4/19/2005

*I see memorists....*

Just wanted to move a comment from Barbara Jane forward to show it off.

Thank you BJ!

**hey rebecca! glad to see you've made all sorts of connections!
**so i wanted to give you this info on a pinay memoir:
**janet stickmon's crushing soft rubies.
**i have seen her perform parts of a one woman show. quite gripping.

Speaking on memorists, I finished Traveling Mercies last night then immediately plunged into Truth Serum. What I appreciate about Lamott's writing is her freshness - nothing dressy, except for the occasional description of a natural feature, more spice than meat to her work. She writes with a sort of self deprecating abandon, and I could relate to her nearly narcistic method of self-examination. Yes, I believe I'm at least as crazy as she when it comes to my neurosis and how I handle them. She's 'Jesusy' in a sort of 'awe' invoking manner, meaning she knows the treasure that is in 'awe'-some moments even if she's not particularly evocative when she writes about it. She has two prayers, two I've adopted for myself "Help me, help me, help me" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you" both cover most every situation and I'd only add "Praise and glory, praise and glory, praise and glory." It was a refreshing book, like hanging out with a really fun friend who knows what it is to be a mom growing old and being astonished by the whole process.

Cooper on the other hand is the ache that comes of years of hiding, of trying to be someone else, and he writes of the confusion and heartache of being gay in a straight world. There were no fights for equality when he was growing up, no rallys, no Margaret Cho, no Will and Grace, only that unnameable terror of being different, 'wrong' and outside. His work is excrutiating in detail, and the pacing gives a sense of longing to belong. He has his moments of humor, however, but less panicked (dare I say maniacal) that Lamott relates, like trying to learn how to kiss a girl while dreaming of his best friend or burning porn in his parents garage so he can make a clean start when eight grade begins.

Both have incredible observations of family and the times they lived in, the drugs, the women's movement, Reaganomics, and that in general reminded me that yeah, things were really screwed up in the 70s/80s.

I find (or better to say I am reminded) that I /love/ stories, people stories, the stories behind history, what impact history made on people, beyond the easy spin Scholastic Books puts on our experiences. We all have stories, and I love to hear them, read them, but often I forget that it's also my turn sometimes, the bright stage light too heavy on my eyes. The stunned feeling is starting to wear off, though, and that makes me hopeful.

2 comments:

Okir said...

I recommend Janet Stickmon's book, too. In fact, she came to my class this week, gave a talk and read some of her poetry. Wonderful, bittersweet memoir.

Rebecca Mabanglo-Mayor said...

Jean, Very cool! Thanks for the second recommendation. Soon...very soon I'll pick it up.