So in the past months I read some books. I’m copying my goodreads comments, which I promise to stop doing soon if not immediately. Meditations in an Emergency:
There’s a sense in the more I-ish poems that I is adrift and alienated while you/Grace/the beloved/the world is a fixed thing. I (meaning me, not the poems’ I) think this is pretty typical, and compelling, but also I object on behalf of the non-I-stuff. All the poems I love most have a little bit of that going on, though. “For Grace, After a Party” is possibly my favorite and can be read here.
I liked the spectrum of personal memoir to drier reporting. The breadth of subject and style are pretty amazing, as is the editing, in that the excerpts mostly don’t feel excerpt-y and there aren’t any pieces I wish I’d skipped, which is my usual anthology experience. There’s a lot of stuff in this, is my overall response. (What there is not is a map, which led to my getting lost in Google maps’ satellite images for an hour. Guys, did you know that San Diego is south of Los Angeles? Yeah…)
Catalog of ways to fuck with someone by claiming to know her. The last three episodes (in the book, which is not chronological) were vivid and psychologically acute, but the first seemed off, so I reread it after I finished. Still feels strange.
I wanted to shout something triumphant after each one, but I couldn’t decide what was the right flavor of obnoxious. (BAM? Another one bites the dust? Et la?) There’s definitely something acquisitive about my reading, which I’ve embraced mostly because I can’t imagine killing it. Once in a job interview I chose to exaggerate the number of books I read in a year rather than my knowledge of AP style. (No job for me, but I also ended the meeting by chugging water so quickly I dribbled.) Anyway, that’s last poll’s winner and the prize book to pass on down, followed by my self-appointed runner-up.
Somewhere in there was the day I read Gravitation and Southern Baptist Sissies. I love Samuel French scripts. They’re cheap and portable, they have a little top-hat-wearing man on them (behold!), and they remind me of when I was seven and I thought theater people were the height of cool. (I still think theater’s awesome.)
Reading Gravitation was funny because I didn’t know what genre I was in, so my thought process went something like this:
pg. 30: Oh, so they’re gonna make out.
pg. 66: He’s gonna spend a lot of time insulting him, then they’re gonna make out.
pg. 70: What’s with the weird reaction to the homophobic teasing?
pg. 70 #2*: So they’re not making out?
pg. 100: Maybe it’s about his acceptance of criticism and rise to pop stardom, or something.
pg. 125: Oh, bingo.
pg. 194: Huh.
* There are two page seventies, four pages apart. These are actual page numbers, if you want to take the journey with me.
It bears mentioning that in order to maintain this level of bewilderment, I had to basically ignore the fact that the book had a cover.