Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Disillusionment with the Alpha-Male Art World

I recently read Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust Without Reason. It was a book which I received free of charge from the publisher. It was fan-freakin'-tastic.

Seriously. I loved it.

Other than having a great title, this book is written with style, and a simple gracefulness. I am usually not a fan of non-fiction, including memoirs. This memoir, however, was one that I didn't want to put down.

For one thing, the subject matter is scintillating. This memoir deals with Roiphe's dedication to, and subsequent disillusion with, the literary art world in the '50s & '60s. This was a time in which men were still drinking with abandon, and striving to become the next literary great. Being this time period, and the art world, there is also a lot of discussion about sex, about love. Roiphe brings this world alive - its' pulse beats steady, and it breathes easily, and the reader slips into this world like a hand into a glove.

It was also my introduction to Roiphe. I am slightly abashed at the fact that I wasn't very aware of Roiphe's prolific-ness until becoming interested in this memoir. Now, I feel like I need to purchase every book she's written, because if they are as good as Art and Madness, I will be a very happy reader while devouring them. Roiphe is extremely intelligent. She grapples with issues on an intellectual and emotional level, and the reader can follow her train wreck of issues while still being awed at the fact that she is so smart. She also writes in a beautiful manner. Her writing in this memoir is slightly stream-of-consciousness - skipping around a bit in time, jumbling close together in run-on sentences, going to the brink of incoherent without ever quite losing that bright silver thread of narrative - and just lovely to read. Reading her memoir reminded me somewhat of Francesca Lia Block. Not because their writing is identical, but because with both women, I feel almost like I'm reading poetry while reading their prose.

I could babble on about this book for much longer, but I'm sure I would start to bore you (if I haven't done so already), so I will simply conclude my review with this recommendation: buy it. If the subject matter interests you at all, buy it. If you like strong, lyrical prose, buy it. If you like Anne Roiphe, buy it. If you are a fan of art, buy it. I seriously doubt you will regret it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Opposition to the Idea of Marriage

A silly institution,
bringing to fruition
the condition
that we are taught on television
is the natural romantic relation.

The perfect white dress
is the start of a mess.
The vow "until death"
just causes stress;
it's cultural duress.

I don't want this cage.
It puts me in a rage
this desire is attributed to young age;
I'll feel the same when a sage.

You see,
getting married
vents women being free.

The man was king,
for he had the money,
and fe-
males re-
sorted to goldigging,
but it was okey
so long as she got a ring.

The continuance
of this nuisance
we succumb to like puissants
is not merely an acceptance,
but also an upholdance,
that past trespasses
on the female race,
while (often) currently in recess,
are our inheritance
because it still holds resonance.

If you think it's right
that women be in the plight
in which they have no rights,
and aren't allowed to fight
for an end to such blight,
then fine.

Get married.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Link to A Contest

Alice Marvels is hosting a contest that gives you the opportunity to win one of 8 signed copies of new Young Adult books or a Kindle. Here's the link: http://www.alicemarvels.com/spring-giveaway

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quote Analysis

"It wasn't so much desire that led me as my intention not to live like a coward. I was determined to take what life would offer. I didn't want to be the only woman of my generation to hold to standards everyone else had long ago abandoned."

-Anne Roiphe. Art and Madness: A Memoir of Lust without Reason. New York: Nan A. Talese, Doubleday, 2011. 19.

I just began reading this book, and I'm already in love with it. The quote above is something that I know I have felt and thought, and that I have a feeling most people go through.

For how do we want to live life? Do we want to strive for an excellence that might not be achievable? I mean, I'm sorry, but the fact is we can't all be rich and famous. Celebrity depends upon and only means something when there is the mediocre, those yearning, the proletariat with which to compare.

So we can strive for whatever we want, but there's never a guarantee that we will achieve it. I can write until my fingers are knobbed and shaking with arthritis, and my wrists crack from carpel tunnel syndrome, but that doesn't mean I'll strike that lucky vein (or marketing team) that Stephenie Meyer did and be able to make a living from it. In fact, with all of these changes recently in the publishing world, it will probably only become harder for the diamonds to glitter among the rough (I'm not saying my work is any good, just that I think a lot more crap is going to be published with the increase of book piracy).

Do we go with what's safe? Can we trust what our parents tell us? All parents do their best, but the fact is that the world changes. People's attitudes generally don't, but it certainly seems that their morals do. The shy, smart girl is generally just considered a stuck-up bitch who won't put out, rather than chased and admired from afar like some John Hughes movie.

Sometimes, we just have to face our fears. That's the only way we can change, the only way that we can improve. For sometimes, we're not perfect just the way we are. To anyone.

And usually, when we feel the safest, that's when we need to change the most.

Anywho, that's what this quote got me thinking about. What about you? There's a lot of meat there, just begging to be chewed over... (Which is my way of saying, please comment below; I'd love to hear your thoughts!)