Jan. 3rd, 2012

kiev4am: (fell)
What this mostly means to me is that the clock is now ticking on all the stuff I've been breezily saying I'll get started on 'in the new year.' You know, easy stuff like retrain, look for another job, rewrite my book and take up running. Oh bugger.
kiev4am: (six)
I was skimming through some of my Dad's New Yorker magazines recently. I still find the non-fiction stuff in the NY really interesting; one issue alone had pieces about giant Polaroid cameras, Edward Hopper's house, a writer's double life of lit-fic and pulp noir, and a deceased modern artist called Blinky Palermo who I wish I'd heard of before. I also still giggle like a fool at some of the cartoons (zebra to lion: I give up, what's black and white and red all over?). But then I happen to read a short story, and it's like going back in time to the eighties when I first started dipping into these magazines as a teenager and thinking, 'Oh God, is this what proper grown-up writing is supposed to be like? Really?'

You could make a bingo card. Middle-aged male narrator, horny but jaded - check. Dysfunctional marriage to ambitious but thwarted woman - check. (If the narrator's female, the marriage is the same but there's a mother-in-law and a lofty, feckless academic lover who'll never commit). Affairs described like dry, inevitable collisions between bits of furniture; one-note secondary characters; passing bigotry added without criticism because the target readership parses it as 'grit', 'authenticity' or 'colour'; bloodless, cut-off, non-ending endings with neither resolution nor resonance, as if the storyteller just hung up on you midway. It may not apply to every NY story but wow, is it a common template. Grim.

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kiev4am

May 2012

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