Daily Archives: October 24, 2006

storytelling taste

I haven’t forgotten the questions posed in my post asking, “What is my personal writing style?” I have dialogues about my taste and style all day long (“Oh, I like those pants…Oh, I like that fabric…Oh, I like that color…Oh, I like that couch…Oh, I like that flatware–Oh, are my thoughts so banal?), and for some reason I haven’t really looked at my taste in literature/writing/reading styles.

Why is that? I guess a part of me wants to like it ALL. Or that literature is beyond reproach?  (Who am I to say what matters?  But of course, I’m clearly going to spend the rest of this post talking about what I think matters-ha.)  Or maybe I’m just pretty fucking ignorant when it comes to my storytelling tastes.

So what do I like in particular when it comes to storytelling? Maybe I better start thinking about it, even if my initial thoughts are plebeian (hey, stupid plebeian thoughts are better than no thoughts). I like anything the screen writer Charlie Kauffman writes (“Being John Malkovich,” “Adaptation,” and “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind”). I love Haruki Murakami’s stories. I like wacky twisted television shows like “Lost” and (now) “Heroes” and “X-Files” and when I was a teenager, I obsessed about “Twin Peaks.” Ohgawd. I just listed more movies and television shows than books.

My favorite book of all time is The Great Gatsby, hardly magical or surreal, though. Why is that? I have to think about the link between The Great Gatsby and the fantastic stories I love these days.

And of writing in general: I just love it when a writer tries to do something different.

One of the things that makes me SCREAM in workshop even before I got “worshopped out,” are stories that tread well-worn paths. If I had a nickel for every story about a “girl who grew up in an abusive family and then got suicidal but then recovered,” or “a white upper middle class twentysomething who goes to a third world country and experiences an epiphany amidst ‘the natives’ (and discovers love while at it)” or “a middle aged woman who contemplates cheating on her husband out of boredom in her marriage,” or “a whiny Holden Caulfield wannabe character,” or “a drug recovery story,”…man, I’d have enough for an ice cream cone from Ben & Jerry’s. (My other pet peeve is the word “nipple”–my first semester in my program, I think I read the word nipple AT LEAST EVERY WEEK IN a workshop manuscript).

Anyway, that is just to say that I love it when a writer does something different…and that I hate it when a writer “plays to the familiar.”

Unless you kick ass with your writing. Then you can write about anything you want. 😛

Um, not really. I still think you should try to do something different.

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Filed under Abstract Thoughts, Writing

quiet cousin

I wrote a letter to a cousin I had not seen in about twenty years.  We’d lost touch for complicated reasons, and only recently did someone relay his whereabouts.  He’s here in the U.S.!  The letter was short and courteous and curious.  How are you we are fine please let me know how you are doing here is my contact info.

I waited a couple weeks.  No answer.  I wrote a second letter to him, relaying similar sentiment.

I waited another couple weeks.  No answer.

I didn’t have his email but I did have his phone number.  So I called and left voicemail.  How are you we are fine hope you are well please let us know how you are doing sorry to bother you seems like you’re busy I won’t bother you if you don’t want but just in case here is my contact info.  That sort of thing.

No answer.

I had always thought we’d lost touch with each other due to circumstance–that the rift between us was a consequence of other family friction.  Perhaps he has inherited the rift.  Our fathers’ battle is not our battle too, is it?

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