I’ve been meaning to get back to posting, but with blogs as with so many other things, momentum is 90% of success. I have a theory that writing novels is like this too, but I need to finish a novel before I can actually expound any theories on novel-writing. With novels and blogs both, there is also a feeling that there are already far too many of these things out there, so why add another? With novels, though, I sort of see the point. With blogs…
I’m going to AWP tomorrow, for the first time. I’m interested to see how I do with it. I go pretty regularly to big work conferences, with thousands of hotel-hopping people in cities that are usually either blistering hot or numbingly cold. Sometimes I even get to see friends and go to fun sessions. (Last year I went to a panel with Nnedi Okorafor, and one time I heard Muhammad Yunus talk.) But those are work conferences, where I can stride around with a sense of externally-instilled purpose or else self-pity, because they’re always over weekends and that means I work the whole weekend. I’m interested to see what it’s like to have the full-bore conference experience without an actual job purpose backing me up.
Yesterday when I got home from work there were two tiny books waiting for me in the mail. They were from Madras Press, which publishes novellas or novelettes or long short stories or…I don’t know what, exactly, but long prose works, as beautiful little chapbooks. See:
Madras donates the net proceeds from their book sales to charitable causes. The Link book earnings go to The Fistula Foundation. The Helena dela Cruz Abrams book earnings go to the New Hanover County Humane Society. I call this a good deal.
I’m also about to launch into reading Lysley Tenorio’s short story collection, Monstress, which has been getting lots of good press. I’m going to talk about it on an upcoming episode of Late Night Library, so I’m studiously avoiding reviews of it until then. Maybe. Unless I can’t come up with any good ideas of my own.
In movie news, we’ve recently watched both Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and This Means War, for reasons related to a certain person who is cast in both those movies. Also because Gary Oldman is in TTSS, and I’ll follow him through a minefield. And because TTSS was a gorgeous, brilliant, wonderful book and I couldn’t wait to see it as a movie. It was a very stylish movie. I think most people came out of the theater going: OK, now, so the Hungary thing happened because of the mole, and then the Russian lady knew something, and Benedict Cummerbund, and was everything really that gray in London in the 70s? And the mole was why again? And Karla? It’s not a simple story to get across in two hours of screen time, but it was a wonderful two hours of screen time.
I did not feel the same way about This Means War. And I was going to leave it there, but I realized I have some things to say. First, poor Chris Pine is not aging well. He’s one of those people who had the right proportions for a while but now either they’re styling him wrong or he’s growing out of his face. His head is becoming rectangular, like Van Der Beek. His eyebrows are enormous. With all the grooming power of Hollywood behind him, that’s how his eyebrows look. I can only imagine what they would be if they weren’t styled.
But. It’s not his fault about his head, and eyebrows are sort of a personal taste. Mainly I just thought that both Pine and Witherspoon looked like people who have been in Hollywood long enough to have been warped by it in subtle ways. This happens to people. Viz: JLo. Many years ago she was Jenny From The Block, and looked normal. Now she’s an alien. It happens to everyone, I think. Hollywood sucks out everyone’s subcutaneous fat and bleaches their teeth and adds color to their eyes. In the movie, I swear to God they’d colorized people’s eyes. All three stars have blue(ish?) eyes, and all three of them looked like they were wearing Ty-D-Bowl contacts. It was unnerving.
The movie was directed by McG, and it’s about two CIA agents (one of whom is inexplicably English, one of whom is inexplicably named FDR) who
like stalk the same girl. By surveilling her in secret, they learn what she likes, and then they try to act like they like those things too. Things like Klimt and animal shelters. They also torture criminals and destroy personal property. The English one takes a paintball in the crotch.
This is where romantic comedy is right now.
So, I’m not sure what else to say about this one except that in a movie that gives a government employee an apartment with a swimming pool in the ceiling, the most unbelievable part was the idea that any woman would choose Chris Pine over Tom Hardy. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, please Google.