Wednesday, August 25, 2010

General Boarding Will Begin in a Few Minutes

I'm at Logan Airport right now waiting to fly away to Ohio. It's a work thing and I feel positively nothing like George Clooney. I wish I had a tightly packed carry-on and was a very handsome bachelor (I actually don't think he's that good looking, is that weird?)

They make you watch some commercial video before they allow you to have wireless access - but I totally won that game by staring at the coffee counter while it played. I think Logan just got served.

Ryan is in San Francisco at a baseball game. On the phone you can hear all kinds of ambient noise that suggests a picture of cheerful cheering fans, happy half-eaten hot dogs, tans, just tons of happy tanned people who love baseball and get to live in California. Meanwhile, back in East Boston everything is a pretty blinding shade of gray and the light at the end of the tunnel is a deluxe room at the La Quinta next to the Cleveland airport. DUMPS! I'M IN 'EM! I don't think Doritos will help but I'm wondering if it's worth a shot.

My dad gave me a crossword puzzle and a newly sharpened pencil, and earlier today I downloaded "The Orchard", Ra Ra Riot's new CD -- so these are the things that I'm concentrating on. Really trying not to think about those Doritos. Or moving to California.

You know, that girl from Up in the Air that won an Oscar is also featured in the Twilight movies. How stupid does that make Kristen Stewart feel? Or maybe Kristen Stewart doesn't feel stupid, she only ever feels tired and peeved. I think I feel like Kristen Stewart. Not George Clooney.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Ramona Quimby, Age A Bajillion

Beverly Cleary is currently on CBS news. She is grandmotherly in the strictest sense, an Easter-white halo of hair and delicate cardigan over her shoulders. She used to be a children's' librarian, she says. She also says that kids are very much the same inside today as they were when she began writing books. She's written more than thirty books. She says she doesn't have any idea what a Kindle is.

My aunt Mary is a children's' librarian and the most voracious reader I've ever met. She zooms through books daily, weekly, and is full of wonderful observations about her words and worlds. Sometimes I think of how many people and stories (real and imagined) must occupy her brain and it's dizzying.

I feel very full and happy when I'm in the middle of a good book. I feel like I'm accomplishing a good thing and I feel like somehow I'm much more human. It's the kind of thing they talk about on NPR too much. You know, how distracted we are with websites and tweets and how there's really no such thing as multi-tasking and our brains are turning into oatmeal because of technology. I agree whole-heartedly with all of it (she writes on her blog, the link to which she'll post on Facebook).

Speaking of Facebook, Mary loves that too. It's not all just subtle language, story arcs and big ideas - she gets her fill of status updates and group invites too. So, a healthy mix, I guess. In related news, it turns out I'm the kind of person who wants to talk about what they heard on NPR. Have a thorough barf at that.

Anyway, Beverly Cleary just lifted my whole day up. It's awfully rainy where I am and today was a fat bucket of generalized disdain. Ms. Cleary though, she looks like an angel.

Monday, August 23, 2010

On Triplets and Fiction

I heard about a woman who is a triplet. She and one of her sisters were identical and the third was...not. I'm kind of obsessed with this idea. Can you imagine the innate alienation of being born a triplet and having different eyes, different hair, a different stature than your two identical sisters? And as we all know, the key to literary pathos is alienation! Celebrate!

That's what folks write about though, no? Being outside and looking in, square peg in a round hole, round woman in skinny jeans, maniacs of all persuasions, etc... I guess well adjusted people aren't extremely interesting. Or maybe they're interesting enough for sitcoms, just not books, or mini-series, or movies. Or even hour long series. For example, DJ Tanner is great fun for 25 minutes, but to carry a whole hour you really need Buffy or Fox Mulder or Tony Soprano. Someone has to kick someone else's ass either emotionally or literally. Someone has to feel dejected or victimized or redeemed in some way larger than getting grounded for a month (a month!).

In thinking about writing, it's useful to bat these things around, I think. Who is your favorite protagonist and what was his dysfunction?

What if Melinda is a foot shorter than her two sisters and they don't even fit into the same kind of leotard for the triplet tap number at their dance recital? Does she eventually become a murderer? Or maybe she dyes her hair bright red in High School and falls in love with Jared Leto? Or perhaps she is given the One Ring and has to make her way to Mordor with only the aid of her well intentioned but rather puffy gardener?

...the possibilities are endless...