So little energy, so much on my mind! I want to post a dozen things, but I can’t get the car to start. Aside from the writing-for-money I have to wrap up and send off so that I can go west to Smalltown, U.S.A., with a clear conscience, I seem to be feeling the accumulated effects of weeks of overwork, exacerbated by the flu I finally shook off this past weekend. In short, I need a rest, and my hope (no doubt futile) is that I’ll get one in Smalltown, the continuous hum and buzz of family life notwithstanding. I’m bringing my iBook with me for the holidays, in the hope that I’ll spring back to life, but for the moment I think I need to lie fallow.
Incidentally, I got some nice e-mail from those of you who heard me on Soundcheck
the other day, to which I can only say that I enjoyed myself as much as you enjoyed me. (I don’t mean that quite the way it sounds.) John Schaefer and I have always had excellent chemistry, and whenever I chat with him on the air without notes or prior preparation, I catch myself wondering whether it might be more fun to talk on the radio for a living than to sit at my desk for hours on end, putting premeditated words into precise order…but no! That way lies the fate of Desmond MacCarthy, Robert Benchley, and all those other writers who lost their appetite for Getting It Down on Paper. I’ll flirt with radio–indeed, I might even engage in heavy petting on a semi-regular basis, assuming she were to make me a sufficiently enticing offer–but that’s where it stops. Honest.
I’ve also received several different versions of the following letter, which was inspired by a passing remark I posted
the other day:
I’m one of those unfortunate folk who is allergic to most of the Major American Novelists who came of age in the Fifties. Roth, Bellow, Mailer, Updike: all leave me cold as last month’s fish.
To which an old friend whom I haven’t seen in far too long replied:
So liberating to read your admission of an allergy to “important” 50’s-burgeoned Major American Novelists Roth, Bellow, Mailer, Updike, all of whom I have tried to “appreciate” and detest…mainly because I couldn’t respect them due to their awful lack of ability to create memorable, fully realized female characters…do you suppose that a possible reason for your allergy is that you are, like your beloved Balanchine, a Man who Loves Women?
As you can see, the author of this particular e-mail knows me very well. For as long as I can remember, all but a handful of my closest friends have been women, and it thus stands to reason that I’d tend to find women-unfriendly writers tedious. What’s more, I can think of several less-than-important novelists (Elmore Leonard comes to mind) whom I enjoy in part because their women characters are both “fully realized” and extremely likable. On the other hand, none of this explains why I’m also so powerfully drawn to noir tale-telling, both on paper and on screen, which is about as misogynistic as it gets (though the noir writers, Raymond Chandler above all, seem as a rule to be more afraid of women than disgusted by them). Any ideas?
Oh, and in case you’re wondering, I know exactly what I’m up to: even as I earnestly explain why I’m not going to post today, I’m succumbing to the stealthy undertow of blogging. Yes, I’ve been watching the referral log, and I have a few pithy comments to make about…but they’ll have to wait. Instead, I’m shutting the shop down and leaving the rest of my inchoate thoughts unrecorded, at least for the moment. They’ll keep. I’ll keep. And I’ll keep better for having taken another day off.
See you Friday.