Still chugging my way through my podcast reading list: Elise Blackwell, Virginia Pye, Shann Ray, Jan English Leary, and Lenore Myka. I’d be further along if my discipline and time management skills weren’t lagging behind my desire.
Picked up a copy of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I’m only a little way into it, but I’m already including it in my broad theory on the importance of storytelling to the evolution and sustainability of humans. So far, the bibliography for my theory looks something like this: Joseph Campbell, John Gardner, John Berger, Edward O. Wilson, Jonathan Gottschall, Dzevad Karahasan, Michael Chabon, Italo Calvino, Douglas Rushkoff, Georges Bataille, Ernest Becker, Lewis Hyde, and some others.
Also picked up a copy of Nina Revoyr’s new novel Lost Canyon. I’d read her wonderful novel Wingshooters a few years ago after meeting her when she came to read at Watermark Books.
A few weeks ago, I watched the movie Elizabethtown on Netflix; the movie that inspired Nathan Rabin to give us the phrase “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” in his review of the movie. Rabin has, recently, stated that he regrets coining that term and inflicting it upon us because it turned into something other than what he intended it to be. Now, I didn’t think Elizabethtown was that bad, although, sure, Kirsten Dunst’s character is a bit thin, but to my mind a lot of the characters in that movie are a bit thin, including male lead played by Orlando Bloom. Personally, I think the movie should have been more focused on the relationship between Drew Baylor (Bloom) and his father than on the romance with super perky Claire (Dunst), and a few minor tweaks might have helped reduce the problem that lead to Rabin coining the term.
First off, if Claire could have somehow learned about Drew’s father’s death (and maybe even the shoe failure) without Drew knowing that she knew.
Second, if the backstory of Claire’s mysterious boyfriend (we never see him) could have been addressed in a more concrete way (if the boyfriend could have been shown to be a jerk in some fashion, to not value Claire in the way she wished to be valued).
So, basically, if the reasons for Claire giving Drew her phone number and for helping him get over his loss and depression could have been grounded in some definable need of her own, then the movie would have been more successful.
Nothing new here, really. I’ve been listening to Alt 107.3 here in Wichita while I drive to and from work. I hear a number of new (or newish) songs I like, but I don’t always track them down later. I will, sometime, and have a band to or two that I can rattle off.
Speaking of all those podcast books I’m reading: I’m way behind schedule and haven’t even gotten around to sending out invitation to come on the podcast for all those books I listed above there. In fact, Elise Blackwell’s book, The Lower Quarter, is already out.
I have to get on it.
Stephen and I have been rejiggering The Laboratory episodes. We’re dropping the exercises, and trying to find a rhythm. It’ll basically be the Shoptalk series, but with a bit more of a focus. That’ll come out regularly, once we get our shit together. Then, with the interviews, I’ll be doing those as “seasons” coming out in fall and again in the spring. I’m hoping this will put less pressure on me to read and schedule constantly and, instead, read and schedule and record, etc. is a burst.
Writing & Submitting
I’ve been sending out query letters for The Palace of Winds. No luck so far, but, as usual, I should pick up the pace. Back in August I got started on sending out queries, but a few of the agents I was fired up about were on vacation and their auto-reply messages said to try again after September. It kind of took the wind out of my sails. So, here it is, September at last, and I’m back on the hunt.
Somehow, I just can’t seem to finish Far Nineteen. The best way to describe it, I suppose, is that I’m in a lightless tunnel and can’t find the exit sign. But, I keep plugging away.
I daydream about winning the lottery, but I almost never play the lottery.
I’ve completely given up on online dating. It’s hopeless here.
I used to have the Time magazine cover that proclaimed Jonathan Franzen as “The Great American Novelist.” I drew the “No” symbol over him and pushed thumb tacks through his eyes. My dislike of Franzen is based solely on the first two pages of The Corrections. The only other book I had a more violent and immediate reaction to was Dan Brown’s The DaVinci Code. When I sat down to write this thought, I went back and reread the first two pages of The Corrections. My reaction wasn’t violent this time, but I did find the prose to be ponderous. I will, someday, end up reading one of his books just to say I’ve done it. Right now, I’m enjoying the mockery he’s receiving on Twitter and other social sites because of some of the sometimes tone deaf, pretentious, sexist things he says in public. Twitter was on a roll awhile ago with #franzenairquotes. There is a certain amount of schadenfreude involved.
Back to work.