Saturday, May 31, 2008

i agree but i'll do it anyway

This public diary thing is, you know, pretty fucking self-centered. I was reminded of this last week when the Writer's Almanac profiled one of my favorite authors, Michael Chabon. I skipped over to his bio in Wikipedia and read this:

In a 2002 essay, Chabon decried the state of modern short fiction (including his own), saying that, with rare exceptions, it consisted solely of "the contemporary, quotidian, plotless, moment-of-truth revelatory story." In an apparent reaction against these "plotless [stories] sparkling with epiphanic dew," Chabon's post-2000 work has been marked by an increased interest in genre fiction and plot.
Now I'm not a fiction writer. I'm an essayist of blog-common proportions. But I appreciate a periodic reminder that this private/public exercise is often no more than shameless masturbatory musings.

Another bit about Chabon from Wikipedia:
Chabon's first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, was written as his UC-Irvine master's thesis. Without telling Chabon, his professor...sent it to a literary agent, who got the author an impressive $155,000 advance on the novel (most first-time novelists receive advances ranging from $5,000 to $7,500.) The Mysteries of Pittsburgh appeared in 1988 and became a bestseller, instantly catapulting Chabon to the status of literary celebrity.

Chabon was ambivalent about his newfound fame. He turned down offers to appear in a Gap ad and to be featured as one of People's "50 Most Beautiful People." (He later said, of the People offer, "I don't give a shit [about it]....I only take pride in things I've actually done myself. To be praised for something like that is just weird. It just felt like somebody calling and saying, 'We want to put you in a magazine because the weather's so nice where you live.'")
It just makes me happy to know that someone, whose work I respect, doesn't confuse credibility with popularity.

Now back to "sparkling with epiph[enit]anic dew."

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

two weeks

It's been two weeks since my last confession entry and I've got a bit of a backup. I can't [because I care] disgorge all the minutiae of the past couple of weeks but I can't seem to move forward until I unload some of it.

While I was watching my friends' ravenous pet corn snake devour a dead mouse this past weekend–'twas three times the width of its head, I swear–a word kept running through my head. As if on cue my smart, nature-loving friend M spoke the word:

per·i·stal·sis (pr-stôlss, -stl-)
n. pl. per·i·stal·ses (-sz)
The wavelike muscular contractions of the alimentary canal or other tubular structures by which contents are forced onward toward the opening.
What a fabulous adaptation, that unhinging jaw and muscle-rippling that moves such a proportionately gigantic lump from mouth into body, until there's nothing but a tongue-like tail left hanging from its reptilian lips.

So writer's peristalsis is kicking in. I'll catch up soon, albeit in more manageable, bite-sized pieces...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

long island

I think homeland security is in cahoots with the manufacturers of travel size containers.

My aunt died. On Mother's Day of all days. Nature is not a kitten, my friends. My parents and three of the four sisters will meet on Long Island tomorrow. The missing sister represented at my cousin's funeral a few weeks ago, so we are representing for her this week.

Things have not gotten off to an auspicious start. However, the liquor up north tastes exactly like the booze we swill down here in Texas, so I'm sure it will all work out.

Hope our presence, in some way, honors our dear aunt. Hope our family time is incident-free. Anecdote-rich but incident-free...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

ah, to be isabella rossellini's snail sub!

Isabella Rossellini defines gorgeous and sensual. I have sometimes joked that I would watch a movie of her folding linens (as if she folds her own linens). I wish I would have said: I would watch a movie of her dressed as a drone mounting a cardboard bee. That would have been prophetic.

Watch these shorts Isabella Rossellini created, called Green Porno. She is phenomenal.

(Thanks to L&M for sending me this link. It made my day.)

Saturday, May 03, 2008

measure this, motherfuckers

When people (the real ones and the others knocking about the cluttered anteroom of my brain) talk about success and income and metrics, I often have to pause. I am clearly a part of middle America: becubed and belawned. But what measure do I use for these status-stained ideals? Most of what is batted around as a gauge for success is deeply unsatisfying.

Often these references are about my children. And what they are doing. In terms of the capitalist fast-track, they are not doing. In terms of everything that matters, they are so fucking engaged in life it's breathtaking. I admit to worrying about health insurance and financial stability while I marvel at their consciousness. An excerpt from my son's recent post:

it's been a good week, though long. my feet howl at their abuse and my heart scratches at my ribcage. the summer is almost here, bringing more changes than the season. it's after three in the morning and i just got home from work. the show tonight was simply awesome; the music, the people and the night itself. i scored 106 points on a scrabble word and it made me giddy. all i had to eat today was two cups of tomato basil soup and two stout helpings of whisky. i am erratic and unhinged and i don't feel the need to be otherwise. when this life is done i will consider myself lucky beyond measure.
If that's not rich with satisfaction, jesus, I don't know what is.