“Such as the time he asked my favorite gemstone, and I blurted out topaz before thinking. He’d been flinging questions at me with such speed that I felt like I was taking one of those psychiatric tests where you answer the first word that comes to mind. I was sure he would have continued down whatever mental list he was following, except for the blush. My face reddened because, until very recently, my favorite gemstone was garnet. It was impossible, while staring into his topaz eyes, not to remember the reason for the switch.”—
Twilight, Stephenie Meyer, Chapter 11
If I had a nickel for every flirtatious conversation I’ve had about my favorite gemstone! I would have no nickels, ever, over the course of my entire life.
So far I think I’m on Team Edward, as in Team I Wish Edward Was the Protagonist of This Book Series. At least he does stuff (changes his eye color, puts dents into oncoming vans). I’ve heard the theory that Bella is a blank slate on purpose, a built-in Mary Sue, which I could buy if she wasn’t so distinctively awful. In order to make her “isolated,” Meyer gives her a voice that is inexplicably angry at everybody, especially the boys who dare to want to go to a dance with her but are not vampires. But she just comes across as a jerk, and the worst kind of jerk, at that—a jerk who mistakenly believes she is funny.
"You don’t look very tan."
"My mother was part albino."
He studied my face apprehensively, and I sighed. It looked like clouds and a sense of humor didn’t mix. A few months of this and I’d forget how to use sarcasm.
Huh? That passage also illustrates another weird thing about these first four chapters, which is how often we are reminded that Bella is WHITE. Very WHITE. More WHITE than you would expect from a girl from Phoenix, but not as WHITE as all of the kids in Forks, and nowhere near as WHITE as the vampires.
But for the most part, so far I’m just bored. Not much has happened in 84 pages, and the only spike of pleasure I felt was when Edward made a joke about finite natural resources. That was pretty good. Team Edward!
Just now in the car, I calculated that Kevin and I have been together for exactly two-and-a-half years as of today. I don’t know what made me calculate it, but I did, and now we have only one hour and seven minutes to acknowledge this milestone, so here’s how we celebrated: Kevin took out the garbage but before he did, he told me that if he didn’t make it back through the snow, he would haunt me, and then I said, “Can I tumblr about you?” and he said, “What, like a two-and-a-half year musing?” and I said, “Yes.” I don’t have a coherent thread to muse about, except to say that everything about Kevin is really great, from the way he plays Harry Potter video gamesto the conversations about sexism and racism that he’s willing to have at 1 a.m. Two-and-a-half years is longer than I’ve ever been in a relationship, but it almost seems silly to acknowledge it in this particular relationship, which I plan to keep going until long after our human bodies have been replaced with cyborgs.
I’ve decided, with roughly a year left until my completion of this MFA program, with the daunting but manageable prospect of looming perpetual unemployment on the horizon, with so much pressure to Be A Part of The Conversation!, when really so much of that Conversation is just “Isn’t being a writer great/hard/strange? LET’S TALK ABOUT IT FOREVER!”, which is a conversation that is repulsive to me, I mean, literally, shivers up my spine, can’t do it, won’t do it, please stop making me talk about this, especially in a classroom setting, do you guys think coal miners sit around in coal mines talking about being coal miners? Not that the two professions are in any way comparable, they are not comparable because being a coal miner is actually difficult, anyway, I’ve decided that I am not ever going to call myself a “writer,” ever again. I am never going to say the words, “As a writer,” or “Well, being a writer myself,” etc. Instead I am making up 1,000 business cards which read “Katie Coyle: Professional Make-Believe.”
(Once, my mom’s cousin asked me, “Are you a writer?” and I said, “No. I mean, I write?” And she said, “You’re a writer.” Then she told me that if I was a guy, I would have just said, “Yes, I’m a writer.” She was probably right, but if I was a guy, I would most likely be a real douchebag).
Rich Famous People Give One Another Gold Statues, and I Care About It
Is this right? Does this make sense? Wouldn’t my time and mental energy be better spent on something, anything else? I’ve never read Anna Karenina—shouldn’t I spend the evening of Sunday, February 27th doing that instead? The answer to all of these questions is no. Here are my FEELINGS about the upcoming 83rd annual Academy Awards.
Best Actor: This is one of those times where it’s just silly to even have this category. I mean, it’s an insult to all of the actors nominated who are not Colin Firth to give them even the faintest glimmer of hope that they could win. All of them probably feel the same way, because NEWSFLASH, EVERYBODY—Colin Firth is just amazing in this movie. If you disagree with that, you are just like the Nazis that his character is not shown sympathizing with*.
Best Actress: Maybe this will be surprising to anyone who knows the extent to which I’ve co-opted the phrase “black swan” to refer to pretty much everything in my life, but I don’t get Black Swan. (I still don’t understand whether or not Mila Kunis’s character was real? Or why Nina says “I was perfect!” after her performance, when she actually wasn’t; she totally fell down!?). Natalie Portman is really good at acting scared, which is pretty much all the movie asks her to do. I am rooting for Annette Bening, because of the two separate occasions in which Hillary Swank wrested an Oscar from Annette’s hands, but to be honest with you, I think the best lead performance by a woman in 2010 (that I’ve seen) was Hailee Steinfeld, so this whole category makes no sense to me.
Best Picture: I’ve seen 8 out the 10 Best Picture nominees this year and I’m seeing Winter’s Bone tomorrow. The only film I will probably never see is 127 Hours, because when I was first told the story of Aron Ralston by my father in an Italian restaurant in 2003, I passed out, and life is too short to pass out twice over the same amputated arm. Obviously, I believe that Toy Story 3 is a film made out of sunshine and unicorn hair, and that it should win every award possible in order for the public record to reflect my very deep personal feelings about it. But since that is not viable, I am going with The King’s Speech. Because I’m an old person!
Etc.: Very excited for E!’s coverage, if only because they will finally stop playing promos for their own coverage set to Katy Perry’s “Firework” (I watch too much E!). Very excited for the buffalo chicken macaroni and cheese I will be eating during the show. Very nervous about the hosts. Trying to distract myself from my nerves about the hosts by gazing at pictures of James Franco’s cheekbones. Unsuccessful.
Things I Would Personally Give Oscars To: The first scene of The Social Network. The weird dance Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson perform in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 1. Never Let Me Go (I really loved it, you guys. Didn’t anyone else on Earth love it?). Emma Stone in Easy A. Greta Gerwig in Greenberg. Matt Damon in The Informant! I know that was last year, but it doesn’t change the fact that he deserved it.
Let's Put This Post in a Time Capsule for Our Children
Being a Citizen of the Internet was really hard today. Everyone was either stating an absurdly stupid opinion or getting angry at someone else’s absurdly stupid opinion. Today was a day where we reacted passionately about an opinion that Justin Bieber holds. Justin Bieber! Biebs pushed those ridiculous bangs out of his eyes for a sec to say, “Here is a 16-year-old male child’s opinion about abortion!” and we all took a moment out of the precious, limited amount of time we have on this Earth to feel angry about it. I read the comments on news articles all morning. I did that on purpose. I sought out websites where I thought the comments would be particularly egregious (as it turns out, this is every website), and I read those comments. The fires of hell were burning in me. I had to feed the fires of hell. There was nothing I could do.
How can we guarantee a better tomorrow for our children, and our children’s children? Can someone create a program wherein each time you start to scroll down on an article that has “sexual assault” in its headline, a terrifying clown face appears and screams “I WOULDN’T, IF I WERE YOU!”? Can somebody talk to Justin Bieber? I volunteer to talk to Justin Bieber. “Biebs,” I’ll say, “you don’t have to answer every question they ask you. Especially when your opinion is so absurdly stupid!” Can somebody build me a very small box to live in? Build it in a forest. Build it on the moon. Someplace where there’s no wireless internet. Someplace where the New York Post is not delivered. Let me die there, in peace.
Making Your Own Food: Why haven’t I been making my own food all this time? Why have I wasted so many dollars on sub-par sandwiches when I could have been caramelizing onions and throwing them into whatever I’m eating (eggs, sauces, whatever!)? Or maybe the better question is, why is it so much easier to order a pierogi pizza* from Shady Grove than it is to make your own pizza dough? Still, I recommend this activity for the aw-shucks-smugness you can infuse into your answer to the question “How did you spend your Saturday?” “Oh, just made pizza dough from scratch, you know how it is.”
*Pierogi Pizza From Shady Grove: This is really delicious.
Doctor Who: I feel like 98% of art believes that the truth of the human condition is that being human is awful, which is why I would automatically recommend the 2% of art that posits that life is actually pretty wonderful, even if David Tennant wasn’t so handsome.
The Soundtrack to Atonement: I think I’ve already recommended this on this blog, but just to reiterate—Dario Marianelli’s use of typewriter sound effects makes this ideal writing music.
Drinking Less Diet Coke So That Your Heart Doesn’t Explode: Common sense.
“Don’t lament so much about how your career is going to turn out. You don’t have a career. You have a life. Do the work. Keep the faith. Be true blue. You are a writer because you write. Keep writing and quit your bitching. Your book has a birthday. You don’t know what it is yet.”—Oh, Sugar!
“These days I read a lot of contemporary children’s books to my three-year-old daughter, and I’m disappointed how sanitized they are. They restate obsessively the truth of the nuclear family. They teach kids how to be responsible members of society, how to cure their own negative impulses, and how to shun others who persist in negativity. It’s boring to read this stuff as an adult, but for a kid? I don’t want my daughter shut in by endless domesticity; I want her to think about the big world. I want her awe-struck.”—
We’re trying to develop a system to measure the amount of tears I cry at media I consume (note: I cry a lot of tears at most of the media I consume). It’s best to think of it like currency. 1 The Doctor and Rose Saying Goodbye on the Beach = 27 Charlie Young Being Offered a Job by President Bartlets (we just call these “Dulés”). But you’d probably need dozens of The Doctor and Rose Saying Goodbye on the Beaches to reach the value of 1 Dumbledore Dying. And hundreds and hundred of Dulés.
Tomorrow, assuming that I have not been buried under an avalanche, I get on a bus and go to Washington D.C., to attend the AWP conference (AWP stands for Association of Writers and Writing Programs, which, you know, come on, writers, stop trying to pretend there aren’t two w’s in there). Anyway, perhaps this is how I truly know that I have joined the ranks of the professionals, because right now the idea of going to this thing leaves me sighing a resounding “Meh.” I don’t know why exactly. I think it is because while in practice, I enjoy the company of most writers (I would have to in order to go through my day to day life without collapsing in tears each night), in theory, I hate the company of all writers. The idea of sitting in hotel ballrooms with large amounts of writers, talking seriously about writing? I’m already practicing leaping to my feet to shout “CHILL OUT GUYS; YOU KNOW WE’RE TALKING ABOUT PLAYING MAKE-BELIEVE, RIGHT?” It might also be because in 2008, the AWP conference was in New York, where I was a senior in college who was done with classes but barely employed and Feeling Things, so I went to panels and Took Notes and then went home, because none of my writer friends had come with me and I didn’t know that you were supposed to go to parties. That was a really rough week of my life which involved a lot of me sitting on the floor of the Hilton on 6th Avenue, trying to avoid eye contact with my professors, who were the only people I knew there, and eating sandwiches alone in sandwich places, eavesdropping on other AWP attendees and feeling like they were weird, and it ended with me drinking a 40 with my boss at the video store and throwing up all night. Hooray writing!
Anyway, I’m sure it will be a good time. I’m sure I will learn some things and drink some beers and end up writing a really pithy blog post about the Washington Monument. If you’re going to be there, let me know, or just look for the girl making an angry face in the corner.