Thursday, January 19, 2006

It's Friday. I should post something.

Here's my random music:

1. Your Little Hoodrat Friend--The Hold Steady
2. Stand Up--Freshwater Collins
3. Michelle--Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals
4. The Lucky Ones--Viva Voce
5. Get Yourself Together--Tahiti 80
6. Broken Face--Pixies
7. Bizarre Love Triangle (live)--The Molly Ringwalds
8. King of All the World--The Old 97's
9. Help Me Out--The Clarks
10. Baby Boomerang--The Shins

And in other news, I'm currently reading A Million Little Pieces by James Frey, just to see what all the fuss is about. I should note though, that I did look at this book just a week or so before all literary hell broke loose, so I'm not totally just a train-wreck spectator.

Maybe it's just me, but I'm far less concerned about the fact that a lot of the "memoir" is made up or exaggerated than I am about the fact that dude does not use quotation marks. ever. It's very confusing. I assume that's the point....to convey the theme of the confusion and disjointedness the author feels as a result of the addictions. But you know what? I have chosen to live my life on the straight and narrow....I'm high on life....hugs not drugs...just say no....all that junk, so that I DON'T have to be confused like that. What's the point of having kept my brain intact and sharp, if some punk author is just going to come along with no respect for grammatical correctness and fuck with my head?

How ya doing, Kid?
We separate.
I'm good.
Let me see those teeth.
I smile.
They look nice.
I guess so.
Was it worth it?
I survived.
I don't know how, but I guess you did.
It was worth it.
He laughs, moves toward the door.
come visit me in the Livery some time.
Where's the Livery?
It's the Van sitting in front of the Entrance.
I laugh. He reaches for the door.
You don't have to leave.
You two probably need to be alone.
I'd like you to stay.

On and on and on like that. Sometimes, random lines of dialogue will be in bold. I guess that's to signify yelling. I'm not sure. Anyway, I think there are far bigger fish to fry with this book than the fiction aspect. Personally, I think most memoirs are probably at least 15% bullshit. Events may be true....but I've yet to meet the person whose life unfolds in proper salable book format. In college, I took a few writing courses with a particular favorite English prof. Whenever he'd assign a memoir, I always did really well. I did well because he really liked "epiphanic moments" in memoirs....the moments where the lessons are learned and lives are changed and blah blah blah.

I don't have moments like that. But I am good at making them up. The events were always 100% real, but the epiphanies were typically made up. In the event of a real epiphany, my life would probably be a lot different now.

I don't blame the guy too much for fudging things a bit. As for the quotation marks though...I say crucify him. He gives me a headache.

And just to end on another random note, here's a video of my dog eating corn on the cob. I threw in some music just to make it less tedious and to drown out the very literal sound of crickets chirping.

Enjoy. When it rains, it pours.

9 Comments:

Blogger Zachary said...

I finished the book like three days before the hoopla began. I really liked it a lot and didn't see much problem with the quotations. Crucify me as well, but the story just flows and sooner or later you don't really miss the quotation marks. Maybe it's just me.

But prepare yourself for the trip to the dentist. I had to put the book down and walk around a little before I could read on. It's intense.

January 20, 2006 7:13 AM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

It's interesting to me because I know a few people who have been to that particular rehab facility.

For me, I read super fast, and when my brain has to slow down even just a fraction of second to figure out for every damn line whether it is description, dialogue, inner dialogue, whatever, it makes the book feel sluggish. I have little patience for sluggish books.

January 20, 2006 7:56 AM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

I think my problem with the punctuation is that it's a novelty with no real pay-off for the reader. I just found an essay Frey wrote about writing the book. It was slightly melodramatic, which drops my opinion of him a little more. He said that "he stripped away everything that was unnecessary" including standard punctuation, like quotation marks or commas. I'll admit, I didn't even notice the lack of commas. Probably because there are no sentences long enough to need one. I could argue with him all day about the necessity of at least basic punctuation. But that's beside the point.

It rubs me the wrong way when someone does something just to do it and be different, if it doesn't blow me away. "Oh yay. You don't use punctuation. Good job. You're soooo COOL. Aren't you just so much better and more special than the rest of us slaves to the semi-colons. Here's a cookie."

On the other hand, I really enjoyed the short work "A Primer for the Punctuation of Heart Disease," by Jonathan Safran Foer. It was new and novel, but it blew my mind. It made my brain work harder, but there was a huge pay-off. It was amazing, and has stuck with me since I first read it a few years ago. Whereas someday A Million Little Pieces is going to just be "Oh yeah, that was the book with no quotation marks. Rubbish."

January 20, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

A girl who worked for my high-school paper decided it would be trendy to write an entire article with no punctuation or capitalization. She didn't even use words half the time, but abbreviations (for example, "parents" became "p's."). We didn't know what the hell the article said, and when confronted about it she said, "I don't expect you to print it like that. I just wanted to write it that way." We wound up not printing it, because even when edited, the article wasn't that good.

I too have issues with dialogue like Frey's. For a while I hardly wrote any dialogue in my stories, because I found the process to be tedious. I still have no problem with conversations evolving into a line-by-line series of standalone quotes; in fact, that flows really well when it's obvious who's saying what. But the lack of quotations, combined with narrative, is very easy to trip up upon.

And don't get me started on random boldness! I hate randomness with a passion, especially when it has no point.

January 20, 2006 11:01 AM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

I like writing dialogue....and I like reading it. I prefer stand alone quotes, really...if the characters are well developed, you don't really need much "he said" "she said" to weigh it down. But when I pick up the book, I at least want to know that it IS dialogue for sure, and not have to spend 2 minutes going back trying to figure out who's saying what.

January 20, 2006 11:04 AM  
Blogger Flamingo Jones said...

"I hate randomness with a passion, especially when it has no point."

And yet we're still friends. Go figure.

January 20, 2006 11:05 AM  
Blogger Ian McGibboney said...

I mean, I don't like randomness within the context of randomly bolded text. Randomness has its place, but it isn't when your brain is trying to make sense of what's already a mess on the written page.

January 20, 2006 11:13 AM  
Blogger barn said...

Ihaventreadthebookanddontplanto itsthisaversionihavetooprahbooks

January 22, 2006 3:19 PM  
Blogger R said...

Funny. I was about 75% done with the book when the whole drama about it happened.

It was good.

If you don't get hung up on the writer's style, you're more free to enjoy the story.

January 23, 2006 7:29 AM  

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