I like Stephen Elliott a lot. So much so that one day I was reading an article about poker, midway through the third page, when I came to perplexed because I don’t care about poker, I didn’t remember how I’d come to be reading about poker, and I don’t read articles over two pages or about 1500 words online, as a rule. Happy accident or no, I was pissed off that the internet had hijacked my conscious intentions. So I scrolled up and arrowed back to find out that Elliott had wrote it, whereupon I thought to myself, “Okay self, it’s cool.”
So I was happy to get to read his new book before it comes out in September. He’s sending advance copies to be read and sent on, which you can find out about here. I had this to say about it over at goodreads:
So I’m fascinated by what people are doing when they say they’re not doing anything, and while that’s really not what this book is about, the first half of it gets as close to telling what happens in between anecdotes as a book can. And the references to Paris Hilton and Amazon.com and Radiohead, and the pictures throughout help make it feel contiguous to the world I live in in a way memoir often doesn’t. The rest of the content–the false murder confessions, trial, memories from childhood and attempts to parse them–I felt removed from but also needled by. I had “officially” decided not to care about the murder case in the first half, and the second changed my mind.
I also think it’s interesting how this intersects with Siri Hustvedt’s The Blindfold, which I’m in the middle of. The Adderall Diaries starts with an epigraph from Janet Malcolm–“Every journalist who is not too stupid or too full of himself to notice what is going on knows that what he does is morally indefensible.”*–and then keeps coming back to the question of who gets to own the story of a relationship or something else that actually happened. The second part/chapter of The Blindfold is about the main character’s relationship with these two secretive men, one of whom she agrees to allow to photograph her and ends up in a picture she finds monstrous. I became so angry on her behalf that I wanted to do them physical harm. I can’t help being superstitious about ideas lining up like this, in spite of the fact that that’s what they do. If anyone knows what it’s proof of, exactly, feel free to fill me in.
(The Adderall Diaries and Puro Border: both awesome in hodge-podgery. And there’s some reflection in The Adderall Diaries on Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, which I’ve recently been hearing a lot about…)
* Janet Malcolm, eh? I should read Two Lives. Although I’m wary of a woman who uses “he” inclusively writing about Gertrude Stein.