I think I’m the only one who’s happy with the results of this season. I loved Gretchen’s collection, and throughout the season I felt like her clothes were the most stylish and wearable. She can get a little too hippie for my taste—for instance, I thought the purple velvet frock the judges loved was hideous. But overall, her clothing really appealed to me.
I also liked Mondo’s work, but his clothing felt repetitive. So much purple Houndstooth! Also, it seemed like people liked him more than his clothing. He was so lovable.
I thought Gretchen, rather than being villainous, was simply misunderstood. Okay, maybe she talked a little shit—but didn’t everyone? She was honest in her confessionals, which is what you want, right? I feel like, were I to be on a reality TV show, I would not be able to hold back on the critique and gossip whenever the producers sat me down in that little room! Was she a little opinionated? Yes. A touch bossy? Yes. But, you know, I don’t fault her for those traits. I can be a real bossy boss too sometimes. I like to be in control, and that can get you in some troubling situations.
Anyway, I’m glad she won.
[Enough important analysis for one day.]
Every week in class we run out time before we can discuss “Me and Miss Mandible.” This has actually only happened twice, but it feels like it might happen again next week, and again the following week. An effect of mistiming, or of a bureaucratic oversight, or the consequence of our group-wide idee fixe on the third person and its dangerous and amazing elasticity. Whatever it is, we just keep forgetting the reading! How fitting for Barthelme, no?
Tonight in class I served a platter of chocolates because my students were turning in their first story assignments. Of course, not everyone partook in these treats, and there were a couple of absences; of course, many pieces of chocolate remain. Guess who will eat them? I will.
Freedom by Jonathan Franzen isn’t funny and beautiful enough to outweigh the nasty, frustrating actions of its characters. And the characters aren’t authentic enough for me to be truly absorbed by their lives and their problems. I don’t think it’s a wonderful book, just a capable one.
I’ve spotted two anachronisms so far. First, when Patty was a kid, her grandparents bought her remaindered books from Barnes and Noble, What year was that…?! And, later, in Joey’s 2001 section (which is stupidly part of a section called “2004”), he says his aunt disparages Tina Fey and Sarah Silverman. Those two comediennes certainly weren’t famous by then.
While I suppose the summary in the first half does give the novel a Tolstoyian feel, it also allows for some near hysterical listing of facts and asides. It gets exhausting. Much of the drama is presented as exposition or in summary describing the event after it’s happened, making me feel like I’ve always just missed a train.
Also? I don’t believe Patty wrote that biography of herself in the third person. Franzen makes some feeble attempts to suggest it’s her by capitalizing words at random. Isn’t that cute—oh, you silly woman who’s not a writer! But he eventually forgets the conceit altogether, and the language becomes entirely Franzenian again. For me, it violates the authenticity that point of view should provide. Why use that gimmick at all, if it’s going to be handled so gracelessly?
Franzen, I am disappointed in you.
(Also I am in a very bad mood.)
Today my waxer told me I was one of her favorite clients. I think she likes me for my personality, but you never know.
I’ve handled a lot of rejection for my writing, and in the last couple of weeks, those rejections have been pretty unbearable. I will talk more specifically about them someday, hopefully when I have a happy ending to report.
But! Today! Today! A magazine accepted a story of mine! It’s kind of well known. It was started by a guy whose name rhymes with Bave Beggers. Holy shit! I am going to take a morning bath now, to celebrate.
I don’t own a single item of clothing that is purple. Well, not true. I have a Michael Kors formal dress that I got at Loehmanns or $99, marked down from $1,000 (!). I also have a pair of purple underwear, which I magically chose this morning. Now I am happy to be wearing them, to show my support. I wish I had a purple shirt like everyone else!