Wednesday, February 08, 2006

No Excuse

I figured I should post something before I'm not posting again when a slew of visitors will be coming in town.

I wish I could say that I had some fantastic reason for not writing, like we bought a house or went to Madagascar or I found a job, but really I've mostly just been going through a reading phase and neglecting the blog. I just read Jeffrey Euginides' Middlesex and loved it, though I've found others who didn't...mostly males, which is interesting because I wondered to myself if this was the kind of book that won the Pulitzer because people were like, Wow, that man sure can write like a woman! and it's, in turn, proven because a mostly female audience likes it, designating it as something more of a "chick book," which will also turn most male readers away *despite* the fact that it turns out that Cal, the main character, errs more on the male side of hermaphrodite. I've found it to be an interesting, mindless read and an interesting counter to my recent thoughts about America possessing its own culture identity, without much influence anymore from Americans' ancestry.

And I know I'm coming late in the Frey/Million Pieces debate, and I haven't even been in the vicinity of a copy, but people...come on. Real or not you're reading it because it's, at minimum, a story. People don't watch "reality" television because it's true. Well...hopefully a good chunk of reality show audiences realizes this by now. After all of The Real World reunion specials, we've seen enough times that heavy editing portrays people in ways they don't feel are true to themselves but that producers and editors insist it helps advance the "plot" of the show. Photographs tend to show a buttload of smiling, happy real people, but are they a good measure of a person's happiness in life?

If I can find it, I'll post a bit Tim O'Brien wrote in The Things They Carried about emotional truth. It basically addresses the idea that we can either write what literally happened or we can write what the experience felt like. I wrote a story in grad school that I always felt matched up with this idea. Very briefly I wrote about the dizzying experience of the first couple sent to live in outerspace and the absurdity of NASA's treatment of them and the conception of their baby. Now I've never been to space, wasn't married at the time, ever given birth to a star-shaped baby and subsequently died from it (which also happens in the story), but that story feels more autobiographical to me in terms of dealing with my dad's death than having written about a man who had a heart attack.

If Frey never went to jail or whatever the detail is, who cares. Why isn't an addiction its own sort of imprisonment? I guess I'm just annoyed that society is more emotional and betrayed by a person undertaking an artistic endeavor than by lies our government tells about weapons of mass destruction or people like Bill O'Reilly who edit "reality" all the time.

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