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On Alice Munro's Choices, and a Reading List

@yeah-elle Also look for short stories by Richard Bausch, Stephanie Vaughn, Tessa Hadley, and Maile Meloy.

Posted on October 10, 2013 at 9:23 pm 0

On Your Favorite Short Stories

Yes to so many of these, especially Lorrie Moore, Amy Hempel, and Junot Diaz.

--Alice Munro's "Post and Beam" is perfect. Perfect.
--Stephanie Vaughn's "Dog Heaven" and "Able, Baker, Charlie, Dog" (which have both been featured in the NYer Fiction Podcast) deserve your immediate attention.
--Thirding or fourthing the above rec for Alistair McLeod's "The Boat."
--Richard Bausch is a fucking wizard or something.
--Richard Ford's "Rock Springs" is widely anthologized for a reason.
--Another semi-recent NYer Fiction Podcast offering: Charles D'Ambrosio's "The Point."
--Julio Cortazar's "Casa Tomada" has lodged permanently in my brain.

I am forgetting so many! I'm sorry, stories.

Posted on July 1, 2012 at 8:58 pm 0

On The Audrey Hepburn Makeover

This is fantastic!

Once, in middle school, a group of friends (and sort-of friends and not-friends) were going around in a circle talking about what celebrity everyone looked like. And then they just looked at me and were all like...umm, I dunno? I guess no one really comes to mind? And I was like OH COME ON YOU FUCKERS AT LEAST COME UP WITH A PRETTY LIE. And felt deeply defective. Because obviously if people don't think you look like a celebrity you must be some kind of subhuman horror from the deep.

In retrospect I think it was because I always looked reliably about five years younger than I actually was, and who thinks of eight-year-olds when they're thinking of celebrities? And I had curly hair, and it was the nineties, which meant no one had curly hair. And also some of those people were jerks.

Posted on April 11, 2012 at 8:52 pm 1

On Reading Between the Texts: S.O.S.

@isavedlatin INFP over here too! I've taken it at three different times in my life and always gotten that, so I'm finding it hard to argue with the assessment. Another personality test: gauging your reaction as you read the description of your personality type. Mine is a potent mixture of eye-rolling and deep-seated satisfaction that I am, in this small way, like Audrey Hepburn.

Posted on March 1, 2012 at 7:41 pm 0

On Motivation

@paddlepickle Yes do it do it! I have essentially spent the last couple of years convincing myself that this is what I need to do as well. For a long time I felt like it just wasn't "me," that it was antithetical to what I knew about myself and how I worked, but I think that was the fear talking. I am an impatient perfectionist -- I like to give up on things if I don't quickly feel that I'm doing them well. I'm also very susceptible to feeling like whatever magic fairy dust made things good in the past is GONE, GONE FOREVER, I WILL NEVER GET IT BACK, WOE IS ME, MY BEST DAYS ARE BEHIND ME. But truly I think I just forget how much real hard sweaty terrible work went into all my past creativity, and how much steaming shit I had to edit out at some point or another.

A couple of things are helping me make the tiniest of baby steps toward working regularly again. One is this Isak Dinesen quotation: "Write a little every day, without hope, without despair." Neither of those emotions helps you actually produce work. The other is this mantra: SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING. It's simplistic, but I find it really comforting. I was doing nothing before. Now I'm doing something. How can that not be an improvement?

I am cheering for all of you!

Posted on February 27, 2012 at 2:08 pm 3

On Hate Actually

@jules Seconded. And I think that makes her a more interesting character than just the dutiful sister. You get to see how being the ultimate caregiver for her brother maybe became a habit and then maybe an excuse in some situations, so that she doesn't have to do the actually terrifying thing, which is try to make herself happy. I don't think we're meant to feel that she's virtuous caregiving angel and has made the "right" choice -- I think we're supposed to be frustrated with her and see her as a little messed-up.

Or maybe I just feel this way because Laura Linney is amazing and portrays great depth in characters who don't necessarily have it.

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 8:03 pm 8

On Hate Actually

@Emily Eileen@twitter This is for sure not one of the stronger storylines in the movie. But yes, like Verity says, it's definitely "Enough now," as though he's making a resolution to move on from his infatuation (because come on, that's all it was). Also, I never felt like he intentionally filmed only Keira Knightley on the video. More that he couldn't stop watching her, which meant that the camera was on her the whole time? And I guess that makes it less creepy, to me -- that he's so helpless to this infatuation that he can't even make a proper wedding video.

Yeah, she totally shouldn't have kissed him.

Posted on December 9, 2011 at 7:43 pm 1