- I really, really hated Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films. I think it only fair I get that out there, right up front.
- Why did I hate them so very much?
- Well, it’s complicated.
Piggybacking on Mike’s earlier post, I have long found it curious that the romance novel is the one genre no one wants to defend. (See, for instance, this comment.) But time was, romance was the genre.
It seems to me that the contemporary romance novel—of the paperback bodice ripper variety (see right)—arrived on our shores of our literary imagination in no small part due to writers like D. H. Lawrence. And what could be more literary than Lawrence? I myself can conceive of no formal reason why a romance novel can’t be art. Indeed, I suspect that someone out there is already writing great ones. (Hell, isn’t Lolita a romance novel?)
Part of what I love about this Chicago Reader review of The Twilight Saga: Eclipse is its understanding of how Stephanie Meyers’s books and the resulting films—regardless of their quality (I haven’t read or seen them yet, though I intend to)—do partake of a larger literary tradition:
This site lists how Twilight might go if written by a list of other novelists…noteworthy remix styles include Murakami:
“Bella has sex with Edward, who is half a ghost. Jacob is a talking cat. Most of the prose is given over to descriptions of Bella making pasta.”
and Cormac McCarthy:
“In the opening scene, Edward dashes Bella’s head against a rock and rapes her corpse. Then he and Jacob take off on an unexplained rampage through the West.”
I’ve been having problems sleeping lately. When I have problems sleeping, I become restless. It’s hard for me to get much reading done, especially anything heavy, because when I’m at my apartment I prefer to read in my bed, and if I’m tired and distracted what generally happens is that I fall asleep mid-sentence (and bend my glasses). It’s hot out. It’s really hot out. I have no A/C in my apartment. This is perhaps the reason I’ve been restless, and hopefully that’s true, because the heat is something I can adjust to.
Because I live across the street from my favorite bar, when I get restless I head to the bar and have a few drinks, generally with the intention of facilitating sleep. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes I end up at the bar and there’s nobody I know there except the bartenders and it’s awkward. Usually I can count on familiar enough faces to at least guarantee conversation.
Last night I couldn’t sleep, found myself restless, had already watched two movies and an episode of Twin Peaks (which I’m revisiting for the first time in the decade since I originally saw it), so I said fuck it and headed to the bar. I ordered a vodka gimlet first. Then I ordered a whiskey & soda. I was out of cash by this point, because I don’t carry that much cash on me regularly, and I knew that after mixing vodka and whiskey it would be unwise to drink that much more anyway, so I went home. I had a bit of a buzz going on. I got on my computer.
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This weekend I spent some time thinking about how much people love talking about MFAs, what they’re good for, who should get one, why they’re terrible, how much they cost, why they’re wonderful and on and on and on. I never imagined that a college degree could generate so much vigorous discussion. I love it.
At The Rumpus, Anelise Chen wrote an essay about the MFA Ponzi Scheme. It’s a great, witty essay that makes good, if not commonsensical points. The comments are pretty intense with all kinds of opinions being shared about the MFA with a great deal of cost/benefit analysis. I love when writers get all math-y. I don’t have much of an opinion on MFAs. I do not have one. I do believe one should never pay for graduate school but that a graduate education is awesome. There are worse things someone could spend their money on, like drugs, though for some, that might be something better to spend their money on. I don’t judge.