Giggling in the Pigweeds

Quick–where does this expression (giggling in the pigweeds) come from? I can find only this.   I’m guessing it comes originally from Uncle Wiggily, but the phrase itself isn’t in the Uncle Wiggily stories (I don’t think).   It reads like Perelman…   Does anybody know?

 

 

My First and Last Homemade Movie

is posted here, and has something tangential to do with my upcoming novel, tentatively entitled Amy Falls Down.   As does this.

 

Alphonse, by Laurie Pink

Laurie Pink is an artist who, on the U.K.’s Red Nose Day (“Do Something Funny for Money”), March 18, 2011, drew things for 24 hours straight in order to raise funds for charity.   All you had to do was donate, and she would draw to your specifications.   I asked for:

The Basset Deeply Distrusts the Ant.   There can be more than one ant.

 

 

 

See LP’s other requested drawings  on  this page.  

 

A Musical Interlude

because this is my son, and he’s damn good.

Hard Times, Come Again No More

The Lifted Brow

is an Australian “attack journal,” and its No. 6 edition is available for pre-order.   (They are printing to order: the more orders, the more copies.) No. 6 is their World Atlas edition, made up of one book and 2 CDs, and featuring writing by, among others, Rick Moody, David Foster Wallace, me, and Thomas Benjamin Guerney’s Flabbergastic Travelling Troupe of Limericists.   Everybody got to pick a place to write or sing about.   I picked Hell.  

If you’re interested in knowing more, here’s a helpful link:

http://www.theliftedbrow.com/?p=242

An Actual Reader of Me, In Situ

Proof that I am read by complete strangers

Proof that I am read by complete strangers

And I don’t even know this person.   Snapped by Susan Clark (whom I do know, and to whom I am grateful) during a trip to Gotham last month.

Consider the Ambivert

          When I was a child, people were divided into two groups: extroverts and introverts. Introverts were thought to have something wrong with them: we were assumed to be timid, insecure creatures afraid of the light, and it was a given that we all secretly wished to be extroverts.   To turn inward, to keep one’s own watchful counsel, was somehow to let down the social team. Of course, we weren’t team players in the first place, and the only light we avoided was the spotlight.   Sunlight and moonlight–especially moonlight–were just fine with us. Routinely rebuked for insufficient vivacity, sub-level enthusiasm, and being an all-around pill, I would lie awake nights plotting the overthrow of the extrovert majority, whose self-esteem, whose very existence depended entirely on us–the watchers, the listeners, the audience, however unwilling.

        Happily, rebuked children now abed don’t have to admit to either category.   According to Wikipedia, a third has arisen: the Ambivert.   The ambivert is not a free-ranging pervert but rather something in between an introvert and an extrovert. Wikipedia asks us to imagine a questionnaire consisting of ten statements with which five people–John, Maria, Marcus, Sarah, and David–must either agree or disagree:

 

John

Maria

Marcus

Sarah

David

I am the life of the party.

Agree

Agree

Agree

Disagree

Disagree

I enjoy being the center of attention.

Agree

Disagree

Agree

Disagree

Disagree

I am skilled in handling social situations.

Agree

Agree

Agree

Disagree

Disagree

I like to be where the action is.

Agree

Agree

Disagree

Agree

Disagree

I make new friends easily.

Agree

Agree

Disagree

Agree

Disagree

I am quiet around strangers.

Disagree

Disagree

Agree

Disagree

Agree

I don’t like to draw attention to myself.

Disagree

Agree

Agree

Agree

Agree

I don’t like to party on the weekends.

Disagree

Disagree

Agree

Agree

Agree

I like to work independently.

Disagree

Agree

Disagree

Agree

Agree

I often enjoy spending time by myself.

Disagree

Disagree

Disagree

Agree

Agree

Score

100% Extravert

70% Extravert

50% Extravert
50% Introvert
(Ambivert)

70% Introvert

100% Introvert

        John and Maria are extroverts. Sarah and David are introverts. (This is according to Wikipedia. I contend that no true introvert, such as David, would agree to agree or disagree with any of these statements, or any statements in general.   It’s none of your damn business.) Marcus is an ambivert.

        He yearns for the spotlight, and why not? Marcus is a whiz at social situations–in truth, he’s the life of any party, just as long as it’s not held on a Friday or Saturday night. Weeknight affairs might attract more people than you’d expect.   Of course, there’d be the usual extroverts, so afraid to be alone that they’ll go anywhere, even some lame Tuesday potluck thing larded with introverts like Sarah and David.   John, a 100% career blowhard, may begin to wonder who the hell this Marcus guy is and why he keeps popping up at odd hours to vie for the center of attention, but he probably won’t notice that Marcus never shows up on weekends, since he’s too busy back-slapping, bloviating, and charging about with the twenty-first century equivalent of a lampshade on his head.   I don’t know what the equivalent is, because I’m an introvert.

        Still there’s more to Marcus than meets the eye.   For instance, he hates to be “where the action is.”   Assuming that the action is apt to manifest on weekends, this might explain why he avoids them, but I’m not sure that’s all there is to it. Marcus may secretly covet the action–to dream of it, in fact–but wherever the action is, there’s John, a legion of Johns, amped up on action, action-happy, pontificating and clowning around and generally filling Marcus with a vicious loathing for humanity.   To compete with John for the action’s hub, no matter how gorgeous the action is, is to admit defeat on some deep level.   Or maybe, like me, Marcus isn’t sure what “action” actually means.

        Another thing: while Marcus enjoys being in the spotlight (so long as “action” is absent), he refuses to draw it to himself, presumably relying upon introverts to do the dirty work for him.   One of the many things the chart doesn’t make clear is how he goes about doing this, since he’s (1) rotten at making friends, and (2) purposely enigmatic in the company of strangers.   Possibilities:

  • Bribery.   Marcus pays Sarah and David to hang around with him in an approving way.   This is unlikely, though: it’s more of a John move.   John wouldn’t see anything wrong with it. And a true introvert such as David couldn’t be bought off.
  • The recognition of kindred spirits. Introverts sense that for all his low-wattage charm, he’s really one of them. They gaze at him benignly and encourage his wit with restrained, honest laughter. The extroverts just can’t figure him out, and as they pass by on their way to the Next Big Thing, they pause to study him. Who the hell is this guy?

        The unhappiest of the bunch, it turns out, because, just like John, he can’t stand himself, and unlike John, he admits it. Without an audience he falls apart.   He can’t even work effectively unless he’s surrounded by other people. His weekends must be hell.

Machine translation arguably improving

Here’s a Google translation of this introductory passage from Winner:

Lightning sought our mother out, when she was a young girl in Brown County, Indiana. Licked her body up and down, so she said, with a long scratchy cat tongue. She smelled the ozone, which she described as indescribable. “Not a smell at all, really, but a new and horrible sensation of the nose.” We used to beg her to elaborate. She said it didn’t smell like animal, vegetable, or mineral, or anything else in the world. Then how did you know? we asked. “It had,” she tried again, “a tactile pungency. Every hair on my body stood out straight and vibrated. I wanted to drop flat on the ground but I couldn’t move. It licked me like a big cat! Girls, I was an idea in the mind of a charged cloud!”

Then the lightning dismissed her, and demolished a dying elm across the street. “You always look so disappointed,” she’d tell us, when she came to the end of the story. “You wouldn’t be here, you know, if it hadn’t let me go.” But both of us truly were a little sorry she wasn’t struck. It reflected badly on our mother, that she was tasted and found wanting. Fate had jilted her.

“Where would we be?” Abigail always asked, and Mother would answer, variously, In Heaven, In deep space, Nowhere, Who knows?, A twinkle in your father’s eye. When I was twelve, one of the last times we talked about it, I said, “Maybe we’d be an idea in the mind of a charged cloud.” Mother was terribly pleased.

When our mother was petite–in Brown County, Indiana–the lightning had hunted. She had washed the body from top to bottom, in his words, like a large cat râpeuse language. Our mother had felt the smell of ozone, which it described as indescribable. “No smell at all, in fact, but rather a new olfactory sensation, feeling terrible.” Imploring We always develop. She explained that it was neither animal nor vegetable nor mineral nor anything known on earth. So how could you know? ask us. “This smell it and took it, had a hand in both ac and tactile. All the hairs of my body were prepared and shuddered. I wanted to drop flat on the floor, but I was unable to make the slightest gesture. Lightning licked me like a big cat! Girls, I was an idea in the head in a cloud charged with electricity!”

And then the lightning had washed it and eventually destroy an elm half dead on the other side of the street. “You always look so disappointed,” it is sad when arriving at the end of history. “You know, you would not be here if it had not turned away from me.” But it was indeed true that we may regret a little every second it would not have been foudroyée. The fact of being excluded after being tasted seriously tarnishing the image of our mother. Fate was plated. “Where would we be?” Abigail always asked, to which mother responded, depending on the day: “In Heaven,” “In outer space,” “Nowhere,” “Who knows?”, “Light in the eye of your father.” One of the last time we discussed the topic–I was then twelve years–I said: “Perhaps we would gain insight into the mind of a cloud charged with electricity.” Suggestion that rather enormously mother.[from here]


The Onion Does It Again

Just as theirs was the most appropriate response to 9/11 (sadly, no trace of that brilliant headline remains on the web), they wrote the best 11/4 headline (and article):

http://www.theonion.com/content/news/kobe_bryant_scores_25_in_holy_shit

Why I Love Automatic Translation

Here’s automatic French-to-English translation on Amazon.fr of part of the page flogging the French version of my Jenny and the Jaws of Life. (I supply the original sentences for the quoted passage from “Melinda Falling.”)

She was disconsolate. It was inconsolable. For hours she lay face-down on the living room couch, sobbing wildly, angrily brushing off my comforting hand.   Lengthened flat belly on the settee of the living room, it sanglota passionately during hours, pushing back with anger my caresses of comfort. When she became coherent she called herself “a freak, a freak, a freak,” and threatened to run away to a sideshow. When it could be expressed in a coherent way, it qualified “monster, monster, monster” and threatened to go to be given in spectacle in fairs. I told her that indeed, she was a freak, in a positive and glorious sense; that she was unique; that she was different, not in degree but in kind, from any other woman I had ever known, and that therefore she was infinitely precious to me. I say to him that indeed, it was a monster, in a positive and glorious direction; that it was single, different, not in degree but in kind, of all the other women whom I had known; and that, consequently, it was infinitely invaluable for me. She said I was crazy. It answered that I was insane. How can it be crazy, I asked her, to love someone without reservation, just as she is, and to wish for nothing more? “In what is this insane, asked him I, to love somebody without reserve, such as it is, and nothing to wish moreover?” “I don’t know,” she said, “but it is.” “I do not know, but that is.”

Twisted stories or stories to twist laughter, the stories of Jincy Willett stick tenderly to characters délicieusement wobbly. The women are awkward there with the clean direction, the men with the illustrated direction. Useless to specify that as soon as it is a question of going to dance, allure or simply discuss, the catastrophe is never very far.

The author seen by the editor:

Jincy Willett is an author and editor; she lives in San Diego, in California, where, since the republication of Julie and the fair with the illusions, she has more and more evil to remain incognito.

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Part Deux:

Here’s an automatic translation of an ad for the French version of Winner:

 Gloire, Honneur, et Mauvais Temps

Abigail and Dorcas live in Providence (Rhode Island) and are twin. More different one from the other, it does not have there. Abigail is the Gironde, sensual, unsteady, greedy, secretly with the drift; Dorcas is less than pretty, revêche, disgusted by the sex, book (it is a librarian). Abigail will marry, have a girl, will become widowed, take lovers; Dorcas will be desiccated on the spot, handled clearness like a sabre, will be cynical by nature or survival, with the choice. And here is Abigail who convole in second weddings with Conrad Lowes, famous novelist and perverse practitioner; and here is that Dorcas observes the sadomasochistic relations between Conrad and his sister. All will fly in glares, glory and honor, beauty too. And then one day, Abigail will kill Conrad. Its tumultuous life of couple in a book will entrust. Who will have success. That Dorcas will briskly comment on, with compassion, fury and intelligence, carried by the blizzard which blows on Providence.

Biography of the author

Jincy Willett was born in 1946 in Massachusetts. After studies with Brown University, it teaches philosophy and takes part in workshops of writing. It has a son in 1987 and becomes widowed the following year. It joined then its family with San Diego, where it always saw. It publishes Jenny and the jaws of life (1987) who will appear in France under the title the Can-opener (Otherwise, 2004). In 2003, it delivers its first novel, Winner of the National Book Award (this Glory, honor and bad weather that Phébus publishes in January 2007). Jincy Willett is putting the last key at its second novel, The Writing Class.  

IMPASSIONING!!!