Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Delay is natural to a writer. He is like a surfer — he bides his time, waits for the perfect wave on which to ride in. Delay is instinctive for him. He waits for the surge (of emotion? of strength? of courage?) that will carry him along. I have no warm-up exercises, other than to take an occasional drink.EB White
The word 'occasional' looms so large in that paragraph...
Monday, October 18, 2010
Photo: Martin Schoeller's Obama portrait - photographed by Rick Rocamora for The San Farancisco Chronicle.
From Peter Baker's piece on Barack Obama in the New York Times, Sunday Oct 17 2010:
'On the campaign trail, he thought it was silly to wear a flag pin, as if that were a measure of his patriotism, until his refusal to wear a flag pin generated distracting criticism and one day he showed up wearing one. Likewise, he thought it was enough to pray in private while living in the White House, and then a poll showed that most Americans weren't sure he's Christian; sure enough, a few weeks later, he attended services at St. John's Church across from Lafayette Square, photographers in tow.'
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Actually, I just finished it. It's a book that's been critically lauded, by an author whose work I thoroughly admire and enjoy, and yet... I'm left a little disappointed by it. At the same time, I feel a pang of guilt for saying so, for there's no question that it's a funny, clever book, by a man who, alongside Sam Lipsyte, ranks as our greatest present day satirist.
I think what left me feeling a little let down was that in some ways it's really a refining of his brilliant previous work, Absurdistan. In both books we follow a cuddly, befuddled Russian Jew emigre through a collapsing society, a society that's besieged by forces both outside and within. In both stories, our lovable buffoon is chasing the love and affection of an outsize American archetype - in Absurdistan, a bounteous New York stripper 'Half Peurto Rican. And half-German. And half Mexican and Irish....raised mostly Dominican.' In the new book, the heart object is a skinny Korean girl from Fort Lee, New Jersey, by way of Southern California.
For me though, Absurdistan didn't need refining. It's sprawling, uncontainable, and I prefer it that way. Love Story is brilliantly imagined, and biting satire indeed, but I want to see what else it's brilliant author can do.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Saturday, October 9, 2010
Friday, October 1, 2010
Photograph by Joshua Bright for The New York Times
The photograph above shows the house in which F Scott Fitzgerald lived in the early '20s. During this time he was inspired to write The Great Gatsby, though most of the real blood, sweat and tears went into writing the book in Juans le Pins, in the South of France.
The first time I went to New York, long before I lived there, I wanted to tour the Great Neck region of Long Island, play th book tourist. Pretty much everything I read though indicated that there was little evidence of the neighbourhood as Fitzgerald saw it. Not completely true, as this New York Times article suggests: