Even Though I Don’t Miss You
by Chelsea Martin
Short Flight/Long Drive Books, 2013
1. In this book, Chelsea Martin reminds me of my girlfriend. She reminds of all my ex-girlfriends, she reminds me of everybody’s girlfriend. It’s hard to pinpoint why. Is she the essence of contemporary girlfriendness?
2. It provides an insight sometimes into particular shades of emotion that I don’t necessarily seem to understand (not that I want to get all ‘Men are from Mars, etc ’ or some such popular-silliness about this point).
3. Other times, it’s nice to know that I’m not entirely wrong in my assumptions about ‘What might be wrong?’, ‘When something might be wrong?’
4. I have to declare an interest and that is that I’m not really in a relationship with Chelsea Martin but this book feels so much like being in a relationship as much from a male as from a female perspective that I can’t help but think that I am and that this qualifies it as a great success in that department.
5. “There is a piece of clothing thrown on the floor in the shape of what I look like to myself”. This is a beautiful, economical image; an everyday occurrence raised to something just v profound. I imagine it to be a denim skirt for some reason.
6. It reminds me of a line from an e-book, by someone, an old free e-book by someone, possibly Richard Brammer that I can’t find at the moment (maybe I imagined it) about ‘Your bra will fade on the radiator just like the rest.’ Any ideas?
7. The sentence that many reviewers have picked from this book is worth repeating in full:
“Being in a relationship for a very long time feels just like being single except that I can’t remember the last time that I was alone for five hours.”
This has the same periphrastic quality as that which I discussed in relation to Spencer Madsen (elsewhere in a 25 Points Review for HTMLGIANT). It’s almost like a really good, lengthy title appended to a very successful piece of conceptual art. I can see why so many reviewers chose to pick it out.
8. The relationship theme is undercut throughout with the many conversations between the ‘I’ and the ‘You.’ Often humorous, sometimes sad, occasionally refreshingly absurd, like a transcription of direct speech really is. See – this is what I meant in points 1-4.
9. Again, and in relation to a Spencer Madsen review that I have just written and so which is fresh in my mind but which might as well be seen as a recurring theme, a necessarily recurring theme, of all contemporary literature, that of the wide-open spaces of potential for metaphor, analogy, etc., when it comes to everyday technological digital life, a relatively fresh opportunity ripe for figuration, Chelsea’s line: “I feel like everything I write could be mistaken for theory about Adobe Photoshop’s Clone Stamp Tool” takes some beating. Apologies, that was an awful sentence, I wrote it backwards.
10. I don’t think I’m going to apologise for mentioned other writers in these reviews. Everything has a context, right.
11. Again, proper nouns. We demand them and respect them in our writing these days. In a world where everyday use value of your more common or garden common nouns has been superseded by the virtuality of brands, there’s just no point in talking about fields and rainbows anymore. If you do though, please keep it fresh.
12. The only things that I can’t cope with in this book are bathroom doors being open and any thought about or use of the word ‘queef’ but this is merely a personal opinion as well as being a potential stumbling block for any future romantic relationship involving myself and Chelsea Martin (see points 1-4).
13. On the other hand “Sometimes I’m so aroused and all I can do is frantically eat birth control fills” followed by “I meant for that to sound more punk rock” made me laugh possibly more than anything in this book and this book is funny.
14. It also made me think of Bikini Kill for some reason and I love Bikini Kill.
15. The book suddenly changes pace for a while at some point, it is very well paced, poetically paced and we get longer, what clever-dick writers of The New Sincerity would call ‘intertextuality,’ I think. As far as I remember.
16. As an example of this, there’s a great bit about a protagonist in an imagined novel and lots to do with a French antagonist which is all written in a pseudo-academic style and finishes with a v funny bit about the French antagonist getting a haircut but I’m not going to do it all for you. You have to buy this book.
17. There’s also a good point about protagonists in novels and the ease with which they seem to go through life which I think stands in opposition to most alternative literature these days (perhaps always has) and which only highlights the richness of this book.
18. My girlfriend and I discussed something that she read the other day about French women saying ‘Oh heterosexual Americans are so phallic, their pornography is so phallic and is all to do with giving blowjobs or receiving blow-jobs but then not returning the favour and this is terrible’ and myself and my girlfriend agreed that this was terrible and this book gives me hope that some American women are like French women in this context and some American men, like French men.
19. Something happens around page 54. A change of pace. Like I said earlier, the pace is everything in ‘Even Though I Don’t Miss You.’ This particular change of pace explains the title somehow.
20. The way she paces it is of a standard not seen too much these days, actually. Bring this back please, writers.
21. Chelsea Martin has a fine grasp of keyboard shortcuts which for some reason made me query her age so I tried to Google her age but only came up with a Chelsea Martin who looked nothing like our Chelsea Martin’s Twitter photograph, whose favourite sport was basketball and whose favourite film was What’s Love Got To Do With It and it wasn’t her. So, I remain in the dark.
22. Can a good grasp of keyboard shortcuts date someone’s age?
23. Never before has the Microsoft Word ‘Find and Replace’ tool been used to such fantastic figurative effect.
24. I can’t believe now that the tool itself wasn’t simply invented in order to allow the little piece of writing on page 54 to exist in the world.
25. I knew that sometimes something really petty was going on with my girlfriend that had something to do with Pepto-Bismol and something that she wouldn’t admit and it’s cool really that she doesn’t admit it but Chelsea Martin has just admitted it for her.