Trial audience: “aw cute”
Archive | May, 2006
My daughter at three had an unwavering addiction to cute that has matured now that she is five into a kind of cynical consumption of cute. We spent a painful hour for me (joyful hour for her) browsing a Web site with hundreds of adorable pictures of kittens and puppies. There is a Japanese sensibility (kawaii) for this kind of cuteness, and cuteness it seems is not merely cute in a kind of purely innocent way but cute in a way that camouflage looks natural, cute as a deliberate confusion of signifiers. At three my daughter bought cuteness; at five she is fluent in cute. I am merely confused by cute. I did, however, find an The Aesthetics of Cute.
The New York Times just ran an article that lists in numbers and in names the state of publishing in a country dominated by four major publishers and 1 book buyer for Barnes & Noble (17% of the market). It’s a sobering affair, and yet offers a kind of justification to lunatics and small press types that standing on a street corner and trying to unload your screed is the only practical way to conduct oneself.
This from Jonathan Galassi (FSG):
Publishers frequently argue for the bottom quarter of their list the books that get the least marketing support and often sell the fewest copies. That’s “where the major writers of the future usually start,” Galassi said. “It’s where much of the best writing is, the work of the odd, uncooperative, intractable, pigheaded authors who insist on seeing and saying things their own way and change the game in the process. The ‘system’ can only recognize what it’s already cycled through. What’s truly new is usually indigestible at first.”
Read the whole article here.
I recently saw the movie Police Beat and really liked many of the things about it. Although I remain cautious about Charles Mudede cultural reporting, a caution I think he would ask readers have of any writer, Mudede has written a number of great things in The Stranger, such as this 2001 feature about the region south of Seattle, Negative Land.. He is also a source of contentious opinion, a commodity I think in Seattle where people tend to fall in line pretty quickly with the prevailing sentiment. I have heard Mudede read sections of a novel in progress for years. Ive come across fragments of his fiction published here and there, and it has been a source of mild frustration that he hasnt actually published a book yet. At one point 10th Ave East Press commissioned him to write a book. And then they left town. But finally in Police Beat, there is something. I wish it had been a novel where the overall work would have stuck to Mudedes singular sensibility, but nonetheless, Police Beat is something whole and complete and at least novelistic.
From Steve Potter:
Wanted to let you all know that The Wandering Hermit Review # 2 is on the way! It’s gained forty or fifty pages and a stylin” heavyweight, glossy cover since issue 1 and is lookin’ pretty sweet, if we do say so ourselves!
For those of you in the Seattle area, well be having a reading at Richard Hugo House on Monday, May 22nd. The reading will start at 7:30 and feature Seattle area contributors to the issue. Much thanks to Richard Hugo House for co-sponsoring the event!
I’ll be reading with John McFarland, Sybyl James, and others tonight for StringTown. 7:30 Friday at Ravenna Third Place Books.
When his parents and uncle leave nine-year-old Aldous Bohm and his two siblings alone in the woods, he panics. Instead of staying within the warm security of their cabin, he drags his siblings into the cold, rainy woods to search for the adults.
The OED (as it is called by obsessive) is THE multi-volume mother of all English dictionaries and contains the history of each word. One braggart of a contemporary writer, David Foster Wallace (often referred to lovingly as DFW by his adherents and Wallace! by his enemies) claims to have read the thing (obligatory footnote). If you’ve seen it, these are huge, tabloid sized volumes that take up a whole shelf and probably weight ten pounds each and have tiny print. An insane thing for a book — but perfect for a database.