much decided mid-century was the time for me. Between decorating my house & getting to know graphic design this year, plus:
…you can just slap me in the 50s-60s and call me dollface. Just get hip to this, for a taste, daddy-o:
Belief & Technique
For Modern Prose
by Jack Kerouac
List of Essentials:
- Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy
- Submissive to everything, open, listening
- Try never get drunk outside yr own house
- Be in love with yr life
- Something that you feel will find its own form
- Be crazy dumbsaint of the mind
- Blow as deep as you want to blow
- Write what you want bottomless from bottom of the mind
- The unspeakable visions of the individual
- No time for poetry but exactly what is
- Visionary tics shivering in the chest
- In tranced fixation dreaming upon object before you
- Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition
- Like Proust be an old teahead of time
- Telling the true story of the world in interior monolog
- The jewel center of interest is the eye within the eye
- Write in recollection and amazement for yourself
- Work from pithy middle eye out, swimming in language sea
- Accept loss forever
- Believe in the holy contour of life
- Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind
- Dont think of words when you stop but to see picture better
- Keep track of every day the date emblazoned in yr morning
- No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge
- Write for the world to read and see yr exact pictures of it
- Bookmovie is the movie in words, the visual American form
- In praise of Character in the Bleak inhuman Loneliness
- Composing wild, undisciplined, pure, coming in from under, crazier the better
- You’re a Genius all the time
- Writer-Director of Earthly movies Sponsored & Angeled in Heaven
If I could marry a concept, this one would be it. I’m the future Mrs. Belief & Technique for Modern Prose.
We are registered at Target.
* pretty sure Beat writers were early hiphop artists, calling each other “son” and the like.
** this Otis Redding cd is a delight. Dude was MY AGE and at the top of his game. Just try not to chair-dance if you listen at work. Try it.
*** i haven’t yet even seen an episode of Mad Men, but i love the look of it so much. Don Draper could smoke in my cubical any day. Not a euphemism.