27. 12. 2008 um 19:48 Uhr
Well this is troubling. I planned to write a little something about weather which was to incorporate Henry Darger, a crazy man who famously kept a ten-year diary of the weather (which I have parts of somewhere) but then I saw that Henry Darger, who I thought was my own little semi-secret, is part of that brilliant encapsulation of genius called “Influence“ brought to us by the Olsen twins. So that ruined Darger.
And the weather I guess is still here, we still have it, we’ll always have weather … it’s just been ruined for me, for today. I remembered a line, from a book, it’s this — “all we ever talked about was food and the weather.” It got me thinking of what we talk about when we talk about weather … but now I don’t care. It happened fast.
The line, by the way, do you like it? It’s mine, it’s from my book, and I realize that in my book I don’t talk nearly enough about the weather. Weather changes everything. I’m going to go and add in some weather. I’ve been reading the horror stories of Richard Yates, the past couple days. Easter Parade, in particular, the most depressing story to have ever been wrote. And later, I’m going to print out my Christmas letter, for you, and if I don’t have your address I’ll call you and then I’ll send it. You don’t believe me, I know. I’m skeptical myself.
09. 05. 2008 um 20:55 Uhr
Oh brother. I want Mary Roach to be my best friend, there I said it. But I’m sure she’s too busy, and I resent her for not making time for me, and so our friendship has soured now before it can bloom.
If you want to make it up to me Mary, you’ll have to blurb my book and send postcards, there’s no other way.
You can send postcards and the draft of your blurb here.
[Read Mary at Powell's. And, duh, buy her book.]
06. 05. 2008 um 17:51 Uhr
I’m usually bitter about other people who write well, and so pretend they don’t exist. I have tried this approach with Mary Roach (rhyme intended) but I’ve failed. She is, unfortunately, too engaging, I’ve caved.
She is also guest-blogging at Powell’s and I fear, as usual, her new book is fabulous. It’s called “Bonk” and it’s all about sex, you should read it.
12. 12. 2007 um 18:29 Uhr
Michael Dirda reviews Joyce Carol Oates in the Holiday Issue of New York Review of Books.Â I don’t read her anymore, I haven’t in a long time.Â It’s too daunting.Â She’s maniacal in a way I always wanted to be and reading her stresses me out, I couldn’t keep up.Â (I forget the last thing I read, it might have been We Were the Mulvaneys.)Â There’s the issue of herÂ famous prolificity to grasp — between the beginning of 2000 and the end of 2005, for example, she published 19 books — but in addition to that, the work itself can wreak havoc on your mind.Â It’s crazy stuff.Â Kafka said “a book should serve as the ax for the frozen sea within us” so her books are all an axe.Â (I spell “axe” different than Kafka.)
Anyway, two of the works Dirda discussed have just come out — The Journal of Joyce Carol Oates, 1973-1982 and Joyce Carol Oates: Conversations, 1970-2006.Â I loveÂ the genuineÂ pleasure she gets from her work.Â She describes having a purposely simple and ordered life in order to escape so completely in her fiction.Â She has contributed, she says, to her image as fragile shut-in because it makes it easier to decline invitations.Â All she ever wanted to do, all she wants to do now, is be in a room of books and read them and write some.Â
I’ve seen her twice, most recently at a Portland book fair in 2006.Â She read a short story, I forget the name, but it was tender and savage and brutal and terrifying and the room collectively fell off its chair with the last word.Â It was amazing.Â The row I was sitting in all gasped, then breathed, then muttered things like, “God”, “Jesus, “Unbelievable”.Â (I feel obligated to also inform you that the row I was sitting in a couple weeks ago, when C. read our excerpt to a packed room, acted similarly.)Â
That’s all, I guess.Â I put Journals and Conversations on hold at the library.Â I won’t have time to read them, though.Â I have a gingerbread house to make for crying out loud.Â I bet Joyce never made a gingerbread house.Â And I bet Scruffy didn’t keep jumping on her computer when she tried to write.Â
03. 07. 2007 um 23:50 Uhr
I saw the low full moon Saturday. It was neat. I was watching King Kong, by the pool, on my big giant screen. I fell asleep.
By the way, come see a movie! Details posted later.
While you’re waiting, read a book. Here’s the University of California Berkeley’s summer reading list (selected by faculty and staff who teach freshman seminars), published in 1995.
1995. What were you doing in ’95? I was living in suburban Philly. I drove a brand-new black Camaro (which I totalled in ’96) and was about to meet A. (who I married in ’98). If it was November of ’95 I was in Atlantic City, in fact. Bored stiff at a credit union convention, on a business call at a pay phone (we used pay phones back then!) A. was three phones down, he needs space when he talks. This was the first time I saw him, arms flying around, hand-talking on a pay phone.
That has nothing to do with reading or summer, but is the only thing I remember from ’95.
Anyway, last year here’s what you, the maddening crowd, said to read:
Teresa DiFalco dot Com’s Summer Reading (2006)
[Tomorrow I'll be married nine years. I know what you can get me, A. -- a good waterproof book. Thanks.]
19. 06. 2007 um 19:30 Uhr
.. My pool and a pitcher of Mai Tais have rendered me unfit to write. I’ll get back to you shortly.
Meanwhile: The Manny trailer gets NY Times coverage and the book cracks top 30 at B&N. Email me here if you want a guest spot in the trailer for The Good Wife. The parts of neighbor, french exchange student, exterminator, and Angelica the brazilian bikini waxer are all up for grabs.
15. 06. 2007 um 15:40 Uhr
So wait ’til you’ve had your coffee, kids. Then here’s the book trailer for Holly Peterson’s new novel The Manny. Notable, partly, for C.’s brief cameo. Prize to first one who spots.
Read Sunday’s Styles section, too, for piece on the making of the trailer of The Manny (on web site tonight).
Oh, and if you want to discuss it, the trailer … write me, I’m here.
15. 05. 2007 um 19:45 Uhr
Larry Doyle — screenwriter, TV writer, New Yorker humorist plus some more — has a book out and is blogging at Powells this week. It’s hard to write funny, but I read an excerpt of “I Love You, Beth Cooper” and he may have done it.
I really only say that because I have nothing to say, nothing. Mark sent me this piece from the Times: “The Greatest Mystery: Making a Best Seller.” Then pointed out a little detail about Curtis Sittenfeld’s “surprise” best seller — uh, she had four publicists. Duh.
To apply to be my publicist, click here.
19. 04. 2007 um 16:56 Uhr
I love Miranda July. Not like that, jeez. I love her work, her creativity, I loved her feature film, Me, You and Everyone We Know. She’s smart and original and it takes guts to be both. Now she’s got a collection of short stories from Scribner, No One Belongs Here More Than You, and a clever little web site to promote it. Go ahead, check it out it’s fun.
Now that I think about it, I don’t really like her. I don’t like her at all. I think she has nerve doing things I wish I’d thought of first and if her stories are good, I might beat her up. Miranda July, Miranda July … ooh, you’re so cool because you write on your stove.
Life is elsewhere.
12. 04. 2007 um 20:12 Uhr
For very articulately telling Leslie Bennetts to “shut up, already!”
Put a book out, do the press, go home and check your Amazon rank, Leslie, but for goodness sake STOP WHINING about the mean things people say, in of all places … [GASP!] … Blogs! Whine. Whine. Whiney-whine.
Mommy wars, schommy wars, salami and ham, anyway. Who cares? Who cares about any of it? I have no ball in the game, other than being a stay-at-home mom who works. Doesn’t matter. There’s nothing enlightening about contemporary writing on the subject. Friedan let bored moms offload some guilt, but no one has written much that’s interesting since. It’s hard to be a mom, it’s hard to be a Dad. It’s hard to be a mom and go to work, or stay home, it’s hard to be a Dad and do those things, too. La di da.
The only interesting thing I’ve read on the “wars” since becoming a mom was Sandra Tsing Loh’s (sorry Sandra, for the mean things I said that day!) take in The Atlantic (link TK). “Miss Gretchen” does a good job of revisiting Loh’s points in her comment on Powells.
All of these arguments (why are there arguments again?) are tired, stale, boring — who are they talking to? I’d rather clean the oven with my college diploma, while barefoot and breastfeeding, than hear any of them.
[By the way, when my book comes out I'll be completely incensed if you don't say mean things about me and buy it.]