Monday, June 15, 2009

It's crunchy and salty, but it does leave a lot of crumbs behind.

Oh, I hate when this happens. I thought I'd sit down to write a blog post, and...nothing. I don't have a single thing that I want to write about. I'm temporarily disenchanted with the entire Internet, so perhaps that's spilling over and affecting my ability to write anything. I still love blogging, and reading all of your wonderful blogs, but I have to say that I am Twittered right the hell out. It might be premature to say so, but it's possible that I've Tweeted my last Tweet. I'm tired of email, tired of Facebook (and I STILL don't even have a Facebook page), and I feel like I just don't have anything left to add to the conversation, so I think I'll stay out of it for a bit.

I was writing for Examiner for a while, but I've decided to stop that too. Finding stories and people to write about was a lot of fun, but it's very time consuming and is paying virtually nothing. Now that my almost 8 year old is finished school and swim team launches into maximum overdrive, I just don't have time.

What else? School, there's something to write about. In a development that will shock no one, I have found to my dismay that the class I chose for its lack of rigor seems to possess plenty of rigor, thankyouverymuch. This could be another reason why I'm not feeling like writing: Because I'm writing ALL THE DAMN TIME, about a subject which interests me not at all. But I'm already 1/3 of the way through this class, so I'll just focus on the next few weeks, which will get me to the 2/3 mark. Then all I'll have to do is churn out another paper and take another final, and I'll be that much closer to finishing this degree. I have serious thoughts of quitting at least once a month, but I just slap those feelings down and keep going. I have to do this, I tell myself; I don't have to like it, but I have to do it.

Now I'm just going to ramble, in accordance with my "just sit down and write" method for combatting writers' block. It is usually quite effective. I just finished reading Curtis Sittenfeld's "American Wife". I read "Prep" two years ago or so, and thought it was very good, and that Ms. Sittenfeld is a very good writer. I still think so, actually. You have probably heard of "American Wife". It was rather controversial in that it is a novel based on the life of Laura Bush. The book is broken into four sections. The first covers Alice Lindgren Blackwell's early life, up to age 17 when she causes a classmate's death in a tragic accident. The second section begins when Alice is 29, single and a school librarian in Madison, Wisconsin, where she meets and falls in love with charming, irresponsible Charlie Blackwell, son of a former governor and GOP presidential candidate. The third section covers her mostly-quiet life as the wife of the restless and alcoholic Charlie, who eventually buys the Milwaukee Brewers. After Alice leaves him briefly, Charlie embraces evangelical Christianity, gives up drinking, and wins the governorship of Wisconsin. Section 4, titled "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" covers Alice's years as First Lady.

For the most part, I liked the book very much. "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue" is where it fell apart a bit for me, and not because of my dislike of the Bush Administration. The problem is that while the events of the first three sections closely parallel what we know about the life of Laura Bush, there's just enough that's different that I still feel like I'm reading a novel. The supporting characters, including Alice's parents and grandmother, her childhood best friend, and her spoiled and shallow but kindhearted sister in law, are all very well drawn, and Alice is a very complex and introspective character. "1600 Pennsylvania Avenue", though, reads like a story about the Bush White House in which nearly nothing but the names have changed. While in the previous three sections, Alice's interior life is nuanced and detailed and interesting enough that we'd want to read about her even if she remained a school librarian, the last section reads like a recollection of events and not much more. Maybe that was intentional...maybe it was the author's way of demonstrating how an ordinary person becomes one of the most famous people in the world and thus loses the right to have a private life, even inside her own head. Reading it, though, it feels like at that point, Ms. Sittenfeld just wanted to finish the book. Still, it's a very good summer novel, and I'd recommend it.

This concludes one of the most meandering and pointless posts I've written yet. I started on Internet Fatigue Syndrome (did I make that up? I'm going to Google it and see where this post comes up in the search results), briefly covered children and swim team, found my way to complaints about life as an adult student, and then a brief book review.

I love Chex Mix, especially the Cheddar flavor, but I hate the little triangular cheese crackers, so I pick them out. Maybe you like the cheese crackers, but you don't like the little pretzels. Think of this post as Chex Mix. There might be something worthwhile in there somewhere; just throw out all the rest.


Matty Boy said...

I think there may be some value to Twitter, but it escaped me entirely. I was a somewhat early adopter and a super early abandoner.

Keep writing. We miss you when you aren't there.

Anonymous said...

I seem to have writer's block too at the moment, hence the number of crappy entries about nonsense. I mean not that I'm usually making mind blowing posts about nuclear physics or anything but still. Worse than USUAL even.

However, you and I could share a box of Chex Mix because I love the little triangular cheese crackers and not so much the pretzels. Now tell me you love the chocolates with the nuts in them in a box of chocolates and despise the fruit and caramel ones and we can share THOSE too! :)

BeckEye said...

Wow. Are you sure you had nothing to say?? :)

I will never EVER use Twitter. I can say this with no fear of contradicting myself down the line. NEVER.

CDP said...

Matty--thank you, sir. You know, I liked Twitter at first. Now I'm going to get all "it was good before it got all commercial", but that's exactly it. It really is just a means of promoting things now, and some of the people I follow update 30 times a day. That's too many.

VA--I like some chocolates better than others, but there's really nothing in a box of chocolate that I'd reject outright.

BeckEye--I know, that's a lot of words for nothing to say, right? To know me is to love me.

Steve said...

i dont twitter but while i am on facebook all people do is comment about how I never update anything there!
And I LUVES me Chx mix (I'll take you traingly pointy crackers if you aint eating them!)

dguzman said...

Never been on Twitter, and I never will. I'm also kinda tired of Facebook. I'm even sorta-kinda over the whole blogging thing.

Maybe I'm just lazy, or bummed out from the constant rain and cold (56 degrees here in JUNE). Meh.

I don't even care what you write about. I like it all. I especially liked your potential explanation about the book: "and thus loses the right to have a private life, even inside her own head"--nice. (resisting urge to discuss Crazy Eyes' empty head)

Lisa said...

Thank you for the review of American Wife. It's one of those books I pick up, put down, pick up, put down.

Please write whatever the heck you want. It's the way you say things as much as what you say.

And yeah, on the whole online thing. I'm feeling the need to unplug more and more. I mean, when you're reduced to writing about itches, like I did yesterday, it's time to re-evaluate the whole blogging strategy.

Anonymous said...

I don't quite get twitter - but a lot of people use it. I can barely read my US Magazine on time.

Embee said...

Don't get discouraged about school. I just graduated last month after slogging through when I thought I would just die of tedium, and now I'm so happy and proud of myself to have finished! I'll be starting an MFA in August, so back into the grind, but it'll be worth it. Hope you don't have too much longer to go!

I'm going to swim upstream on this one, but I like Twitter. As a writer I've made lots of good writer, publisher, agent contacts. If it weren't for that, it would probably bore me out of my head.

I've never tried chex mix.

Haven't read the book, but you make it sound good. Don't think I'll be able to read it though because of my intense disgust for the Bush Administration. I'm now trying to pretend it never happened.

Happy birthday to your son!

CDP said...

Steve--send me your address, and I'll send you a big manila envelope full of pointy crackers. From Silver Spring to Baltimore--you should get most of them in one piece.

Dguzman--thank you, my dear. And HOW does this weather suck? Let me count the ways.

Lisa--I'm blogging once or twice a week now, and I'm finding that that's just enough.

Suze--Twitter is fun, but I'm a little burned out on it right now.

Embee--thanks for the encouragement! I'm not giving up on school, I just intend to complain about it for as long as it takes for me to graduate. Bah.

susan said...

I was on facebook for a day and a half and haven't had the energy yet to close the account. It would likely be a lot of trouble to do that anyway. Blogging is still enjoyable but I've never posted more than twice a week and often less. I like visiting a few other bloggers in what's more or less slow time.

I'm glad you're making your way through one more course on the way to your degree. It's a worthy effort and I'm proud of you.

Sauntering Soul said...

I've never done the Twitter thing or the Facebook thing and really have no plans to either. I've actually contemplated quitting the blogging thing because I just don't think people want to hear any further stories about my crazy family or how much I want to move from Atlanta. And yet I keep writing that boring crap week after week.

Gifted Typist said...

Once during a bad episode of writers block I read a book called "throwing down the bones" - basically you just sit there and write anything till you free up the blockage - it worked too.

elissa said...

*eats entire bowl of chex mix*

*forgets all about resolution to lose winter weight*

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