Today's post title comes from Roxane Gay's latest blog post, "This Is My Face." I wish she would just come out with a book published by someone who thought, Why not compile and print all her blog posts? No editing. Just what it is. Because Roxane's day-to-day musings and revelations and epiphanies and confessions are so full of heart. I could read them forever.
Over on the Facebook I've been tagged enough times for the 15 Authors thing that I went ahead and made my list and tagged all those folks right the heck back. It was difficult to choose authors, so I actually chose their books - the individual titles that will stay with me forever:
- Shel Silverstein's Lafcadio
- A. A. Milne's The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh
- Carson McCullers's The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter
- Truman Capote's The Grass Harp
- Margery Sharp's Cluny Brown
- James Heriot's All Things Wise and Wonderful
- Richard Russo's Nobody's Fool
- Salman Rushdie's The Ground Beneath Her Feet
- Italo Calvino's The Baron in the Trees
- Gabriel Garcia Marquez's 100 Years of Solitude
- Kate Bernheimer's The Complete Tales of Ketzia Gold
- Lydia Millet's My Happy Life
- Selah Saterstrom's The Pink Institution
- Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red
- James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men
I look over this list now and think to myself: What do these have in common? A lot of innocence, loneliness, and understanding of and portrayals of suffering. Imagination. Fun. Sincerity. It's strange to categorize my favorite books in this way. I don't think I recommend it.
So, I had no idea about NaNoWriMo when I started this 20 Lines a Day in November thing; it was truly a coincidence and resulted from my having picked up that Harry Mathews book. But what strikes me now is how desperate it all seems. Are we writers or what? Who cares? Nobody! I don't know. Maybe I'm not really a writer, since I don't write daily. I really don't know. Then there's this guy who's trying to set a record for writing 24 novels in a year. And my old school friend, Joseph Bates, has a book coming out soon (Congrats, Jody!) about how to finish your novel in your spare time. Either write it or don't. I guess that's the truest thing of all.
It's been a pretty good day today. I've been hanging out in 8tracks.
I wrote up a review of Alissa Nutting's Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls last night. The review will be out soon, but in my email to the editor of the journal, I wrote:
I had fun puzzling out some things and though I had some issues with the idea of this winning an "innovative" prize when it seems Saunders and Bender who are mainstream were doing this "wacky" stuff years and years ago, I left that out and focused on the writing. I'm glad I got to write the review, because it forced me to focus on the writing. Otherwise, I might've just walked away thinking, "same old same old being lauded as new." And then on the other hand I was thinking about that kid in senior English who doesn't even know of Saunders or Bender but has to write a literary analysis so Googles "aborted fetus damned to hell with oozing tits and anal devil sex" or something and maybe up pops Alissa's book and maybe this is the first book he reads that isn't The Scarlet Letter and Great Expectations and makes him go, Whoa, and so then I thought Fine, to that kid it is innovative, and so it should be labeled as such.
That was a nice learning moment for me.
What 100 BOOKS would you buy from Dalkey? I'm giving it a lot of thought. I am.
Am also really looking forward to reading this.