So I’d never heard of the Pulitzer prize-winner Junot Diaz. But I did some snooping on the Net and lo and behold, there he was in the New Yorker, bold and Dominican.
Read his piece titled “Alma.” It’s funny in parts, but it’s mostly a badly drawn bit of juvenile fantasy with just the right amount of adult situations to titillate the liberals and enrage the orthodoxy to Google: “Fingers whisking the soft of her and her face looking desperately, furiously happy,” in the hopes of discovering some Republican Website that’s crusading to abolish “soft.”
I wasn’t impressed. His show all, tell all was more high school than new school.
And what’s with these Pulitzer winners? Take Russo. He’s such a pachyderm writer, plodding along with his narrative as if naturalism was back in vogue and the modernists were nothing but Zola’s incestuous relatives and better not spoken about.
Shit, it dampens my squib every time I have to hear that docu-drama fiction is the cluster to which all other writers must cling if they want a vintage.
There was a time in the US when every town was required to maintain a church, a minister, and a friendly ewe.
A good friend, he’s so good, in fact, that he has been known to stay up late reading my e-mail, introduced me to the writer Mark Leyner. I read an article about him in the New York Times. And I liked this he said about writing:
“When I write, I’m trying for explosive, sensational and elegantly choreographed lines. Traditional narratives are too prolix and discursive. There’s always 14 pages describing a lawn that you skip over. I wondered, can you write a kind of fiction that the reader can’t skip, because it’s so dense with pleasure, so unrelentingly enjoyable, so packed with event?”
I think I could visit that kind of fiction as if it were a pub in the seedy part of town where love gets dangerous.
I stumbled across this interview in the new edition of New Editor: Therapy Without the Word Association.
“What makes you think you’re an editor?”
“The smell of pork chops.”
“Interesting. How long have you been a vegetarian?”
“I don’t remember. I think my parents had a camp on a lake when I was a child and they’d lock me in it with wild swine.”
“Did they ever rumba?”
“I’m having a hard time locating that memory. How about this one: I used to imagine I’d edit my dad and mum’s love making.”
“Who was on top?”
“The bullfrog. I would scoop him up and ask him to recite my alma mater.”
“You went to Columbia, yes?”
“Yes, no… Can you repeat the question?”
“You were a student at the Propulsion Academy For Failed Protozoa?”
“Yes, now I remember, I once wrote a non-fiction account about waking up as a large bug only to find out that Kafka had already done it.”
“Have you ever thought about psychokinesis?”
“Does thinking about words like saucy count?”
“Only if it brings about a mental effort.”
“Oh yes it does. I’m in constant need of a beating.”
“Good. I’ll sign you up for next week’s conference on the strange habits of banana slugs that eat their phallus after coitus, leaving them in the odd predicament of now being females and pregnant.”
“Sounds great. When do I get to edit it?”