27 October 2011

Just Tell Me the Song and I'll Sing It

Currently pushing: Stephen Elliot's "An Oral History of Myself" series. I've been a loyal reader of Elliot's Daily Rumpus emails for about a year now and he's like a uni-directional BFF. I know more about his thoughts and life than I do about most of my friends, which is weird but also fascinating.

I recently found out about his oral history series and have been going through them all. The project is this: "In 2005 I [Elliot] began interviewing people I grew up with and transcribing, then editing, the interviews, creating a kind of memoir but in other people's words." Oral histories are all the rage now. Like the one for Friday Night Lights, the mammoth ESPN book, the MTV book. I think everyone should create an oral history.

The Daily Rumpus is consistently one of my favorite reads but it's not available via blog or anything, as far as I know. Thus I recommend subscribing to the email list immediately.

I went to the library today, for the first time in a long time. I had sort of forgotten about the actual purpose of a library. The last few times I've been in libraries it's been for readings, panels, workshops, blow out sales, celebrations, bathroom pit stops. The last time I checked something out was 2007. As a friend deadpanned to me when I told her how cool it was that I could use my Kindle to borrow books for free: "So it's like a library." Riiiight, good point. Now that I know where I'll be for more than three weeks -- San Diego until 2012 -- I decided it would be best to start hitting up the local branch again.

At the beginning of this year I lamented how much I haven't been reading. Well, eleven months later and I still haven't been reading. I do have a beautiful spreadsheet of things acquired but only nine titles are marked "finished." That's totally pathetic. I'm not exactly cruising through Gravity's Rainbow here either. It only took a few hours each to polish off the stuff I have read. The problem is so much of my reading intake is now long form articles and stuff online that my diet is totally disproportionate. My Kindle was supposed to change this but I've finished a grand total of one book on it so far.

Anyway, long whining short, I'm going to breeze through a book a day this week and try to get my rhythm back. Plus I want to win a reading medal. They still give those out right? Or maybe that's so passé now. I mean, this library in Canada is having a contest to award a trip to WrestleMania for teens who read at least five books. I'm so gonna beat them (up).

Yesterday, Elliot talked about the difference between breaking into the film world versus the publishing world -- excerpted here. What got me was this last bit: "A book is an author alone in a room multiplied by a passage of time. A book isn’t set on permission, a book is grounded on faith."