EPIPHANY

 
 
Okay, I’m really, really really gonna try hard to not order more books for a while. But I have to tell you, I think I’ve found my writing niche.  It’s literary slapstick.  Full-on, sarky, snarky cynical, jaded, and yet, reluctantly hopeful. 
 
This week I got:
 
2 dark-hunter books: DARK SIDE OF THE MOON, DEVIL MAY CRY
THE ILIAD translated by Robert Fagles and containing another freakin’ long-ass intro. (word to the windbags — if your introduction goes longer than 2 or 3 pages, call it something else. Or just call it what it is — Chapter One — Overview. Not glamorous, but honest.)
2 McSweeney’s books: THE MCSWEENEY’S JOKE BOOK OF BOOK JOKES
AND
Noisy Outlaws, Unfriendly Blobs, and Some Other Things That Aren’t as Scary, Maybe, Depending on How You Feel About Lost Lands, Stray Cellphones, Creatures from the Sky, Parents Who Disappear in Peru, a Man Named Lars Farf, and One Other Story We Couldn’t Quite Finish, So Maybe You Could Help Us Out.
 
My hand to God, if I’m lyin’, I’m dyin, that’s the name of the book.  Holy Shit. It doesn’t even make a good acronym (NOUBSOTTASMDHYFALLSCCTSPWDPAMNLFAOOSWCQFSMYCHUO)
 
Anyway, absolutely LOVE it!  For all you graphic artists out there, this book — not even the story yet, but the design is A-mazing. Every space is taken up by some form of design element that pokes fun at books.  It’s a Rococo masterpiece of graphic design. The cover transforms into an envelope with spaces that command you where to put stamps and return address.  The book itself has the words “HOLD ME” embossed on the cover — on which is printed a photograph of a giant cactus pear-looking alien with its arms out as if to say “hold me.”  And it has a crossword puzzle at the back. WTF???  And I haven’t even started reading the stories yet.  Who the hell published this? Monty Python’s Flying Circus Publishers?  It’s insane.  If you get this book — and I don’t mean “buying it” — you are one of the sharp tacks on the bulletin board.  If you don’t get it, go back to Harold Bloom or Northrop Frye.  If you don’t get it, you won’t get any satisfaction at having it explained to you.
 
Don’t even get me started on TMJBoBJ.  The back cover is the front cover and vice versa.  Cute. A nod, perhaps, to the Aramaic languages like Arabic and Hebrew? I dig it.  The rubber chicken is smoking a cigarrette and smoke is coming out of its neck.  Hee!  I neglected my students to read “Winnie the Pooh is my co-worker”.  Laugh-Riot!  John Hodgman’s introduction is the DAS KAPITAL for the entire sub-sub-genre.  I want to write like that dude. 
 
In some of the entries, I sense warning rumbles of a well-meant, but eventually harmful dumbing down of simple creativity.  That poor muse is being bitch-slapped by zealous writing amateurs unsure about how to bridge the gorge between dabbling dilettante and risk-taking professional.  Comments on a first draft of THE ODYSSEY from Homer’s writing group — funny and sad.  “Feedback from James Joyce’s Submission of ULYSSES to His Creative Writing Workshop”.  It makes me want to cry. 
 
I’ve worked to become a better writer. I’ve given and received what I thought was helpful feedback.  But for what?  This really hit a sensitive spot.  Maybe I’ll find them funny later, but right now, I don’t want to laugh at these.  It’s a massive prick in the balloon of my ambition.
 
 
 
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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Steve on May 6, 2008 at 9:22 PM

    Literary slapstick:  I suspect that\’s a style that will suit you well.  From what I know of John Hodgman (PC personified in the Mac commercials), he\’s a very funny fellow.  He does segments on NPR that can have you laughing OL.  If that\’s the standard to which you aspire, mixed with some of that scholarship of yours that I don\’t always comprehend, you\’ll have a very appealing voice.  Smart/funny plays well to certain crowds, at least.

    Reply

  2. Posted by Project on May 17, 2008 at 6:15 AM

    More like "an advertising gimmick" for closer real descriptions..the msn bots must have scanned my blog and other references to msn, and didn\’t understand what I had said…just no cuss words.
     
    An adversary who built that bot to survey for them has built an inferior product for sure.
     
    So, a bit of another test for them in fact..too perverted? Risk them actually hearing those things? And bet cyber-flesh against being right?
     
    More like suicidally certain and slightly warped besides.
     
    Just think…fifteen or twenty kids run the thing, and how many of them are thirteen or arrested development victims?
     
    JK of course in case they are here maybe..one of the fifteen I mean.
     
    Soooo, writer? Aren\’t you a fabulous writer? Having fabulously written I mean?
     
    Does a writer ask a reader if they are a writer? Would\’t the reader ask for a different perspective times all of the readers asked?
     
    My Huckleberry Fink style [and story titled that] is hodge-podge street dealings in words. Talk about un-fabulous in Noveldom Halls.
     
    Isn\’t their headquarters in New York, New York?
     
    And that main contoller of all fictitious author-entries into the American Marketplaces is?….you guessed it, at 666 Marketplace…check that out and see.
     
    Do they know you maybe? Do you know them? Can you Google the address somehow?
     
    Recall that most went unpublished by them that hit the top of "all-history" sellers…"then" they thought great or fabulous authors, not before.
     
    Didn\’t Thoreau hate them all? I recall hating them vividly when I read him myself.
     
    But msn? What msn?
     
    They are back on of course…good for me then.
     
    David.
     
     

    Reply

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