tangents & minutiae

musings of one who is easily distracted

Month: September, 2011

Review: Everything Beautiful Began After

Everything Beautiful Began After
Everything Beautiful Began After by Simon Van Booy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The first “book” is wonderfully evocative of the warmth of the sun, and the scents and dusty roads of Athens. Of brief encounters and falling in love and friendships developed too fast and too close and a time of potential. Then a devastating intermission. The next two books, for me, was a struggle between me as reader, and the thoughts and feelings the writer was trying to impose on me. This is the problem I have every time a writer moves into second person. I always feel like its a cheat and I always rebel against it. When van Booy says I feel some way or I’m doing something, especially when I think the character is behaving in a way that I can not relate to. Had it been in third person, it wouldn’t have been a problem, since it wouldn’t be me.

I fought with the book until the end. I’m not sure it was worth it.

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If I knew this earlier

In my early twenties I had a terrible boyfriend.* I was always attracted to smart guys and he was definitely that (and rather pompous about it.) He was a writer. Well, he said he was a writer. He wrote me thoughtful poetry and was serially unemployed. He lost every job he had because someone was always out to get him. The fact that he was always substantially late to work and lazy apparently had nothing to do with it. But I loved him and supported him because I believed in his writing. But he never wrote. Never. He was paralyzed with a fear of rejection, so he never started anything. He insisted that everything be perfect before he could do anything and, naturally, it never was.

Now I see myself struggling against the same paralysis through procrastination and only deadlines get me writing. Writing for ARTWRIT has helped, but my academic work is suffering. I’m so afraid of the criticism of my peers that it is really hard to stay focused, and the lack of deadlines make it far to easy to put my articles and book aside in favor of immediate teaching needs. I don’t have a mentor anymore (my advisor died shortly after I graduated) so I’m floating on my own.

Perhaps is I keep watching this Ira Glass video, I’ll get something done.

 

* terrible defined here as perpetually unemployed, passive aggressive, spirit crushing and a complete and utter slob.