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So, some of the ladies from my advanced creative non-fiction writing class here at Ball State have started a blog focusing on female writers called ChickLitz. We’ll talk about writing, and being ladies and being lady writers. We’ll post some of our creative stuff. THERE ARE NO RULES. I’ll be posting every Wednesday (because it’s Humpday, natch), but you should check it out EVERY DAY because we’re all amazing
[NOTE: I can’t promise that the writing I present there will be as “clean” as I try to keep it here. It’s not my personal blog, and my creative writing can be a bit saltier than the posts here.]
Anywho, here’s my FIRST POST. It’s about my junior high career as a golfer, and how it relates to the plight of female writers nowadays.
USA Today just did an interview on Nicholas Sparks. You know, Nicholas Sparks, literary equivalent of a Thomas Kinkade painting? Yeah, him. Highlights:
- “I don’t write romance novels.” His preferred terminology: “Love stories — it’s a very different genre. I would be rejected if I submitted any of my novels as romance novels.”
- And though The Last Song is not as squeaky-clean as her [Miley Cyrus] Disney Channel show, the PG-rated movie is still very “chaste” (Sparks’ word). “My own opinion is: dark — easy to write. Easy!” he says. “I find no challenge in it.”
- When Cyrus calls The Last Song melodramatic, Sparks replies: “I’m going to interrupt you there. There’s a difference between drama and melodrama; evoking genuine emotion, or manipulating emotion. It’s a very fine eye-of-the-needle to thread. And it’s very rare that it works. That’s why I tend to dominate this particular genre. There is this fine line. And I do not verge into melodrama. It’s all drama. I try to generate authentic emotional power.”
- Said as Sparks is perusing the shelve of a bookstore: “Hemingway. See, they’re recommending The Garden of Eden, and I read that. It was published after he was dead. It’s a weird story about this honeymoon couple, and a third woman gets involved. Uh, it’s not my cup of tea.” Sparks pulls the one beside it off the shelf. “A Farewell to Arms, by Hemingway. Good stuff. That’s what I write,” he says, putting it back. “That’s what I write.”
- Cormac McCarthy? “Horrible,” he says, looking at Blood Meridian. “This is probably the most pulpy, overwrought, melodramatic cowboy vs. Indians story ever written.”
- Sparks’ favorite tale of youth? “I think A Walk to Remember,” he says, citing his own novel. “That’s my version of a coming-of-age.” He pauses and adds: “You have to say To Kill a Mockingbird is an all-time classic.”
- Asked what he likes in his own genre, Sparks replies: “There are no authors in my genre. No one is doing what I do.”
So, he’s self-important, cocky, and kind of insufferable. It’s pretty sad when you and Miley Cyrus do an interview together and you’re the one who comes off as unbearable. And, having read at least one Sparks’ novel in my youth, I have to attest that he’s full of bull. Him dissing Cormac McCarthy and equating himself with Hemingway is hilarious. What kind of things are going on in his mind that he’s turned “millions of teenage girls love my books” into “I’m a pioneer writer on par with Hemingway”? Yeah, DELUSIONAL.
This post brought to you by the following LITERARY CLASSICS:
This is the Librería El Ateneo Grand Splendid in Buenos Aires. It’s housed in an old, 1920’s era theater. It looks gorgeous, and it also looks as if it has tons of books. I now have a reason to go to South America… Read the rest of this entry »
Jezebel.com has a post up today about a mother’s failed attempt at book banning in her child’s school library at Thiesen Middle School in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. She attempted to have the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series removed, as well as Get Well Soon by Julie Halpern, What My Mother Doesn’t Know and One of Those Hideous Books Where the Mother Dies, both by Sonya Sones.
I found it to be particularly interesting because I’m currently in an honors course on banned books. Just last week, we began discussion on Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Our preliminary discussion of the book included reference to its role in the Supreme Court case, Island Trees School District v. Pico. A teacher in the school district decided to teach Slaughterhouse-Five. One of the girls in his class told her mother that the book had some objectionable content, one thing led to another, and soon a janitor was made to burn copies of the book in the school furnace. The decision was challenged by many of the students, and a few of them (including Pico) took the school district to court. Ultimately, the United States Supreme Court ruled that “local school boards may not remove books from school library shelves simply because they dislike the ideas contained in those books and seek by their removal to ‘prescribe what shall be orthodox in politics, nationalism, religion, or other matters of opinion.'”
I live in the Louisville, Kentucky, area. We have two weekly free magazines in the area, “Velocity,” which is published in conjunction with the local newspaper, and “LEO,” which is an independent rag. I enjoy them and will pick the newest issue up whenever I see it.
In one of the most recent issues of “LEO,” I found this opinion piece, “Reflections of an ex man-whore,” by Ricky L. Jones, and was so utterly disappointed in it. It is perhaps the most ignorant analyzation of the entire Tiger Woods drama that I have read thus far. Not only am I upset to find this in a publication that has a reputation for being extremely liberal-minded, but it would seem that the author is extremely well-regarded and well-educated, and is now an educator himself.
Even more upsetting is that, as far as he’s concerned, it would be pointless to argue with his dated point-of-view, which he seems to take a certain amount of pride in. As he so lovingly puts it, “I know, I know — my tone offends you. I am a Neanderthal sexist, a disrespectful, angry fellow who hates women because I think men have the capacity to speak for ourselves. I’m screwed up because I remind you that women cheat, too (and are pretty good at it, by the way). Go ahead and send me your nasty little notes. Take your best shot. It’s no secret that I don’t give a damn, so go for it.”
Not that I really see the point in arguing with a man who asserts that we live, “in a world in which most men have been softened to the point of making me vomit.” I’m just so sick and tired of hearing the “monogamy isn’t natural for men” argument. Poor men, they suffer so much. Ironic that Dr. Jones argues that men are too soft, then goes on to whine about how difficult it is to be a man nowadays. Yes, I must have forgotten that men get paid less than women, that they are told what to do with their own bodies, that they have a harder time getting certain jobs, that they can’t be sexually active without being called “whores” or “sluts,” instead of “studs” and “lady-killers.”
Oh, wait… it’s not opposite day.
It’s our good friend, Glenn Beck! And I have a terrifying picture for you, but I’m putting it behind a cut because I don’t want to vomit every time I visit my own blog!
Books I Read This Summer:
Being an English major, I’m ashamed of how few there are. Lists behind the cut.
Zach Galifianakis: Live at the Purple Onion
What with all the (deserved) attention Zach (one of my favorite stand-up comedians) has been getting lately due to the success of his film The Hangover, I decided to pop in my “Live at the Purple Onion.” It’s still as funny as it was the first time. Zach drunkenly plays piano and shoots one-liners at the crowd (“Have you seen this show on Lifetime about that woman?” “When you look like me, it’s hard to get a table for one at Chuck E. Cheese”). It’s fun, it’s silly, and it’s smart. Seriously. It’s all of those things. I think I got my copy from Half.com, but I’m sure one could find it on Amazon.com and the like.
Then We Came to the End by Joshua Ferris
Though I’m not too far into this book, it’s like a novelization of The Office, if The Office was directed by the Coen Brothers. It’s a darkly funny take on officelife. For example, when their co-worker’s daughter goes missing (she turns up strangled in a parking lot – told you it was dark), these advertising firm employees put together flyers with the girl’s picture on them, making sure to thoroughly PhotoShop the little girl’s picture, and to make the word, “Reward” really stand out. It also manages to feel extremely relevant and timely, as much of it centers around employees getting laid off, and the remaining workers wondering who’s next. I wouldn’t call it a page-turner, per se, but it is strangely addictive.
Listen to This:
Hair, New Broadway Cast Recording
It was the birth of the rock musical. The songs, which are about drugs, open-mindedness, racial acceptance, war, the environment, and free love, feel just as relevant now as they were meant to be in the 60s and 70s. It’s amazing to me that this show was as popular as it was back in the day, let alone that it even made it to Broadway. Highlights have to be “Donna,” “Flesh Failures,” “Walking in Space,” “Easy to Be Hard,” “Hair,” “Air,” “Electric Blues,” and “Good Morning Starshine.” A boisterous cast (their energy comes across even though it’s only their voices doing the performing) with some outstanding voices make this album really worth it. Pick it up or at least download a few of the songs, and let the sunshine in. Yeah, I said it.
Sorry I can’t embed this. Just click that and see the trailer.
Now, read what I have to say about it:
I think it looks exactly like I pictured it when reading the book. I do not, however, think that the editing of the trailer does it justice. I can tell, from the bits of the movie that they show in the trailer, that it will be awesome, but the quick cuts, the “heart pounding” music, and the ridiculous words that flash across the screen make it look more like a Steven Seagal movie than an adaptation of The Road, one of the more celebrated books to be released in recent years.
Honestly, though, I’m still not sure I’ll see it. Just reading the book made me nervous, as I do not deal well with books or movies that have an apocalyptic tone (or are flat out set in the apocalypse). As beautiful as I’m almost certain the film is, I’m not certain that I can pay eight or nine dollars to be severely freaked out and depressed. Maybe I’ll rent it.
I did this on an application on Facebook and decided to write a bit about it, too. I only did five on Facebook, but I think I’ll do more here.
1.) Miley Cyrus
She can’t sing. I hate her singing voice AND her speaking voice. She’s a spoiled brat. She told Radiohead she would “ruin them” because they didn’t want to meet her after the Grammy’s (go Radiohead!). She’s way too skanky for a 15 year old (she has a 20-year old, underwear model, live-in boyfriend; see also: those whorish pictures she’s fond of taking). She wrote an autobiography at the ripe old age of 15. She has no redeeming qualities. I hate her.
2.) Stephenie Meyer
She is such an awful writer. Her Twilight series has way too many adverbs. She even made up a few of her own: I flipped through the book once and found the word “unseeingly.” Then, I went to dictionary.com and typed the word in. It doesn’t exist. Also, she wouldn’t know feminism if it hit her in the face, she created one of the dullest female characters in all of Western literature, and one of the creepiest “prince charming” characters of all time. She needs to learn what a healthy relationship is, because the ones she writes about are anything but normal.
3.) Carson Daly
He used to be normal looking, now he’s alien-esque. I’m pretty sure he’s manorexic. Why someone thought to give this tool his own late night talk show, I will never understand. It’s a train wreck. It’s not funny, and after so many years on air (and the connections he made on TRL), he still can’t get guests on that are more than D-list. He’s just not likable and not charismatic and not funny, which, ironically, are three things that all good talk show hosts must possess. Why hasn’t he been cancelled yet?
4.) Ann Coulter
I can’t talk about this psychotic woman too long, or I might black out from rage. Let’s just say that there has never been, and will never be, a person more deluded, insane, or inherently awful as Ann Coulter.
Oh… well, there was Hitler.
5.) Carlos Mencia
This man is not funny. He is a joke stealer. He is annoying. HE IS NOT FUNNY. How can you steal jokes from other comedians and be SO awful, that you ruin even the jokes you stole?
6.) Dr. Phil
I hate this man so, so much. He’s a fat, walking walrus who thinks he can give other people weight-loss advice. He’s not a doctor of psychology, and yet he somehow has the experience to offer people advice? The advice he gives is awful, and on more than one occasion, I’ve found him to be a narrow-minded sexist. I’m glad he’s becoming less and less relevant.
7.) Ben Lyons
Look at that stupid smile. He unhinges his jaw like he’s going to suck the soul out of people who actually have good taste in movies. He’s a “movie critic” who got his job almost purely through nepotism (dad is critic Jeffrey Lyons). He has awful taste and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. At all. I’ve also heard that he can be paid to say nice things about a movie. What a hack. And yet, for some reason, he’s become one of the most omnipresent film critics around, with gigs on E! and “At the Movies,” Ebert and Roeper’s old show. He’s also prone to getting friendly with celebrities, which manifests itself in him giving his pals good reviews (especially if they’ll let him in their movies). God, I hate him.