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Roberta Zimmerman

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(turn the lights out, please)

[03 Aug 2012|04:46pm]
The \\
Last Cigarette:never happened. I had this plan to buy a pack and learn how to smoke while my roommate was away, and then I realized how totally stupid this was.
Last Alcoholic Drink:Bourbon.
Last Car Ride:Vanride from Reed to PDX with Dana Spiotta, John Dee, and Wells Tower.
Last Kiss:Ivan, the strange Brazilian guy at Bembe, despite my efforts to thwart him.
Last Good Cry:The month I spent crying in my room while deciding about grad school? I wish this were an exaggeration.
Last Library Book:Oh god...who knows.
Last book bought:A Passage to India, Tinkers, and As Always, Julia.
Last Book Read:As Always, Julia: The Letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto.
Last Movie Seen in Theatres:To Rome with Love. DON'T WASTE YOUR MONEY. I love Woody. I hated this.
Last Movie Rented:That one with the naturalist who eats skewered mice while living in Alaska? What is that called? Never Cry Wolf?
Last Cuss Word Uttered:Probably crap.
Last Beverage Drank:Diet coke.
Last Food Consumed:Red grapes and goldfish.
Last Crush:Too incriminating to say. Someone from the THWW.
Last Phone Call:My grandma.
Last Time Showered:This afternoon after I dusted everything I own.
Last Shoes Worn:Dansko clog sandals.
Last CD Played:Chopin.
Last Item Bought:Printer paper.
Last Download:Bootleg Neil Young album.
Last Annoyance:Being taken for granted.
Last Disappointment:Snarky panel review.
Last Soda Drank:Coke! Today, today1
Last Thing Written:To do list for this afternoon; before that, can you believe it, half a draft of a story.
Last Key Used:Mailbox key.
Last Words Spoken:Phone message to Aunt Pat.
Last Sleep:Last night.
Last Ice Cream Eaten:Talenti Black Cherry Motherfucking Gelato!
Last Chair Sat In:IKEA desk chair.
Last Webpage Visited:Facebook


(turn the lights out, please)

After Ages Away...Something Totally Meaningless! [16 Jan 2012|07:16pm]
The \\
Last Cigarette:Never have I ever
Last Alcoholic Drink:Champagne
Last Car Ride:Taxi back from the airport
Last Kiss:Sketchy Australian "airplane engineer" named A.J.
Last Good Cry:Fighting with parents at home
Last Library Book:Oh man, it's been ages! Probably something for my grad thesis.
Last book bought:Drift- Victoria Patterson
Last Book Read:The Martha Stewart Holiday Craft Handbook. There, you have seen my soul.
Last Movie Seen in Theatres:Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows
Last Movie Rented:Season 3 of Californication
Last Cuss Word Uttered:Fuck? Probably fuck.
Last Beverage Drank:Blueberry tea.
Last Food Consumed:Some of Allison's almond roca.
Last Crush:UGH. No comment.
Last Phone Call:My mom, for advice on my hair dying debaucle--from Run Lola Run to Malibu Barbie in two bottles of color or less!
Last TV Show Watched:Californication
Last Time Showered:8,000 times today, see: Malibu Barbie hair
Last Shoes Worn:Cowboy shoes
Last CD Played:The Head and the Heart
Last Item Bought:Color Oops! hair dye fixer
Last Download:More Californication!
Last Annoyance:HAIR HAIR HAIR
Last Disappointment:HAIR HAIR HAIR
Last Soda Drank:D-Coke, whilst watching the horrendous masterwork/feminist studies dissertation in the making that is Top Gun
Last Thing Written:Editorial notes on a piece for work
Last Key Used:Apartment key
Last Words Spoken:Something to the effect of "love you"
Last Sleep:Last night
Last Ice Cream Eaten:Who the fuck knows.
Last Chair Sat In:Blue folding IKEA chair
Last Webpage Visited:Wes email


(5 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Now THIS is a List I Can Get On Board With... [07 Jun 2010|11:43pm]
Created by the lovely antiqrule1 , here's what I've read from The Shayne List of a Well-Read Person's Top 100 Books:

  1. Remembrance of Things Past – Marcel Proust
  2. Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
  3. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  4. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
  5. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. The Sun Also Rises – Ernest Hemingway
  7. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
  8. The Age of Reason – Jean-Paul Sartre
  9. A Room of One's Own – Virginia Woolf
  10. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  11. Maus – Art Spiegelman
  12. Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man – James Joyce
  13. The Stranger – Albert Camus
  14. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  15. A Passage to India – E.M. Forester
  16. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
  17. The Razor's Edge – Somerset Maughm
  18. Corelli's Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
  19. I, Claudius – Robert Graves
  20. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay – Michael Chabon
  21. Dubliners – James Joyce
  22. Midnight's Children – Salman Rushdie
  23. Amerika – Franz Kafka
  24. Their Eyes Were Watching God – Zora Neale Hurston
  25. Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre
  26. The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas – Gertrude Stein
  27. Anecdotes of Destiny and Ehrengard – Isak Dinesen
  28. Old School – Tobias Wolff
  29. The Plague – Albert Camus
  30. The English Patient – Michael Ondaatje
  31. The Once and Future King – E.B. White
  32. Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? – Edward Albee
  33. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
  34. Shogun – James Clavell
  35. The End of the Affair – Graham Greene
  36. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
  37. Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  38. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
  39. The Quiet American – Graham Greene
  40. Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
  41. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  42. You Shall Know Our Velocity – Dave Eggars
  43. Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi
  44. Faust – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  45. Lost in the Fun House – John Barth
  46. Goodbye, Columbus – Philip Roth
  47. Scoop – Evelyn Waugh
  48. The Magnificent Ambersons – Booth Tarkington
  49. The Postman Always Rings Twice – James M. Cain
  50. Spring Snow – Yukio Mishima
  51. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain
  52. Don Quixote – Miguel de Cervantes
  53. The Human Comedy – William Saroyan
  54. The Big Sleep – Raymond Chandler
  55. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court – Mark Twain
  56. Good Morning, Midnight – Jean Rhys
  57. A Tale of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  58. Fugitive Pieces – Anne Michaels
  59. The Insanity Defense – Woody Allen
  60. Ellis Island – Mark Helprin
  61. Zorba the Greek – Nikos Kazantzakis
  62. Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress – Dai Sijie
  63. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
  64. Ragtime – E.L. Doctorow
  65. Love in the Time of Cholera – Garbriel Garcia Marquez
  66. When We Were Orphans – Kazuo Ishiguro
  67. The Stories of John Cheever – John Cheever
  68. Contempt – Alberto Moravia
  69. Things Fall Apart – Chinua Achebe
  70. Invisible Man – Ralph Elison
  71. To the Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
  72. Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
  73. Ulysses – James Joyce
  74. Finnegan's Wake – James Joyce
  75. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  76. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  77. The Pillow Book of Sei Shonagon – Sei Shonagon
  78. Frankenstein – Mary Shelley
  79. Murder on the Orient Express – Agatha Christie
  80. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  81. The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie – Muriel Spark
  82. Pale Fire – Vladimir Nabokov
  83. White Teeth – Zadie Smith
  84. The Autobiography of Malcolm X – Malcolm X
  85. The Wasteland – T.S. Eliot
  86. How the Other Half Lives: Studies Among the Tenements of New York – Jacob Riis
  87. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  88. The Birth of Tragedy – Fredrich Nietzche
  89. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  90. Survival in Auschwitz – Primo Levi
  91. The Mahabharata – R.K. Narayan
  92. The Beautiful and the Damned – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  93. For Whom the Bell Tolls – Ernest Hemingway
  94. The Hero with a Thousand Faces – Joseph Campbell
  95. Tales From Ovid – Ted Hughes
  96. The Metamorphosis and Other Stories – Franz Kafka
  97. Dharma Bums – Jack Kerouac
  98. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  99. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  100. A Room with a View – E.M. Forester
28/ 100, and I can honestly say that just about every one of the books I haven't read on this list is on my very real to-read list at the back of my planner, in particular Midnight's Children, Kavalier and Clay, my last few Hemingways, In Cold Blood, and, obviously, Lolita. 


(10 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

The Modern Library 100 Best Novels [05 Jun 2010|01:33am]
In bold are the ones I've read:

  1. ULYSSES by James Joyce
  2. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  4. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  5. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  6. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  7. CATCH-22
  8. DARKNESS AT NOON by Arthur Koestler
  9. SONS AND LOVERS by D.H. Lawrence
  10. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  11. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  12. THE WAY OF ALL FLESH by Samuel Butler
  13. 1984 by George Orwell
  14. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  15. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  16. AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY by Theodore Dreiser
  17. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  18. SLAUGHTERHOUSE-FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  19. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  20. NATIVE SON by Richard Wright
  21. HENDERSON THE RAIN KING by Saul Bellow
  23. U.S.A. (trilogy) by John Dos Passos
  24. WINESBURG, OHIO by Sherwood Anderson
  25. A PASSAGE TO INDIA by E.M. Forster
  26. THE WINGS OF THE DOVE by Henry James
  27. THE AMBASSADORS by Henry James
  28. TENDER IS THE NIGHT by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  29. THE STUDS LONIGAN TRILOGY by James T. Farrell
  30. THE GOOD SOLDIER by Ford Madox Ford
  31. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  32. THE GOLDEN BOWL by Henry James
  33. SISTER CARRIE by Theodore Dreiser
  34. A HANDFUL OF DUST by Evelyn Waugh
  35. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  36. ALL THE KING'S MEN by Robert Penn Warren
  37. THE BRIDGE OF SAN LUIS REY by Thornton Wilder
  38. HOWARDS END by E.M. Forster
  39. GO TELL IT ON THE MOUNTAIN by James Baldwin
  40. THE HEART OF THE MATTER by Graham Greene
  41. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  42. DELIVERANCE by James Dickey
  43. A DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME (series) by Anthony Powell
  44. POINT COUNTER POINT by Aldous Huxley
  45. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  46. THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad
  47. NOSTROMO by Joseph Conrad
  48. THE RAINBOW by D.H. Lawrence
  49. WOMEN IN LOVE by D.H. Lawrence
  50. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  51. THE NAKED AND THE DEAD by Norman Mailer
  52. PORTNOY'S COMPLAINT by Philip Roth
  53. PALE FIRE by Vladimir Nabokov
  54. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  55. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  56. THE MALTESE FALCON by Dashiell Hammett
  57. PARADE'S END by Ford Madox Ford
  58. THE AGE OF INNOCENCE by Edith Wharton
  59. ZULEIKA DOBSON by Max Beerbohm
  60. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  62. FROM HERE TO ETERNITY by James Jones
  63. THE WAPSHOT CHRONICLES by John Cheever
  64. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  65. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  66. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  67. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad (only 67?)
  68. MAIN STREET by Sinclair Lewis
  69. THE HOUSE OF MIRTH by Edith Wharton
  70. THE ALEXANDRIA QUARTET by Lawrence Durell
  71. A HIGH WIND IN JAMAICA by Richard Hughes
  72. A HOUSE FOR MR BISWAS by V.S. Naipaul
  73. THE DAY OF THE LOCUST by Nathanael West
  74. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  75. SCOOP by Evelyn Waugh
  77. FINNEGANS WAKE by James Joyce
  78. KIM by Rudyard Kipling
  79. A ROOM WITH A VIEW by E.M. Forster
  80. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  82. ANGLE OF REPOSE by Wallace Stegner
  83. A BEND IN THE RIVER by V.S. Naipaul
  84. THE DEATH OF THE HEART by Elizabeth Bowen
  85. LORD JIM by Joseph Conrad
  86. RAGTIME by E.L. Doctorow
  87. THE OLD WIVES' TALE by Arnold Bennett
  88. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  89. LOVING by Henry Green
  90. MIDNIGHT'S CHILDREN by Salman Rushdie (desperate to read this)
  91. TOBACCO ROAD by Erskine Caldwell
  92. IRONWEED by William Kennedy
  93. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  94. WIDE SARGASSO SEA by Jean Rhys
  95. UNDER THE NET by Iris Murdoch
  96. SOPHIE'S CHOICE by William Styron
  97. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  99. THE GINGER MAN by J.P. Donleavy
  100. THE MAGNIFICENT AMBERSONS by Booth Tarkington
Two English degrees later, I've only read 21/100.  But what's with all the Wharton and D.H. Lawrence?  Where's Mrs. Dalloway?  Where's Dickens?  Where's Twain?  At least I'm pleased that I've read very few of the books on the piece of crap 'popular choice' readers' version of the list--who were the whack jobs that voted on this that had read relatively obscure but brilliant Flann O' Connor, but chose L. Ron and THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and Charles de Lint above him?:

  1. ATLAS SHRUGGED by Ayn Rand
  3. BATTLEFIELD EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
  4. THE LORD OF THE RINGS by J.R.R. Tolkien
  5. TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD by Harper Lee
  6. 1984 by George Orwell
  7. ANTHEM by Ayn Rand
  8. WE THE LIVING by Ayn Rand
  9. MISSION EARTH by L. Ron Hubbard
  10. FEAR by L. Ron Hubbard
  11. ULYSSES by James Joyce
  12. CATCH-22 by Joseph Heller
  13. THE GREAT GATSBY by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  14. DUNE by Frank Herbert
  15. THE MOON IS A HARSH MISTRESS by Robert Heinlein
  16. STRANGER IN A STRANGE LAND by Robert Heinlein
  17. A TOWN LIKE ALICE by Nevil Shute
  18. BRAVE NEW WORLD by Aldous Huxley
  19. THE CATCHER IN THE RYE by J.D. Salinger
  20. ANIMAL FARM by George Orwell
  21. GRAVITY'S RAINBOW by Thomas Pynchon
  22. THE GRAPES OF WRATH by John Steinbeck
  23. SLAUGHTERHOUSE FIVE by Kurt Vonnegut
  24. GONE WITH THE WIND by Margaret Mitchell
  25. LORD OF THE FLIES by William Golding
  26. SHANE by Jack Schaefer
  28. A PRAYER FOR OWEN MEANY by John Irving
  29. THE STAND by Stephen King
  31. BELOVED by Toni Morrison
  32. THE WORM OUROBOROS by E.R. Eddison
  33. THE SOUND AND THE FURY by William Faulkner
  34. LOLITA by Vladimir Nabokov
  35. MOONHEART by Charles de Lint
  36. ABSALOM, ABSALOM! by William Faulkner
  37. OF HUMAN BONDAGE by W. Somerset Maugham
  38. WISE BLOOD by Flannery O'Connor
  39. UNDER THE VOLCANO by Malcolm Lowry
  40. FIFTH BUSINESS by Robertson Davies
  41. SOMEPLACE TO BE FLYING by Charles de Lint
  42. ON THE ROAD by Jack Kerouac
  43. HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
  44. YARROW by Charles de Lint
  46. ONE LONELY NIGHT by Mickey Spillane
  47. MEMORY AND DREAM by Charles de Lint
  48. TO THE LIGHTHOUSE by Virginia Woolf
  49. THE MOVIEGOER by Walker Percy
  50. TRADER by Charles de Lint
  52. THE HEART IS A LONELY HUNTER by Carson McCullers
  53. THE HANDMAID'S TALE by Margaret Atwood
  54. BLOOD MERIDIAN by Cormac McCarthy
  55. A CLOCKWORK ORANGE by Anthony Burgess
  56. ON THE BEACH by Nevil Shute
  58. GREENMANTLE by Charles de Lint
  59. ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card
  60. THE LITTLE COUNTRY by Charles de Lint
  61. THE RECOGNITIONS by William Gaddis
  62. STARSHIP TROOPERS by Robert Heinlein
  63. THE SUN ALSO RISES by Ernest Hemingway
  66. THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE by Shirley Jackson
  67. AS I LAY DYING by William Faulkner
  68. TROPIC OF CANCER by Henry Miller
  69. INVISIBLE MAN by Ralph Ellison
  70. THE WOOD WIFE by Terri Windling
  71. THE MAGUS by John Fowles
  72. THE DOOR INTO SUMMER by Robert Heinlein
  74. I, CLAUDIUS by Robert Graves
  75. THE CALL OF THE WILD by Jack London
  76. AT SWIM-TWO-BIRDS by Flann O'Brien
  77. FARENHEIT 451 by Ray Bradbury
  78. ARROWSMITH by Sinclair Lewis
  79. WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams
  80. NAKED LUNCH by William S. Burroughs
  81. THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER by Tom Clancy
  82. GUILTY PLEASURES by Laurell K. Hamilton
  83. THE PUPPET MASTERS by Robert Heinlein
  84. IT by Stephen King
  85. V. by Thomas Pynchon
  86. DOUBLE STAR by Robert Heinlein
  87. CITIZEN OF THE GALAXY by Robert Heinlein
  88. BRIDESHEAD REVISITED by Evelyn Waugh
  89. LIGHT IN AUGUST by William Faulkner
  91. A FAREWELL TO ARMS by Ernest Hemingway
  92. THE SHELTERING SKY by Paul Bowles
  94. MY ANTONIA by Willa Cather
  95. MULENGRO by Charles de Lint
  96. SUTTREE by Cormac McCarthy
  97. MYTHAGO WOOD by Robert Holdstock
  98. ILLUSIONS by Richard Bach
  99. THE CUNNING MAN by Robertson Davies
  100. THE SATANIC VERSES by Salman Rushdie
17/100.  Wheh.  Literary snobbery intact.

(10 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Goat Adrenaline, Direct to Heart [17 Apr 2010|03:40pm]
1. I have 40 pages to write in the next week! Hahahahahahahahahahaha.

2. Just got the perfect pop-up ad for the high thesis seasons: "Got a big project coming up? Rent the right dumpster from Western Disposal!"

3. Also perfect for high thesis season, one of the neighbor kids across the airshaft from me is learning to play the recorder! Best of all, he is playing the melody to the tune "Hansien Klein," the German guilt-trip song that my mom sang to me all the time when I was little about a kid that sets out to face the big world and then comes running home in defeated gratitude for his parents.

4. Contents of our freezer right now: five kinds of ice cream, two kinds of vodka, and a bag of frozen peas.

(turn the lights out, please)

Let It Be Noted [20 Feb 2010|09:39pm]
Songs to be played at my funeral:

-"Old Man," Neil Young
-"This Time Tomorrow," the Kinks
-"I'll Follow the Sun," the Beatles

(6 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Allow me to vent for a moment... [26 Oct 2009|12:39am]

Thank you.

(4 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

The Werewolf Scene [15 Jul 2009|04:06pm]
Blog to me, peeps!  How was Harry Potter?

(3 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Summer Projects [31 May 2009|02:05pm]

I want to have entirely different thoughts.
I want to make something great from them.

I want to relearn to play the Bach double.
I want to write two letters a week.
I want to hike to Sky Pond and the Lake of Glass.

I want to figure out funding for a literary journal.
I want to learn letterpress.

I want to bike to the community garden every day.
I want to take ballet again.

I want to start my thesis for next year.

I want to stockpile at least two stories for workshop.
I want to keep writing creative responses to every book that I read.
I want to send to Conjunctions, N+1, good things found on duotrope.
I want to write a poem a week if it kills me.

I want to read Shakespeare Wrote For Money.
I want to read Martin Chuzzelwit, Dombey and Son, Bleak House, Hard Times, Little Dorrit, Great Expectations, and Our Mutual Friend.
I want to get a head start on reading for my fiction class (Tristam Shandy?)
I want to read my traditional summer John Irving book (although maybe Dickens is an apt substition).
I want to read A Passage to India and Under the Volcano.

I want to go to Mexico.
I want to go to New Orleans.
I want to go to Flannery O'Connor's house.

I want to figure out someplace to live next year that doesn't blow monkey chunks.
I want to be excited about going back to New York.

I want to not feel like such a baby.
I want to never grow up.

(3 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

[20 May 2009|01:26am]
orlando bloom

(1 downy innocent | turn the lights out, please)

Workshop Quote of the Day [11 May 2009|10:40pm]

Comment on a story about sexual exploration and murder at a Jewish summer camp:

"Well, regardless of what the tampon in the soup is about, or whether or not they actually hacked up and ate Naomi, it seems to me that they're getting really excited by what's going on here.  I mean, they feel like, holy crap, I've just got to jizz in that pool of blood!  What's that about?  THERE'S your darkness, Helen!"



(turn the lights out, please)

This is your attention span. This is your attention span on finals. [10 May 2009|10:39pm]

Why did no one tell me this?

(Insert anti-gravity shoplifting joke here which both maligns Wino's character and ignores the fact that Spock's mom lived on Earth.)

Also, why oh why do I not have a t.v. to watch the Celebrity Apprentice finale right now?

(2 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

She Stopped Reading and Looked Up. Out of the Quicksand. [14 Apr 2009|12:22am]
Book survey.  Because surveys are all I, an MFA in fiction writing graduate student, am capable of writing.

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Plath, hands down.  And I probably have three times as many books about Plath as that. 

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
Ariel, because I have both the restored and the original versions of the text.  Otherwise, I only have multiple copies of books when I read them on my own before I had to buy them for a particular class and needed some specific edition.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Prepositions at the end of questions are somehow more kosher than when they end non-interrogative sentences.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Uncas in Last of the Mohicans, but this is really more related to the movie than the book.  I wouldn't say no to the young Almasy in The English Patient.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life (excluding picture books read to children; i.e., Goodnight Moon does not count)?
Easy, easy, question--If You Only Knew by Rachel Vail.  The most honest and true thing I've ever read about being...I was going to say about being a kid, but really, it's the most honest thing I've read about being at all.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Harriet the Spy and/or The Egypt Game

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Have to say I was amazed at how much I disliked Safe Conduct by Boris Pasternak and Sleepless Nights by Elizabeth Hardwick.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Best book I hadn't read before was The Crying of Lot 49 by Pynchon; I want to find a way to stage a production of The Courier's Tragedy this summer.  Best book I already knew about was Moby-Dick, which never fails to astonish me in its amazingly grandiose prose and scope and imagination--what a strange and wonderful piece of work.

9) If you could force everyone to read one book, what would it be?
I'm more interested in people READING than in reading anything in particular, but I think we all need to read more experimental, weird, difficult literature, things as invested in making with words as in sturdy, wholesome storytelling.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for Literature?
Anne Carson. 

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
A really good version of Ringworld or Hyperion, just to make my dad happy. 

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
Anything else related to Plath in any way.  There's talk of The Bell Jar being made again, and I think the movie could potentially be good, but I'm so sick Plath being known for that when it's really her least interesting work in so many ways, and brings the wrong sort of reductive fangirl attention to her.  Says the ultimate Plath fangirl.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
Aww, this is actually my favorite dream ever, probably.  So, I'm sitting on the top of a particularly verdant hill watching the clouds, when up rolls the cartoon head of Virginia Woolf.  I start asking her all these questions about writing, and she says to me, "Emma, that's not what's important.  Tell me about this boy you like." 

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
Lowbrow, eh?  Hmm.  I'm pretty snobby about what I read.  The most chick lit-y things I've read have actually been the things I edited back when I worked for the literary agency.  Otherwise, I dunno, Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood?  (Awful, by the way).  Oh, wait, no, I know!  SIsterhood of the Traveling Pants!!!  All four of them!  By the end, they basically digress into softcore porn; the last one should really be titled Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Who Hasn't Lost Her Virginity Yet?

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Maurice Blanchot's Thomas the Obscure which I just read for class was pretty inaccessible, but then, I wasn't trying very hard.  I guess Ulysses, simply because the task is so monumental.  I actually like the process of using all the notes and The Bloomsday Book to work through it; I just wish I were a faster reader.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
None too obscure-- I've seen a couple of the switched twins and crossdressers variety.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I have never really read anything Russian aside from Nabokov, but I truly despise Flaubert.  Give me American lit or give me death.

18) Roth or Updike?
Roth!  Updike was a sweetheart of a guy by all accounts, but what manly and dated books, no?

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
Sedaris, but specifically Sedaris reading Sedaris on "This American Life."  I think Nick Hornby is funnier than either of them.

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
Shakespeare, but I give a shoutout to Milton for "Lycidas"

21) Austen or Eliot?
As in George Eliot?  George Eliot<Austen<T.S. Eliot

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
All things Russian.  Lolita

23) What is your favorite novel?
The English Patient and The Great Gatsby  can duke it out for 1st place

24) Play?
So not into plays, but I do like Cyrano de Bergerac, and I want to say that I really like The Tempest but I have not actually read that, so that would be completely fraudulent.  I was sort of surprizingly taken by Othello and Lovelock's Dream Run, this modern NZ play.

25) Poem?
"The Night Dances," Sylvia Plath, but Autobiography of Red ties or is in close second if I can count a novel in verse

26) Essay?
The part of Emile Benveniste's Subject of Semiotics on the speaking "I".  I also really dig Steven Gould Axelrod's reading of "Ocean 1212-W" by Plath.  And all things genre theory are great.

27) Short story?
"How to Be a Writer" by Lorrie Moore and "The Barber's Unhappiness" by George Saunders

28) Work of nonfiction?
The Spy's Guidebook. 

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Plath, Michael Ondaatje, Anne Carson

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
I'm with Jorden that J-Co is pretty overrated.  Eggers is fine, but whatever.  As much as I love Jhumpa Lahiri, I think we're all quietly agreed at this point that she's a one trick pony.  Underrated is a more interesting question, and I'd have to go with John Irving.  As desperately as he needs at times to be reigned in, his real interest in storytelling is I think unparalleled in modern writers.

31) What is your desert island book?
The English Patient

32) And... what are you reading right now?
Cassandra by Christa Wolfe for class. Swann's Way, theoretically, for my long-distance book group with friends from Wesleyan.  Been trying to finish Little Women,St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves (which I LOVE), and a biography of Julia Child since December.  I need more time for reading in my life.

(6 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Because I have 30 minutes until class.... [27 Mar 2009|05:34pm]

The Soundtrack of My Life

Here's how it works...
1. Open your music library.
2. Put it on shuffle
3. Press play
4. For the first question, type the song that's playing
5. When you go to a new question, press the next button
6. Don't lie and try to pretend you're cool...just type it in!


Opening Credits: Kryptonite- 3 Doors Down

Waking Up: Eye Patch- Robert Rodriguez (dueling music from the Once Upon a Time in Mexico soundtrack with racy guitar solo--nuice nuice!)

First day at school: The Cuckoo- Cold Mountain soundtrack

Falling In Love: Big Machine- Goo Goo Dolls

Losing Virginity: Double Trouble- John Williams, HP soundtrack (ahahahahaha)

Fight Song: For the Turnstiles- Neil Young

Breaking Up: You'll Be in My Heart- Phil Collins

Prom: Where Do We Go From Here- Jamiroquai

Mental Breakdown: Outversion- Mark Ronson

Driving: Overture- Good Charlotte

Flashback: Life Like Weeds- Modest Mouse

Getting Back Together: Rebel Rebel- David Bowie

Wedding: Now Give Three Cheers...- from H.M.S. Pinafore

Birth of Child: O'Sailor- Fiona Apple

Final Battle: Time Is On My Side- Irma Thomas

Death Scene: Not About Love- Fiona Apple

Funeral Song: 7- Moby

End Credits: Champion- Kanye West 

Those are CRAP!

(6 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Again. [23 Mar 2009|10:52pm]
Plath's son hanged himself last week:

Morning Song
-Sylvia Plath-

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
Took its place among the elements.

Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival.  New statue
In a drafty museum, your nakedness
Shadows our safety.  We stand round blankly as walls.

I'm no more your mother
Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
Flickers among the flat pink roses.  I wake to listen:
A far sea moves in my ear.

One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
In my Victorian nightgown.
Your mouth opens clean as a cat's.  The window square

Whitens and swallows its dull stars.  And now you try
Your handful of notes;
The clear vowels rise like balloons.

(turn the lights out, please)

All That's Left of Me Is My Celebrity [27 Feb 2009|07:08pm]
Steven Page is leaving BNL!?!  First the cocaine, and now this!?!  There's no way he's going to make it on his own, but I'm more worried that the rest of BNL won't make it stripped of their key vocals--although he increasingly sounds like a bossy little prick, so probably Ed & Co. are better off without him.

(4 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Oscars! [22 Feb 2009|05:05pm]
Hooray for the Oscars, one of my top 5 nights of the year! 

Something great always seems to come of Oscar night for me.  I remember the year I blew up the garbage disposal trying to shove down the remains of my NiColeslaw Kidman and the year my gerbils had babies on Oscar night; I remember the year I watched with the kvetching Alex Levy and a growing number of people from our hall in his dorm room at Wes, and the year I was with my parents in a hotel in Durango on our way to Mesa Verde for Spring Break.  I always make a big Oscar feast--first it was just the usual appetizering thing, but now it's advanced to making food that puns on the names of the nominees.  This year's menu looked a little unpalateable--I'm fine with MilkShakes and Heath bars, but no way in combination with Wall-Eye, and SlumHotdog Millionaires--so I went with dumplings a la Kung Fu Panda. 

I really hope that by some miracle Kung Fu Panda beats out Wall-E, which I never understood everyone's great love for; Wall-E and his sweet little treasure trove of trash are endearing, but the rest of the movie did nothing for me, and I was frustrated that at the end the robots were still doing all the dirty work for a bunch of oafish and slovenly humans.  Kung Fu Panda, on the other hand, really charmed me after I went in expecting to hate it, and the art is amazing.   

Otherwise, though, I can't say I'm terribly invested in who wins anything.  I haven't seen any of the best picture nominees except for Benjamin Button.  I had a long conversation with Anna yesterday about how ridiculous it is that The Fall isn't nominated for a single thing--what had better effects than that?  Or better costumes?  Or, heck, a more original script?  From what I know about them, I'm underwhelmed by the imaginative effort of all the big films that are up tonight.  And, while Vicky Cristina Barcelona was probably my favorite movie of the year, if Penelope Cruz wins for such a paltry if well-done role, that's a little absurd.  Probably half the Academy thought they were actually voting for Salma Hayek when they voted for her anyway.


Anyway, I'm off to bust through some more Nabokov, heat up my dumplings, and let the viewing begin!

(3 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

Meme-o-Rama [02 Feb 2009|11:21pm]
Merci for the tag, flax!  Just when I was hoping for an excuse not to read more Beckett!
A) People who have been tagged must write their answers on their blog and replace any question that they dislike with a new, original question.
B) Tag eight people. Don't refuse to do that. Don't tag who tagged you.

What are your nicknames?
Skunk.  That's really the enduring one, the one that I answer to without thinking about it.  Others that are more jokes or only frequently used by specific friend or family subsets include Bumpers, Eemi, Elbow McGraw, Roberta Zimmerman, Emmi, Ems, or The Eminator.

How do you style your hair?
Well, folks, here's the problem.  I attempted to procure sideswept bangs over Thanksgiving, which turned out really to just be bangs.  But now the sides I had hoped at one point to establish have turned into unpleasant wings.  How, o how, shall I address these wings?!  Answer me, o hair gods!

What's the last book you read?
I am inching my way across Molloy by Beckett for class.   The last thing I read for myself was a my 10,000th re-read of Not That I Care by Rachel Vail, which remains my all-time gold standard for honest and merciless storytelling.  I cry every time when Morgan tapes the cherries to the cherry tree.  Anyone?  Anyone?

What colour shirt are you wearing now?
Grey sweater.  It was this or a black sweater this morning.  I made a point last year to wear black to every poetry workshop.  I'll do my best to keep it up this semester.

Are you an introvert or extrovert?
A needy, lonely little introvert with extrovert longings who then cannot handle sustained interaction with anyone in real life.

Mozilla Firefox or Internet Explorer?
I really don't get how one could have strong feelings about this question.

Do you nap a lot?
If you count hitting my alarm for literally hours every morning.

Who was the last person you hugged?
Gosh, that's a freaky question.  Nikita I think, disgustingly enough.  Or no, wait, Elyssa!  And Joanna!  That's better.

What's your current fandom/obsession/addiction?
Obsessed with episodes of "That 70s Show" on youtube, "Hot in Herre" by Nelly, "Danny's Song" by Kenny Loggins, "Butterfly" by Crazy Town, and the fact that I still have no story for Monday.

What was the last thing you ate today?
Ice cubes, my favorite snack.

How long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
If I have to be somewhere, I can be up and rolling about 14 minutes, 18 if I have to eat breakfast.  If I have nowhere I have to be, it will take me about 2 hours to get going, I won't eat breakfast, and I only might be wearing clean pants.  And then I'll have to have lunch before I can get to work.

What websites do you visit daily?
Brace yourself for the shame:  Livejournal, facebook, Icanhascheezburger.com, two school email sites, the For Better or For Worse website even though it pains me more and more with each passing day, and if I'm feeling crazy, Dear Abby.  Then, on the day the week's new posting comes out, I have to read postsecret, American Girl's Help and You Said It! column to see if my sabatorial advice made it in, and Rob Brezsny's weekly horoscope. 

Look at all that time I'm wasting right there.

What's the last movie you watched?
I watched Masterpiece Theatre's version of Sense and Sensibility on TV instead of the superbowl on the ghetto TV I bought from my angry Korean ex-neighbor.  AND THEN I DROPPED THE TV ON MY FOOT.

Do you like to clean?
Love it.  Live for it.  Just REFUSE to clean up after other people or have their messes attributed to me.

What time is your usual bedtime?
1:30-2:00ish, although I have to get up so early for work now that I get tuckered out early.

How do you feel about your state of residence?
Hate it.  Hate it pretty unequivocally, actually.

What is your favourite weather?
Rainy or snowy.

Who would you most like to meet from your LJ (If you haven't met them before)
jemfayeapril, thedisappeared, and fatal_lozenge I think
are the only ones I don't know, and they all seem like groovy beings

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
Uck, probably living a compromised life teaching in some capacity and utterly alone.

and those in need of a meme!

(6 downy innocents | turn the lights out, please)

[20 Nov 2008|10:58pm]
Just had a very cute conversation with my mom in which she remarked upon how much she likes Death Cab for Cutie, but isn't that "I Will Possess Your Heart" song overplayed?  Aww, mom!  Look at your emerging scenester taste!  She's growing up so fast!

(1 downy innocent | turn the lights out, please)

Tagged by Octoberine [09 Nov 2008|07:22pm]
a. people who have been tagged must write their answers on their blog and replace any question that they dislike with a new, original question.
b. tag eight people. don't refuse to do that. don't tag who tagged you.

o1. what are your nicknames?
In chronological order, from oldest to newest: Bumpers, Skunk, Emmi, Ems, Elbow, Radish, Emmers

o2. how do you style your hair?
I don't.  Mother Mary comes to me, speaking words of wisdom, "Let it be."

o3. What's new in your life right now?
Just made goulash!  And read my first Karen Russell!  She writes precisely the stories I want to write.  Kind of upsetting to know she beat me to the punch.

o4. how many colors are you wearing now?
Indigo, royal purple.

o5. are you an introvert or extrovert? 
Introvert who secretly thrives on company

o6. what was the last book you read?
The Emigrants by Sebald; currently reading biography of Julia Child, Little Women, and Karen Russell's St. Lucy's Home for Girls Raised by Wolves

o7. do you nap a lot?
Only when reading other people's stories for workshops...sorry, guys.

o8. if the person you secretly like is already taken, what would you do?
Pine in secrecy. 

o9. is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
My last workshop in which my story Titanic-ed.

1o. what was the last thing you ate today?
A clementine

11. how long does it take you to get ready in the morning?
20 minutes plus oatmeal time.

12. what websites do you visit daily?
Oh God, this is probably the most humiliating question one could ask me.  Here's my lineup: LiveJournal, Wesleying, Facebook, For Better or For Worse, Toothpaste for Dinner, I Can Has Cheezburger, Emailsanta.com for the daily Christmas countdown clock.  On Sundays, Postsecret.  On Fridays, the American Girl Help! column I send sabotorial advice into.

13. what classes are you taking right now? and if you're not in school anymore, what's your job?
Fiction workshop, bullshit lit seminar on first person narratives, Writers' Life Colloquium (read: reading series).  Just finished my bonus weekend classes Experimental Fiction and Selling First Person Essays.

14. do you like to clean?
I second flax: I love to clean my stuff, but hate hate hate hate cleaning up after other people.

15. what's the last song that got stuck in your head?
Cry Me a River by the J-tin T-Lake.  Shame, oh, the shame.

16. What's the last movie you saw?
Watched part of Love, Actually last night before realizing I am pretty burnt out on it.  Last GOOD thing I saw was the complete 3rd season of Once and Again!  Thanks, Canadian tv show piraters, for your swift delivery of my illegal dvds!

17. what's better: eternal love or memorable love?
Is the implication that eternal love is boring?  I don't buy that.  Eternal love sounds pretty good.

18. what would you do if you see $100 lying on the ground?
Try to figure out who it belongs to and return it.  If that's not possible, holla, sista needz some new bookz.

19. best time of your life?
Most consistently, non-stop awesome time was New Zealand, but there are some specific moments that were better: college graduation, getting my letter from Claudia Mills, a bunch of my birthday parties.

2o. tell me something good.
I have tickets to see Neil Young in one month and six days!!!!!

I tag: acerbic_wit antiqrule1 squirrelsrstpd thedisappeared jemfayeapril lindaflindas loveismywine lizabizbits 

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