A combination of summary and review, here are my musings on “Blue is the Warmest Color,” originally written for Stillpoint Literary Magazine. Be sure to check out the other writers’ pieces!
The latest post from my sister blog!
The gods convened, looking down at the swirling chaos before them.
A pair stood on opposite ends of an arena, armored in their fears both with deft minds and solid hearts.
One player, slightly smaller in stature but of equal intensity shouted to the other across the desolate plain.
“Come, inquisitive man. Explore the fair lands, the mountains and the seas, the beauty and the poverty. Let us conquer our fears.”
The man, strong-willed and resolute firmly stood his ground.
“No, dear friend. The hour does not bode well for adventures such as these. Neither of us has a home; how can we leave in search of something without a place to which to return? No, dear comrade. We must part ways for the present time. And perhaps if the gods will it, we will meet again on another field.”
Last night I finished Lena Dunham’s debut novel Not That Kind of Girl. Creator of the infamous HBO Girls, Dunham has become a well-known figure of pop-culture.
I have watched all three seasons of HBO’s GIRLS. I enjoy GIRLS for its frankness, a cross between Seinfeld and Sex and the City. A show about nothing and everything simultaneously, but a tad more relatable than either ’90s TV show.
But I have mixed feelings on Not That Kind of Girl. I pre-ordered the book before it was published. It arrived, sharp in its unread pages and virgin spine. The back of the cover jacket boasts “Advance praise for Not That Kind of Girl,” written by George Saunders, Miranda July, David Sedaris, Judy Blume and Carroll Dunham (Lena Dunham’s artist – father).
I don’t recall ever having read a book that advertised such praise before the book had been published. Admittedly, I am not as up to date with current writers, but it struck me as odd. Having her father as an “advanced praiser,” although he is a renowned artist, rubs me the wrong way.
The book is divided into five sections: “Love & Sex,” “Body,” “Friendship,” “Work,” and “Big Picture.” I read Dunham’s story feeling detached. I have had many similar experiences to her, as thousands of women surely have. But it seemed average and lackluster for all the praise it received. Maybe I need to look at differently.
That being said, it is a great achievement for a non-fiction work like hers to be published. Her life story. A story about an average young woman. The same story many of us women live but only few will hear. Finally the average woman receives recognition for her existence. It’s just a shame it had to happen through the popularity of an HBO TV show. I hope her book will open the door for other women writers to get their stories out. I don’t believe any one is better than the other for having more fame or money. At the end of the day you’re a woman or a man, or somewhere in between if you’re not either. But you all have the same experiences. Natalie Portman visits her grandmother as do I (they live in the same apartment building).
We all have stories to tell. Ms. Dunham’s story, for whatever reason, does not sit well with me.
I guess I’m just not that kind of girl.
On The Paris Review‘s daily blog post, a blurb about word processors grabbed my attention. Here is last paragraph of the essay “Escape from Microsoft Word” by Edward Mendelson of the New York Review of Books.
“Intelligent writers can produce intelligent prose using almost any instrument, but the medium in which they write will always have some more or less subtle effect on their prose. Karl Popper famously denounced Platonic politics, and the resulting fantasies of a closed, unchanging society, in his book The Open Society and Its Enemies (1945). When I work in Word, for all its luxuriant menus and dazzling prowess, I can’t escape a faint sense of having entered a closed, rule-bound society. When I write in WordPerfect, with all its scruffy, low-tech simplicity, the world seems more open, a place where endings can’t be predicted, where freedom might be real.“
Personally I prefer pen and paper. As I prefer reading books in print to reading online. Those physicalities are more visceral and real to me than the programmed response of a plastic key.
I love the ease of picking up a pen and furiously scribbling as quickly as I can while my thoughts are flowing. Typing doesn’t have the same effect. Seeing your handwriting alter in rhythm and consistency is irreplaceable.
Alas, Mendelson’s essay is on word processors, however.
I remember using WordPerfect on an obsolete Gateway 2000 computer. I remember being frustrated with it, but that’s all I remember. I have used Microsoft Word for many more years, I think with equal frustration. The notion that MS Word was created with Platonic ideals in mind is fascinating. It would seem to explain larger problems users run into when working in more complex layouts. MS Word doesn’t lend itself to inspiring creativity or fostering it. It represents the idea of a document.
I’ve been frequenting the Mac application TextEdit for its simplicity and lack of restrictions. To me, TextEdit does not pose as a typewriter or a notepad. It just exists as a virtually infinite legal pad, will not count your words or divide them into pages. TextEdit almost … almost inspires creativity. More so than MS Word, which molds your writing to the idea of how it has been programmed to think a page with words should appear.