Streaming My Mind

The Believer is a magazine that I knew was made for me once I found out that Nick Hornby wrote a column for it. He is always funny, frank, and spot fucking on in his interpretations of the world. In the May 2008 issue he writes:

The Happiest Man in the World made me think, though. Mostly I ended up thinking about the nature and value of experiences and memories, although I didn’t get very far. Crossing the Atlantic on a raft or staying in to watch TV… It’s all the same, in the end, isn’t it? There comes a time when it’s over, and all you can do is talk about it. And if that’s the case, then… I’m sorry. If you bother with this column at all, it’s probably because you’re looking for book tips. You probably don’t want to hear that all human endeavor is pointless.

Yes! This is a thought that plagues me, Mr. Hornby. At first it always seems such a good idea to plan a trip to Europe, and then I remember it’s a lot of money, and what will it really matter in the end? I’d rather have nice shoes than a bunch of pictures with which to bore everyone I know. Weeks in advance, planning an outing to a club, a party, an event of any kind seems like so much fun until the day comes and I am wracked with anxiety and would rather read a book and eat Chinese food with Scott. That’s probably just me, though — incurably boring, lazy, and anxious.

For this issue he read The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (among other things), which I finished at three this morning, and called it brilliant. When I opened up WordPress this morning to write about it all I could think was, “Greatest narration in the history of the novel?” At this time, it stands as the only thing I can say about it. But it also might be my new favorite book, because 1) Spanglish, 2) Diaspora, and 3) THAT FUCKING PERFECT NARRATIVE VOICE. Loose, loose, loose and oh so tight. Lessons in Dominican history were also very much appreciated. Thank you, Mr. Diaz.

There’s also a great interview with Richard Price in this issue. He mentions Then We Came to the End, which I just read, and also Tree of Smoke, which I intend to read. With these great writers reading books I am also reading/have read, I feel like I’m doing something right, but also that such a thing is unavoidable and my feeling a connection to them because we’re reading the same books just makes me a simple-minded peasant. It’s like Andy Warhol wrote in The Philosophy of Andy Warhol about Coke:

What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too.

Except that books don’t kill people.

Also in the Richard Price interview:

Believer: You mentioned that you don’t like writing.

RP: I find it incredibly anxiety-producing, and I get incredibly antsy. I get ADD, like, instantly

In working on the story I’ve been working on, because it’s the story I’ve been building my whole life, unbeknownst to me, has created horrible paranoia. I write by hand in my preparation phases, and then go to the computer, but preparation is probably just another way of saying “procrastination.” I will start out normally, outlining, and then it’s like some other part of my mind will start yelling to the conscious part through the pencil and paper, “ESTABLISH THE FUCKING CHARACTER!” and “THIS STORY NEEDS TO TAKE A STANCE ON FREE WILL IN ORDER TO EXIST.”

I’ve really gotten nowhere. I really need to get somewhere.

And that’s what’s with today, today.

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