Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Did I Stutter?
by Jordan E. Rosenfeld

I am a social being for the most part, but at times I can become deathly shy or self-conscious, like when meeting new people I hope to impress, or when I'm presenting a workshop or class, bringing out a kind of super-chatty, "look at me" style of conversation that is over-eager and over-compensating and makes me slap myself on the head later for not being more myself.
When I get like that, I pull out this little line to save my ass: "I'm a writer, not a talker."

Now I get to use a brand new line: "I have a new baby" to explain away everything from shyness to my newly acquired stutter. Days and even weeks after giving birth I stuttered so significantly I worried that I had suffered a small stroke during labor, unaware that this was just my brain on total sleep deprivation. Even my worst night's sleep--college cramming, insomnia or stress related--didn't compare to the constant waking of a newborn baby every couple hours or less. Being articulate simply was not an option.

The only thing to cast aside my fears that I had lost a crucial set of brain pathways in the birth process was that I could still string together intelligible sentences when writing. The words still flowed, even though writing a paragraph was a major achievement.

As I've always said--thank god for writing, or I'd be a terrified mute with absolutely no self-awareness.
But it's worth it. See for yourself:

Twilight Saga: I'll Take Jake

So Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, hits stores Saturday, right? Although I know I’m in the minority here, I’ve got to add my vote to the fever-pitch riot of opinions popping up all over the internet about Edward and Jacob.

For those who haven’t read it, the series features a love triangle of sorts. We’ve got Bella, the main character, choosing between the stately, traditional, impeccably polite vampire, Edward, and this grease monkey kid from the rez, Jacob who, through no fault of his own, happens to be a werewolf. I know, it all sounds insipid to outsiders, but somehow Meyers makes it work.

The point to all of this is that I love Jacob, man. He’s funny, hot blooded, sweet and raw. He’s torn, faded Levi’s to Edward’s tuxedo. And let’s face it: I’m a sucker for a bad boy.

Although I’ve had mixed feelings about the series and about Bella as a protagonist, I’ve got to say I found it all compulsively readable. I never read a single word of the Harry Potter books, thus effectively missing out on a major cultural movement, so it’s been kind of cool to accidentally get swept up in this one.

My central theory about why the Twilight saga works so well is this: girls want to be worshipped. I know I do. Whenever I feel the slightest complacency from my boyfriend I’m like, “Listen, babe, I’m just not feeling the worship.” Bella’s insecure and clumsy, she’s totally human, yet she’s got two incredible, supernatural hotties worshipping her no matter what she does. Who can resist that fantasy?

I know I’m in the minority when it comes to loving Jake. Come on Cullen-heads, bring it on!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Hunter S Thompson Documentary - "Gonzo"

I went to San Francisco to see "Gonzo - The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S Thompson" with my dear friend Jane, another HST fan. It felt like a sort of pilgrimage because Jane and I had driven two hours from home to sit in that theatre and pay homage to the genius that is Hunter.

I read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas when I was a freshman in college. My first taste of Hunter. The wildness of the story held together with precise prose and blunt truths made an impact on my own writing and life. This was also the time I had discovered Dead Kennedies and was exploring punk. I was shaking off my small town immaturity and ideals, expanding my world view, and embracing that part of me that howled at the moon. My inner need for chaos was strummed by the writing of Hunter.

Since then, I've read most of his books and much of his writing, and his energy has stayed with me, imprinting on my concepts of art and politics. However, I have no illusions about him. My admiration is not romantic; he was a drug-addict, alcoholic, manic-depressive prone to violent outbursts and when he killed himself I was angry. It felt like a betrayal of everything he wrote. If only he'd had the courage to face the era of George Bush! What wondrous words he would have thrown at the White House!

The movie helped me understand a little better why he felt like he had to die. I saw the human behind the art, the troubled boy behind the angry man. I saw his goodness and compassion and I understood what drove him to ride that edge for so long. He lived his life peering over it until he finally lost the energy to hang on. Over he went, leaving behind his words and his ideas which will resonate forever.