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Hello.

I have been revisiting my library lately. Not the local city library, no, no. My personal Library. I’ve let it slide the last few years, listlessly adding a book here or there, but never really paying attention to the garbage I was shelving. There is, it turns out, a great deal of literary yuck adorning my shelves. I have read some really awful stuff. In the wake of the death of one of the last of a great generation of American writers, it’s time to take a hard look at the literati of my generation.

Writers at the end of WWI and WWII took their words seriously. From those serious words we understood the nature of war, hate , destruction and lies. We as readers learned about the complexity and underlying sorrow of love. The horror of fear and it’s effects on those in the vicinity of one suffering it.

Those writing from the eighties onward have rarely offered a glimpse of anything that hasn’t already been imagined. American writers have spent the last thirty years or so whining. Occasionally we come across a rare find of introspection but really there is very little to recommend. I think it’s because we have stopped taking anything seriously. Writers now are less inclined to discuss their words and more inclined to tell you how their book tour went. They are no longer discussing technique and more often talking about money or how the publisher screwed them. They talk in a grandiose fashion about their ‘inspirations’ but refuse or are unable to discuss the mechanics of writing.  It’s become an embarrassment of greed and self aggrandizement.

What gets published is often un-readable. Or readable, but the words leave the reader nothing to hold. Most contemporary American books I have forgotten almost as soon as I put the book down. Unforgivable really. The author has just wasted my time. They’ve left me nothing to think about. Nothing to ponder or consider. I’ve been fed 75,000 words of subtraction stew.  And yes, I could have put the book down and walked away. The sad fact is I never put the book down. It’s rude to the characters, even if they are badly drawn.

Where did our writers go? Where did those with insight and curiosity get off to? My generation spawned American Psycho and Bright Lights, Big City, both acceptable books but not deep books. They may inspire a thin sort of horror but they don’t make us think beyond the moment. Like Faulkner, like Fitzgerald, Like Vonnegut or Salinger.  I suspect those days of deep insight and its communication are gone. We no longer hold the writer in awe because the current American writer is unable to talk about anything outside themselves in depth.

It’s just sad.

Dogwoman

In The Time Of The King Of America

Hello. Yeah it’s me. Been Awhile.

Sooo. I haven’t been blogging much. The reason is because I just have no idea what the hell is going on.

When Bush was in office he did stupid things all the time. He made such glaring random errors they were easy to spot, even if it was just his language. George Bush left a  legacy that included a rapidly tanking housing market, destruction of civil liberties, two unmanaged wars, Tarp and a huge,( really, really huge, practically ginormous), deficit . And an unending list of quotes that make people laugh every time they read them.

My confusion comes from the fact that everyone seems to have forgotten the previous eight years. Memory has been rewritten and it turns out everything that happened during the Bush administration and all the ensuing results of very bad policies are now Barack Obama’s fault.

It’s beyond ridiculous.

The Republicans have done a fantastic job of re-writing the past to make people believe that George Bush and his crap Administration never existed.

And if you say anything about how most of this mess can be laid directly at the Bush Administration’s feet, Republicans will rend you like pack of  slavering wolves. Greedy, overfed wolves.

But, folks, it did exist. The Bush Administration really did encourage the breaking of the rules of the Geneva Convention. Bush authorized rendition and created Homeland Security so your library books could be used against you in a court of law. He listened to your phone calls, peeked into your house when you were away and snatched people out of their houses using cleverly worded bits of paper. All without anyone’s approval or a court order.

He removed restrictions from the oil industry causing speculators to push gas up to over $4 a gallon. He told banks they could resume their activities from the ’80’s and helped create the housing “snafu”  Because of these policies, all through 2008 people began to lose their jobs and banks went under. Not banks like “Ye Olde Bank of Hillbillyville”. No, big banks. Established and important banks. And with it the stock market tanked.

All this happened, lest we forget, during the time of the King of America. George Bush and the Republicans looted America for eight years.

Now, in the here and now, this is what Republicans are trying to stop Obama from doing:

Creating National health care so everyone can have some measure of guaranteed health.

Creating new jobs

Holding Bankers accountable and forcing them to pay fines not receive bonuses for their illicit activities.

Closing Guantanamo while simultaneously blaming him for not closing it.

Using taxpayer money for something besides lining the pockets of greedy, corrupt politicians and talk show hosts.

oh the list goes on.  And on and on and on.

The worst part is that so many Americans are allowing themselves to be led by the nose by the very same people who put us here in the first place.

Somehow everyone expected all of our problems to go away in 2009. Because when I think ‘President Obama” I think “Magician” As though one man could magically make a world-wide credit crisis disappear. “Poof”

Sorry, that’s not how it works. And those politicians and talk show hosts who should be beating their breasts, rending their clothes and screaming Mea Culpa in the streets are standing firmly in the way of any progress whatsoever. And The American People are standing firmly with them helping create this roadblock. How did we the people get so completely stupid? Is there something in the water?

So I am a little confused.  Why on earth, when it took an entire Congress, Senate and Executive branch eight years to destroy the American economy, are we now blaming one man who has been in office one year?

I don’t get it.

Dogwoman

Failed, Again

Hello.

So what happened to the Nanowrimo this year? I know you are wondering. In fact I am wondering as well. I had a technical difficulty. Yeah, that’s it. My headphones were broken. Sounds stupid I know but there it is. I topped out my word count at about 22,000 before the inevitable sobbing fit.

See I can’t write while listening to the sound of Glee and my family shouting at the T.V. It tends to make the prose derail. It looks something like this:

“Patsy wandered into the game room to find the other fighters poised with their Kurt did what to that other character whose name I can’t remember? Wait what? Is that supposed to be a Queen song?  Why does it sound like a gang of  melting harpies? “

After about six hours of fighting against the futility of  trying to ignore  the life around me I gave up. The irony is, I received new headphones for Christmas. Christmas. 25 days after I needed them. Or 330 days before I’ll need them again.

Next year, I will build myself a sound proof room. With a giant musical lock.

Fine,  but I am striving to save enough to buy a decent laptop so if I get annoyed by the sound of real life as opposed to the fictional life I prefer I can go elsewhere.

(Will accept donations. )

Just kidding.

(No, seriously.)

No, not really.

(Don’t listen to her, she’s not awake. Send money.)

Hey shut up.

Looks like my Id is trying to escape. This is what happens when a writer can’t write.

Very sad.

Dogwoman

Update

Hello.

Over the next few weeks I will be weeding out the archives and changing the blog around a bit. I have gotten bored with the old stuff. Time to shake it up for all six of you who actually force yourselves to read this.

Just thought I’d warn ya…

Dogwoman

Jaysus, Shut It Already

Hello.

I have ten minutes to write this morning.

Bono is back in the news whining yet again about illegal downloads. If I was reading his dreck correctly, he thinks that the Music Industry should become like China and restrict music access. Yes Bono, we should. No one should be allowed to download your crap music without a permit certifying that they should be certified.

Has it occurred to anyone in the music industry that it might not be illegal downloads but poor quality of music that is killing their industry? Maybe if they produced musicians rather than faces with digital enhancement people might buy their product. I think they should blame themselves. Not everyone likes Rap or Rythm and Blues. Or people who steal bits of old music and mess with it a bit and call it ‘new’. It’s not new. It’s theft.

Bono complaining about music theft is foolish. Especially if one listens to Televisions’ Marquee Moon and then compares it to U2’s first album Boy. They are strangely similar. Explain that one Bono.

Nevermind, do us all a favor. Just shut it, please.

I did say please.

Dogwoman

Roadie

Hello.

Missed me didn’t ‘cha? And now you expect me to wax on about the New Year and all of my goals. Perhaps you are reading this expecting a list of some best or worst. Well, I’m cranky and you are not getting it.

How ’bout a book review instead.Of a book published 3-4 years ago.

I am a huge fan of dystopian literature. I read Brave New World at thirteen and loved it. I’ve worn out several copies over the years. The same goes for A Clockwork Orange , a book that has been strangely prophetic.  This being the case I tend to snatch up any books that promise me a twisted vision of how the world will be. Recently I read Cormac McCarthy’s The Road.

Wow.

Where have all the writers gone?   Honestly, the whole book reads like a bad episode of Survivorman. The characters spend every waking moment foraging and being cold. By the third chapter I had to wrap up in a blanket in sympathy. A gray blanket. Because McCarthy’s entire world is gray. Gray ash, gray water, gray land, gray people. It’s a newsprint world. And yes I understand tone so just put your little snarky comments back in your pocket.  The only light that appears for the main character is his son. Got it. It’s just overkill. 287 pages of gray is a bit much. And overdone in literature. Killing color is the first sign of a dystopian book. That’s how you know it’s really a book about ‘a brave new world’.  And I will skip over the zombie like humans who are eating others to survive. While it makes a queer kind of sense,  it also lends a little sub genre reality that isn’t really nessacery.  He also never tells us why the world went up in flames, as if it weren’t important. Readers are supposed to surmise an apocalypse of some kind but he never states even briefly what it is. Even Lord Of  The Flies gives us a vague ‘war’. Forgive me but if you  are going to torch the entire earth don’t you think a little detail like how it happened is important?

My real issue is the writing. Oy! The writing. How how did this book win a Pulitzer? How? Who is on the committee?

This book is really badly written. The second sentence of the first chapter could have been written by a bright third grader. It jars. And not in a ” look this is where I leave a symbol so you can guess what I am talking about” kind of way. No, it just jars. Other sentences throughout the book also caused me to say to myself “wait, what?” Forcing me to re-read entire swaths of pages to reset the images presented. I find this unpleasant when I am reading and usually avoid books that do it on purpose. I just don’t think McCarthy was doing it on purpose. It doesn’t flow well at all. The repetitious use of words and actions slow the reading down to a crawl. I have always understood repetition to be a literary device, three and out. More than that and you aren’t being artistic, you need a thesaurus. And the timing is poor. Of course this is an issue I have with a lot of contemporary American literature. We, as American writers , seem to have forgotten the basic flow of a story. It goes like this:  beginning, middle, end. Not beginnnnnnninnng, mid,e. Or my other favorite, beginnnnnnnning,m,ennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnd. It’s not artistic to screw with a readers expectations in such a way as to make your book difficult to read, even if the story is intriguing. It’s  damn irritating.

So yeah, could have been better. A lot better. The basic story is good, there are  just too many distractions in the writing to make it something I would slog through more than once.

Happy Dystopian New Year to you and your flesh-eating zombies.

Dogwoman

Can You Nanowrimo?

Hello.

So it’s that time of year again. In two and a half weeks the noveling monkey will be jumping on the backs of fools everywhere. Are you up for the challenge?

Let me say that in all the time I have been doing this I HAVE NEVER WON. Not even once. Last year I came close but then “Life”, that little bastard, got in the way and I dropped out at 30,000 words. Sigh.

Always the glutton for punishment, I am back in the ring this year. I have no story, no plot, no characters, nothing. I like an impossibility, don’t you?

So if you don’t have plans for November, why not jump into the pool of crazies and try to write 50,000 words in thirty days. You just might surprise yourself.

I always do.

Dogwoman

PS. Will be listing embarrassing word count in the sidebar. Come to mock.

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