Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Blog Drought and a Dearth of Intriguing Novels

I apologize for my notable absence. I wish I could say that all my writing prowess is being spent on my amazing (shitty) first draft of my novel. But, alas. I have learned that I am a good every other day writer. I can write 2,000 to 3,000 words, every other day. So my average is good. I want to blame my lack of writing on my amazing fitness schedule. I have been very good on that score. I have been running or swimming every day, with the requiste two days off. And my clothes fit better, though I am sticking with my goal to never step on a scale (except for those yearly visits to the dr). I am tan and fit looking. But I can't seem to give up french fries (for this I blame Middlebrow) or chocolate (no one to blame for this but myself). So I realize I will never look like those women who look like they do nothing all day but lift weights, run and eat protein. But then again, I get to eat chocolate, so screw those health club women. (I feel better now).
In other news, I keep picking up books, wanting desperately to get sucked into a book I can't put down. Then I don't get sucked in and I set the book down, disappointed again. Recently I have started The Corrections (what's up with that first chapter? If I had to read anymore descriptions of the stacks of magazines in various locations around the house, I was going to scream!), The Ten Thousand Things (our book club selection. yawn. I admit it, I am shallow. I don't like books that start with ten page descriptions of the setting. I just don't.), The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (this I liked, but I was at B&N and I didn't want to buy it. But I saw the trailer for the movie and now I want to read it because I want to see the movie), and Summer in the Land of Skin.
Ahem. Just a word about this last one: I am sucked in. Against my will. This book was written by a woman I went to school with at WWU. Middlebrow claims she was "weird" and she did have this weird eye thing. But to me she was just overly sexual. When I first met her we were both teaching intro to writing and we were writing ice breaker lists for our students (you know, find someone who grew up in Idaho, etc.) and the one she wrote is "Find someone who knows what Keigel exercises are." I mean, is this appropriate for Freshman Composition? Then she went on to write a paper about "Sexual Tension in the Classroom." I think sexual tension exists in the classroom, but you don't have to wear see-through white billowy shirts and make it worse. Enough said.
Anyway, the book is actually pretty good. I'm not sure someone who never lived in Bellingham (where it is set) would like it as much. Also: it is "based on" real events. I know that the main character "Arlan" is actually this guy named Arlan. I was friends with him and Middlebrow used to go on benders with him once in awhile. The way he is described in the book: exactly how he looks. And the book is dedicated "To Kathryn" Arlan's girlfriend. Except in the book she's named Lucy and she's kind of a psycho bitch. Anyway, there's lots of sexual tension in the book and I'm only about sixty pages in, and there's already been a masturbation scene. So, I guess I'll read on. Plus, it's like reading someone's diary. Someone you know, who dishes about who slept with whom, and why, all while describing drinks and parts of Bellingham that I miss. Also, I respect her for actually sitting down and writing a book. I mean, she finished it. Who the hell am I to criticize?
The book has made me a bit nostalgic for my time in Bellingham, when I thought I was sexier than I probably was (much like the narrator, Anna), and I spent a little too much time in dark bars (when a bartender, Richard Buckner actually, offered me a free Guiness before noon, I knew I had to stop going there), and when I was a little too self assured about the longevity of said sexiness and my ability to surf that into infinity, and when I drank a little too much (but I also lifted weights and rode my bike everywhere, so it was probably okay), and I lived in a studio apartment and drank coffee from a stovetop espresso maker. Oh, hipness, Where hast thou gone?


susansinclair said...

I think you're right--a lot of the fun of the novel was combined nostalgia/voyeurism. Of course, I was *never* that hip (or if I was, I wasn't paying attention and missed it). JG's second novel, Tart, is better, and more reflective on that whole sexiness thing.

Counterintuitive said...

I love that bit about Keigels and sexual tension in the classroom--a good laugh for me. I think I will put that question in my next get-to-know-you.