February 6, 2016

~ This week I read Bad Behavior by Mary Gaitskill.  This pleasantly dated work was published in 1988, and is a series of short stories that examines women’s roles, self-perceptions, explorations, often as seen through a mal41cw+tmfduL._SX320_BO1,204,203,200_e lens, playing with narrative, and totally chaotic. Lots of sexual content and human underbelly. It is aptly named.

~Quote, from the story “Connection.”: “Connection” was a vague word when applied to humans. What did it mean? She remembered a man she’d had a short affair with before she’d met Steve. He was a sweet, practical person who never read books, rarely went out, and didn’t seem to care strongly about anything except a few friends and a martial art he practiced with fanatic zeal. They had nothing in common. In most ways he bored her. Yet when she touched him she felt  a sensitivity in his body, a sense of receptivity she rarely encountered in men. When he held her against his chest, she felt secure and protected in a way that had nothing to do with his muscular body. She felt that they were nourishing each other in some important, invisible way. But they could barely hold a conversation. 

At times, she had thought this was the only connection you coulsimone_de_beauvoir_2-662x662d have with people– intense, inexplicable, and ultimately incomplete.

 

~ Work habits fascinate me, and the more I read about them the more inspired I am, so now I’m sharing them with you, one a week. I’m going to start with Simone de Beauvoir, because she was a bad ass lady. Simone worked from ten to one every day, then socialized with her partner, Jean-Paul Sartre, from one to five, then rushed back to work until nine pm. She took annual vacations that lasted one to two months, every year.

Obviously, not to be done with kids, but sounds kind of dreamy to have time to socialize AND be a dedicated artist. Eh, I wouldn’t trade it. I really like my kids.

 

~ Movie wise, I watched The Big Short. I, along with many people I know, have always felt like I was undereducated about the economic crash. The movie was smart, fun, witty and in the end I know what happened and exactly how insane it is that the banks were bailed out.

Iceland, people, ICELAND!

 

~And so I know where to find it, this article, 13 Writing Tips From Chuck Palahniuk, is a keeper. I especially like and fear number seven: “Let yourself be with Not Knowing. This bit of advice comes through a hundred famous people, through Tom Spanbauer to me and now, you. The longer you can allow a story to take shape, the better that final shape will be. chuck-palahniuk-essaysDon’t rush or force the ending of a story or book. All you have to know is the next scene, or the next few scenes. You don’t have to know every moment up to the end, in fact, if you do it’ll be boring as hell to execute.”

 

~ Recently, Ive been feeling like I’m not that into chocolate, but my agent, Emily, sent me some when I got my book deal and I remembered the company this week. The figs with ganache and whiskey are my favorites. So, I wound up sending out some thank yous and some happy birthdays and, in fact, ordered enough chocolate that John of this company, John and Kiras, sent me a note saying he wanted to read my book. So I feel like they’re actual people, it’s a small company,  and I’m telling you, the chocolate is effing deeeelicious. You can order on johnandkiras.com, or just stare at the picture like I do. hpvalentines_figsHappy filling of your wells! ~el