Tuesday, July 20, 2010

At loose ends

Sigh. I'm kinda sad, kinda bored. I have enough packed that doing anything here is difficult. I have all this free time, which theoretically would seem to be a great time to work on my (old) New Article (which you might remember my preliminary research reading the history and the folio fascimiles here and here from oh-so-long-ago), but I still don't know quite what I want to say, and it's just going to be really hard to read around in the theory when all my books are packed and I have limited library access. Sigh. I could make a lot of progress in two weeks of boredom if I were at the right stage, say the re-outlining and revising an article to make it actually make sense stage. But I think actually I am still in the reading things and figuring out what conversation I am actually intervening in stage. Grumble, sigh.

I just finished Edwidge Danticat's Brother, I'm Dying, which was pretty depressing. I love her books but I prefer novels to autobiographies, which this is. Or more of a memoir of her two dads --- her biological father and her uncle who raised her most of her childhood. Pretty much the only thing that happens in this book is that they both die, so if you recently lost someone or your father has serious health issues, it's not a fun book to read. It's also so... ordinary. When she writes novels she (like most novelists) pays such careful attention to language and symbol and the placement of when and where things happen to make structural parallels or contrasts or what have you, and this was frustrating because it was written in such ordinary language as if she were talking to me. You know, very repetitious, simple language, no almost no figurative language, no lyric "purple passages." I think that's what I love most about novels --- how they will shift into a higher register of language or images but that is justified because of what has just happened at the level of plot --- and autobiographies are often so focused on what happened when that they strip out this layer. Hmpf.

Plus, she is about my age, and I have a strong prejudice against young people writing autobiographies unless they have had truly amazing lives and are good writers. This mainly comes from having to read student writing --- if you are a fairly privileged and protected kid, there's probably not much you've done in your first 18 years that is worth endlessly memoir-ing over, ok?

I have a couple more books still unpacked and a big stack of newsmags to get through, so maybe I'll just continue reading stuff. But I just feel guilty (and driven, like I'm running out of bits of valuable time) that I'm not hauling ass on that (old) New Article. But I'm kind of stuck.

1 comment:

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

You're at that super boring point of moving. I wish there were something fun I could advise you to do, but most of it would require money. Yeah, I don't have any either...

Hope you're moving soon so that you'll have something else to do other than wait. That's so hard!