Monday, December 27, 2010
MY NEW JOB
Happy The Holidays! I'm working again this morning, which is strange, because usually I prefer to stay horizontal and stuff my face full of stale sugar cookies until I'm too bloated and angry to move. Eventually (early January?), my mother rolls me down the front steps and into the icy outdoors until I'm forced to move or freeze to death. It's a tough choice, because (as we all know from various short stories about fumbling for matches in the snow) freezing to death often disguises itself as a comforting, restful choice, like crawling into a snow sleeping bag for a long winter's nap. Lifting oneself to one's knees and crawling to the front door to moan and wail for someone to unlock it, though? That's a little bit demeaning, especially when one has been wearing the same crusty soft pants for five days and one smells like moldy bread.
This morning I received several letters from concerned readers reassuring me that I'd find paid work soon. Worry not, fair readers! I left my job at Salon for a staff critic position at The Daily, an iPad-only publication described here and elsewhere. I'm writing about movies and TV now, which means that I occasionally shower, put on starchy pants, and drive across town to Beverly Hills to sit in the dark with other professional hermits. Exotic!
I have a fun new job. That said, I completely understand why many would assume that I'm unemployable. Like most people, I'm ambivalent about work, and feel strongly that any form of employment amounts to grabbing ankle for The Man. I feel this way not because I'm an idealist, but because I value the idiosyncrasies of my mediocre mind far more than I should, and feel that my mind should wander hither and thither, without concern for deadlines and paychecks and other such trivialities. My anti-capitalist impulses derive from nothing more honorable than idle narcissism.
Yes, you'll be able to read my writing in more places than you'd really like, eventually, with or without an iPad. But in the meantime, you can purchase my book (which comes out in just 3 days), thereby paying cash for something that, up until now, you've consumed for free. "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" you ask? Because the cow is fucking lazy and it'll die if you don't buy it, that's why.
Thank you for your continued support in spite of everything.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
FLOOD WATERS RISING
A few days ago, I discovered bubbles of water collecting in a wall of our brand new house. Yesterday, we bought a tarp to put on that part of the roof until it stops raining. Then I wrote a check for the mortgage. Hurray!
In more cheerful news, some great reviews are coming in for my book, but I think my favorite is this one, from "Just Karen," on Amazon:
"Ms. Havrilesky is a sharply hilarious writer who turns a clear and ultimately forgiving eye on the war zone of her childhood and the woman who emerged from it. Each chapter functions alone, but relates to the others. The story of her parents' divorce provides background for a description of how an ill-timed loss of virginity eroded not just her self-esteem but her ability to bond with friends. And both of those chapters are better explained by a chapter that discusses the impact of her troubled and charismatic father on her entire life. But each chapter stands alone as a thoughtful, bitterly funny take on life, survival and growth.
As she struggles through her own layers of damage and compensation, she delivers paragraphs like these:
'But was my personality as a child--honest, open, full of wonder, prone to weeping at the slightest provocation--somehow more authentic than the pessimistic, spiteful cad I'd become? Was it really fair to claim innocence and purity as my true self, or to throw away years of meticulously constructed defense mechanisms, many of them awesomely complex and imaginatively designed, the psychological equivalent of the internal-combustion engine?'
For me, that's just about a perfect paragraph, and it should tell you if Havrilesky's style appeals to you. This is definitely a memoir of overcoming, but it is not a memoir about the attainment of spiritual or emotional perfection. If your taste runs to 'Half Empty' or 'This Boy's Life,' you will be mighty pleased with 'Disaster Preparedness.'"
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Sweet, sweet Lord on high, the first truly joyful moment of my memoir's (upcoming) publication came this morning, when I examined my book's listing on Amazon, and discovered this gem:
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Reading it was like watching my entire life flash before my eyes! Thank you, 2-star-bestowing pre-publication reader, for giving me the gift of laughter on this fine morning.
Those who savor bitter, unhappy, unpleasant memoirs about growing up should pull up Amazon.com right now and pre-order my book, which comes out on December 30. But be forewarned: If you're looking for tales of incest and drug abuse and semi-fictional downward spiraling (as many readers have come to expect when they spot the word "memoir" on the cover), then you may be disappointed. But, if the words "feisty," "reflective" and "insolent" ring bells with you, then sally forth and purchase that sharp-toothed, ill-tempered puppy right now! My thanks in advance for your support.
Remember, you've never paid a red cent for a word I've written. Why start now? Well... I'm not sure. Because it will be unpleasant, maybe? Who doesn't enjoy the unpleasant, way deep down inside? Why else would we visit the outdoor mall with the gigantic fountain that dances to Celine Dion? Why else would we frequent terrible chain restaurants with advertising on their menus, or watch "Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew," if we weren't masochists at heart?
If that's not convincing, here's how 5-star reviewer Konrad Baumeister summarizes my book:
"Each chapter, arranged quasi-chronologically, could stand alone as a general look at one phase of life: childhood, dealing with intra-family squabbles, the tension and divorce of her parents, trying out for cheerleading, who you pick and who picks you as friends, losing one's virginity, the death of a parent, finding love at last, and just discarding fairy tales and coming to terms with what real life is - everything is here. It's told against a soundtrack of 80s music, high school rivalries, a rotating cast of ever younger girlfriends entertained by her father, etc.
Havrilesky's writing style brings all of these inherently tense and anxiety-fraught situations home with honesty, clear vision, a knack for the ironic and the sardonic, and something of a gimlet eye towards life. The funny and the weird, bad jobs, loser boyfriends, vignettes of childhood - she remembers it all, and the reader will recognize his or her own stories in the mix as well. It's good stuff."