Monday, December 29, 2008

Rewriting is not writing, and what's wrong with sweater vests? 73 down, 9,283 to go.

Sweetie asked me tonight to write down a list of books that I want for my birthday next week... and for the first time in my life, I was stumped. I looked through my list of books that I've written down in the past as books I wanted to read, and suddenly I didn't want to read any of them. I looked through that 75 best books list on Esquire, and didn't want to read any of them, either.

And do you know who I blame? Critics, and Infinite Jest. Critics raved over Infinite Jest and I fell for it and I tried to read it, but it was almost deliberately obtuse, as though David Foster Wallace was purposely trying to make me not just dislike his book but dislike reading, so now, even though I know there's books out there that must be good, I can't trust my instincts anymore and I can't trust critics.

Also, I was disappointed in books in general when I saw that two of the top 10 of the year, according to Entertainment Weekly, were remakes of other books: That "Edgar Sawtelle" thing which is just "Hamlet with Dogs" and then something about Anna Karenina living as a socialite in New York City.

That's not writing. Rewriting is not writing.

So I'm going to get a good night's sleep and hope tomorrow that a trip to the bookstore will restore my faith in the written word again.

Also, then, when I suggested to Sweetie that I could use some new dress shirts for work, she scoffed, and then she seemed to ridicule my request for sweater vests. But what's wrong with those?

Song 73 was going to be "They Write Books About This Sort of Thing," by Say Hi To Your Mom, but Say Hi To Your Mom doesn't want anyone to embed their videos anywhere else -- so they'd rather you don't hear about their music too much. They'd like fame and fortune and recognition, but only in small doses that they can control.

Instead, I've picked "Lost Coastlines" by Okkervil River.

Down.. to go: Sometimes one of the songs on my iPod perfectly matches my mood. And then you get to hear about it. Song 72 here.

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