Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Who are you writing for?

Listening to NPR moments ago I heard James Ellroy answer the question "Who do you write for?" This a question that writing instructors have been known to pose. Who is your audience? Who are you writing for? My unspoken response when I first heard that question posed ponderously was 'Anybody who's interested, right?' The question itself irked me as it seemed to encourage a sort of calculation involving the assumption that age, education and socio-economic background determine one's ability to hear. Reading is a form of hearing I think.

So, since I've been posting notes for an audience of 3-4 people, the question was on my mind. I thought I would declare that I wrote for J.D. Salinger and 'the fat lady' from his story about the kid geniuses who dress up for their radio program. That might be Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters. I will investigate. One brother asks the other brother (Seymour?) why they have to dress up for a radio show. They have often imagined in great detail a member of their radio audience sitting on her front porch fanning herself (wearing patent leather shoes?) and Seymour tells him he should dress nicely for her sake.

(I found it. It's from Zooey and the shiny shoes were on the younger brother. Memory is so weird. my attempt to post another link failed so you will have to investigate further yourself.)

In James Ellroy's interview with Steve Inskeep the question is raised. Who do you write for? Mr. Ellroy, who had moments before revealed that he spent the sixties drinking and looking through windows of strange women and hanging out at the library listed God in his target audience. Then he said something that could easily have come out of my mouth. The exact quotation isn't letting me find it but the idea was that he feels faith within himself knowing that he neither created nor cultivated it. That's precisely my experience and it's why I'm doing this. What do you do if your inside is bigger than your outside and not particularly connected to the present? Read a lot.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Bicycle Diaries newly released book by David Byrne

I seem to be awash in references from the late 70's / early 80's. After remarking on the Body Scenter, a store in Georgetown circa '78 which I LOVED LOVED LOVED I got a link to Urban Outfitters from my bank's website. So I think Urban Outfitters was on M street just around the corner from Wisconsin. I loved that store too but my visits had more to do with the gelatto they served. I think. Why would they serve gelatto? I don't know, but it was really super yummy and it got me off the couch in Gaithersburg and all the way to D.C.

The Urban Outfitters BLOG offers prepaid music downloads too. For which you receive an iTunes receipt. And, the music is interesting. After downloading 25 completely unknown songs I didn't have to go back and delete them from my 'music' list.

there was also some sort of reference to Alfred Jarry on that blog. By people who are currently in their 20's. That's awfully interesting. How does a zeitgeist attach to a business anyway. Mystery.

one of those banner quotes on top of my gmail recently was from Gertrude Stein. "We are always the same age on the inside." I am proving that point daily. for good or ill. I think good, since I find endless amusement in contemplating the same stuff I liked to contemplate in my 20's. Amusement is healthful.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Speaking of Faith

Check this out some Sunday while you clean or putter around the house, or take a drive with the radio on, or something near the radio...

My favorite recent story involved a fellow who had grown up in a fundamentalist family, found he had a calling, become very successful as a preacher then at some point came to feel dubious about some of the elements of fundamentalism. He didn't really think the world was all demons or saved people. He didn't really think that most of the world's population was going to hell. etc. etc. Somewhere in the NPR archives I will find his name. But not right this minute. I hope he is doing well though.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I found a text I've been remembering parts of since 8th grade

I have remembered for years the line "She had a face so face-like in it's appearance as to be positively facial.' Gertrude the Governess is a spoof on Gothic Romance and I read everything available in my early teens, Mary Stewart's Touch not the Cat (I don't think she meant to be funny with that) Child From the Sea, The Shadow of the Lynx. I knew they were awfully repetitive but I couldn't help myself so I was a prime audience for this.

I do love the internet for stuff like this. Little pleasures with no particular merit. Click on the title to find the short short story.