trinket box

Not a particularly shiny week in America, if I do say so myself, still a few things have inspired me. (I don't have time to go into detail. My friend Cara says "the novel always wins," which means I need to be over there instead of over here.)

+ First, Franzen ... I have a big chip on my shoulder when it comes to Jonathan Franzen. Read The Corrections, found it wanting, resented the hype. What does the hype have to do with me, you ask? Nothing. But I guess I need something on which to focus my writerly longing, envy, and bitterness. (I used to feel this way about Joyce Carol Oates, but I've mellowed on her.) Not particularly productive, but there you have it. So I've walked around for 9 years hating Jonathan Franzen, so much so that knowing he was friends with David Foster Wallace tainted my devoted, frustrated adoration for the latter.Have I written a novel in the last 9 years to counter Franzen? No. Cara is right. That is where I need to be, in the novel writing room.

Yet, I heard a snippet of an interview with him on the radio this week, and before I knew it was him I found myself nodding in agreement at the steering wheel. My friend Halle said he as so depressive, and maybe in the larger interview he is, but I like what he had to say about writing from what is hot in him, the issues he still needs to figure out, and about trying to write the unsayable. The full interview is on the WCPN site here.

+ Another moment of radio inspiration was listening to a story about the singer Buika. She grew up in Mallorca, the daughter of African immigrants. 1. Her voice is amazing. Listen:

2. She talks so eloquently about owning her voice. "'They kicked me out of the church when I'm a little girl because they said I'm singing like a dog,' she says. 'They didn't want me to sing there anymore. Because you hear my voice, obviously it's not very clean. But watch out what happened with me then later.' .... 'what I feel like when I'm singing, we don't need the hope anymore. Hope is for people who wait. And I don't want to wait no more. I'm not scared anymore. I'm not scared of myself. Of my things. Of my fear. Of absolutely nothing. And that's music.'" Full story on NPR site here.

+ In other realms this week ... The less said about the election the better. However, one shiny thing: reports 2010 Elections Gayer Than Ever: Most Gay Candidates Elected in Nation's History.

+And in an email exchange with my friend Julie, I happened upon this snippet of e.e. cummings, which I like even if I am the eternal agnostic: 
i thank You God for most this amazing
day:for the leaping greenly spirits of trees
and a blue true dream of sky;and for everything
which is natural which is infinite which is yes (cont'd)

This weekend, I'm taking a whirlwind trip to NYC see the Paul Weller, and visit some of my favorite places. Should be shiny.

I won't be back here until I spend some time with the novel, which must win. (PS, my friend Cara happens to have a winning novel herself, out soon from Simon & Schuster. You might like to buy it.)

Happy Friday.


  1. "Hope is for people who wait."

    I'm going to roll that around today.

    Love you!


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