I think I’ve fixed the opening of the book. I wrote it, completely ditched that and wrote a different thing. Ditched that and wrote a third. But this finally feels to me like it opens in a way that sets up the themes of the book immediately. So, that’s good. One thing I’m concerned about is that it flashes back a lot and I’m not sure I’m very adept at bringing the reader from the past back to the book’s present. I really like my book, but I’m not sure I’ve got the talent to pull it off.
Dr. J. sent me this link. I do think there’s something really strange about our culture’s response to nudity. I was talking to the Professor yesterday about that post over at Jezebel (and fuck even trying to find it. Since the redesign, I can’t work the site.) about how men and women experience looking at naked and nearly naked men and women and how the women, upon viewing the naked women, were all “I’m fat,” “I’m ugly.” But the straight men were all “She’s hot.” Both genders perceive naked women as being somehow for men. Anyway, I was reminded of that when reading this article because I think it does make people uncomfortable when a boob is not doing that. That book cover isn’t about titillating anyone. It’s about suggesting the themes of the book. And that seems to make people uncomfortable, especially, at least anecdotally, women. I wonder if it’s because we tend to get invested, even without meaning to, in that comparison. But when a boob is just out there–not hypersexualized, not selling something–we don’t quite know how to do the comparison. I wonder if there’s some anxiety about a boob not obviously for male consumption meaning, oh, maybe people who see me reading that book will somehow think that boob is for me.
I don’t know. But it’s interesting.
I never did get around to weeding this weekend but I saw everyone I wanted to see and I got some seeds started. Lowe’s didn’t have my usual Burpee seed starters, but they had some other ones and I might end up liking them better. We’ll see. It’s going to depend a little on how easy it is to keep everything properly watered, which you just could not fuck up with the Burpee system.
This morning, I saw the Scientology kids either setting up or tearing down their tent right kitty-corner from Swett’s. I don’t know if they thought they’d get people on their way to church or what, but it was strange. I find the presence of Scientologists in Nashville to be weird in general. While I don’t doubt that they might be able to recruit from the rock scene, it’s hard for me to imagine any Country star who would ever risk being associated with them, for fear of alienating that star’s fans. While there’s not an explicit expectation of Christianity, there’s an implicit one and “rejecting” Jesus for thetans? That’s got to be about as bad as being openly gay or being the Dixie Chicks.
And it’s expensive to be a Scientologist, at least, the article in the New Yorker made it seem so. So, why recruit in poor parts of town?
Well, like I said, it’s weird. But, in my dreams, there’s a Maury Davis/Scientology battle to the death for the souls and wallets of the easily duped. I don’t even know who I would root for.
My favorite line from the Yuknavitch essay:
Irreverence, feminism, and a dick joke all in one. That’s awesome.
That was an amazing essay, thanks for posting it.
The conflict she ran into touches on the Facebook-hates-boobs things, which has roused the ire of breastfeeding types all over.
And of course there was the kerfuffle over this magazine cover,
showing a baby on a boob, which apparently is much worse than seeing a celebrity wearing a top that barely covers hers.
The conflict is definitely about boobs as ornaments (ok) and boobs as just things that women have/use and are casual about (not ok!).
The book problem and the shift from past to present: Per Petterson handles this aspect of writing beautifully and he’s my model for it–my favorite of his is _Out Stealing Horses_.