Friday, June 27, 2008

Auto-Fun of the Day :: 6-27-2008

quote: "So you close your eyes and your fingers are pushing down and you're thinking of Helen Keller and how when you were little you wanted to be her except more nun-ish and then suddenly without warning you do feel something. A knot just beneath her skin, tight and secretive as a plot. And at that moment, for reasons you will never quite understand, you are overcome by the feeling, the premonition, that something in your life is about to change. You become light-headed and you can feel a throbbing in your blood, a beat, a rhythm, a drum. Bright lights zoom through you like photon torpedos, like comets. You don't know how or why you know this thing but that you know it can not be doubted. It is exhilarating." (Junot Diaz, The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao)

links: 1) On books that made people angry and politically charged that now seem totally worthless: "Burning is too good for them."(@times online uk)
2) Poem: "Expecting Honey" by Bridget Talone. Dear Dad. Come back. / And bring everything back with you." (@tin house)
3) They should put a comment card in the back in case people want to yell at her about their own personal problems in disguise as literary critique: So, Emily Gould is writing a book!(@mediabistro)
4) I thought I'd just discovered a solution to all my working problems, turns out I should probs move to Brooklyn ; "A Shared Office is a Great Escape from working at Home." (@nytimes)
5) The Virginia Quarterly Review: Lit Mag Love (@the magazineer)
6) I do this too! Elizabeth Kiem has been placing the fiction she reads in the rooms she knows. (@the morning news)
7) She's worse than you even expected, what with all the context: Up All Night With Amy Winehouse. (@rolling stone)
8) Punk Like Them: "Chasing a scene that no longer exists, they've created one of their own. A night out with the East Village's summer street kids." (@nymag)
9) A Genetic Theory of Male Homosexuality That Makes Sense (@slate)
10) The 11 1/2 Biggest Ideas of the Year (@the atlantic)
11) She's talking about butt-sex: "Final Fantasy: There's One Thing that I've never done in bed, and I'm saving that for my future husband." (@nerve)
12) Unequal America: Causes and consequences of the wide -- and growing -- gap between rich and poor." (@harvard magazine)
13) I knew it was a good idea to read A Clockwork Orange at 12: Children know which books they're old enough for. (@the guardian uk books)
14) Watch this now: A great week for homophobia. (@fourfour)


Adam said...

Would it totally ruin my image if I commented with:

heh heh...she said 'turn me over on the issue'

I'll have something substantive later, I swear.

Natalie J. said...

I read War And Peace at the age of four. It's about cats.

DJL said...

"you're thinking of Helen Keller and how when you were little you wanted to be her..."

When I use the literary "you" in my writing, I try to use it for things I feel as though many, many people have experienced or know to be true.

"You need oxygen in order to live."
"You have to admit, the sky is blue."
"You can't beat a good orgasm."

However, I don't think the desire to be Hellen Keller when you're grown up counts as one of those experiences.

riese said...

adam: You'd still maintain the image of someone who actually reads articles all the way through 'til the very end, which is something still.

natalie j.: I thought Lolita was about a really fun vay-cay. Actually, I thought the same thing about On the Road. I also still believed in Santa Claus, and I'm Jewish. On second thought, I still do believe in Santa. But I know better about Lolita and Kerouac.

djl: You know, Caitlin doesn't even believe in Hellen Keller. True story. Hope I didn't ruin anything for you, I'm sure you're way past page 100 by now in Oscar Wao.

stef said...

i read helen keller's autobiography! i'm not sure how she wrote an autobiography. umm i read that punk article a few days ago and wanted to laugh and cry at the same time. also, poor winehouse, she just needs a hug.

Dave Lozo said...

I'm only up to page 67, jerk. So thanks. Tell me what you think of this line from my book:

"I walked down the street like you normally would. You're looking in windows, smiling, and you start daydreaming about what it'd be like to rub your balls on a honey-glazed ham while reading aloud from Mein Kampf."

caitlin said...

to be fair, it was meghan's initial skepticism of keller that led me to my own opinion of the faker. just saying, i have a lot of questions for that lady. like, really? it could have been milk or orange juice or ANYTHING, but somehow she knew it was WAH-TER, WAH-TER. you're blind AND deaf, but somehow your "teacher" pours something over your hands and somehow magically, MAGICALLY, you knew what it was. whatever. faker.

Adam said...

re: 1 (or the Times commenters, really)

It blows my mind that so many people who obviously can't read have so much to say about books. We're talking about lauded literature that is actually terrible...straw-manning poor Dan Brown just shows you didn't understand the original article.

My list of contemporary work that won't make it, fwiw (not much, considering I took a grand total of one English course in God-knows how many years of college):

Everything with Don DeLillo's name on it. Ugh. Srsly, people? It's not even good now, never mind the test of time.

The Unbearable Lightness of Being (I know you disagree here, so I'll just move on)

I think they're probably right that Eco's a dying entity. They're probably just griping because Rose is difficult, but it turns out that they're right by chance. His brilliance is too cool, too calculated to stand up to the real stuff (and this coming from someone with a giant boner for Nabokov, Captain Artifice himself).

And, as much as it pains me to say, the collected works of Michael Chabon. I've read and enjoyed every word the man's written (except the most recent, on my list to buy), but I don't think it's nearly as good as it is timely. It blows my face off, but only because I'm a 20-something American male living now. Fifty years from now people'll wonder what we saw in the guy apart from clean lines and tight stories.

wordver: ppunsnvy

Is that what I have for Oscar Wilde?

e. said...

Haven't clicked any of the links yet, but I've gotta comment, because I literally, seriously--as in, I'm not even slightly exaggerating--*just* read the exact chapter of Oscar Wao you quoted. I mean, I read that chapter, closed the book, opened my laptop, and there it was again, I recognized the passage after six words.

I realize that no one probably cares, but I think it's sort of a cool coincidence, maybe of vaguely zafa-esque proportions, yeah?

helenkellerlies said...

caitlin, your support means the world to me.
we'll discredit her someday! you and me!!!

Kelen Heller said...

Stevie Wonder's the fake!

A. said...

Helen Keller sure types well for someone who is deaf and blind.

...Probably would do amazing on Dancing With The Stars.


Ray Charles said...

oh no you d'int just bring Stevie Wonder into this! ohhh hell naw!

cao said...

I just saw that I have to be on page 165 by the 2nd. what happened to 100? i guess i'm just going to have to read the other 65 pages now.

Kelen Heller said...

Someone told me Stevie Wonder is black, is this true?

riese said...

stef: maybe you're thinking of the miracle worker. I feel i read several books on her topic.

lozo: You know what I like about that book? I do the same thing every single morning. Look in windows, smile, think about honey glazed ham. I don't have balls though, so I get your point.

caitlin: Well too bad that Helen Keller can't HEAR otherwise you could ask her all KINDS OF QUESTIONS. JK! Love you! I don't think that your explanation works without you doing the Helen Keller Water Voice out loud.

adam: I am not a DeLillo fan either, and I didn't get anything that was happening in that book. I was like "is there a social commentary footnote anywhere?"
Re: Chabon -- I think Adventures of Kavelier and Clay will endure. I think that we'll be surprised by some things -- like will Michael Cunningham endure? Jeffery Eugenides? Rick Moody? I think women writers will endure better, 'cause they're speaking from a new place of power right now, as opposed to men speaking from that place centuries ago (e.g., The Odyssey).
I also don't have faith in the endurance of: The Crying of Lot 49,
I've been thinking a lot about longevity of literature lately, like how so much of what I read will be totally gone in 20 years -- irrelevant. And how to write in a way that will endure.

e.: Very very cool coincidence, indeed.

hellenkellerlies: unfortunately she'll never see the fruits of your efforts because she is blind.

kelen heller: i couldn't agree more.

A. : I just tried typing with my eyes closed and headphones on and it worked. She would be so good on Dancing with the Stars. Or else be cheating, 'cause SHE ACTUALLY CAN HEAR THE MUSIC.

Ray Charles: Hi! Nice shoulder.

cao: I never said 100. If I did, I was kidding. Maybe. I think I changed my mind. 165 is a good stopping point I think.

Kelen Heller: No it's not. He is Chinese.

Adam said...

re: K&K, which I adore despite my earlier comment

My favorite part of K&K is actually a chapter that ended up getting edited out before the novel's publication. It's one of those sections of amazing writing that you have to sacrifice for length/flow, but hate to see go.

How do I have access to this deleted gem? Because it was later published in the Virginia Quarterly.

How's that for bringing it back around?

Anonymous said...