4 responses to “Mere Realism Doesn’t Thrill Me at All”

  1. Holly

    I love this opening gambit:

    “In between are multi-authored novels in verse that make myth out of the Golden Age of Hollywood; plays that shift their characters achronologically through times past, present, and future; histories that masquerade as novels masquerading as histories; unfinished fragments by sickly Latin American geniuses; and futuristic stories told by narrators so unreliable that they call into question my existence as well as theirs.”

    Fantastic. Keep posting.

    1. James

      Thanks for the compliment. And thanks for pulling out that quote, because now I notice that I managed to cram 63 words into that sentence. Quite some time ago a colleague called me on the carpet (in a very friendly way) after I’d tried to post a sentence a mere 56 words long. I responded with a manifesto of sorts called The Spirit of ’56. Guess it’s time for a sequel.

  2. Matt

    “I woke up in a pile of Barthelme shorts and it was like I didn’t care any more.” If your essay were a staged monologue and I’d paid to get in, this line would be the point where I stopped wondering if the ticket was going to have been worth the money.

    About “Go, Dog. Go!” (oddly, I remember this as “Go, Dogs. Go!”). It was one of my favorites, too. The little detail I loved was at the top of the big tree, where one dog paw emergent above the canopy was swiping at another nearby dog paw that was holding an ice cream cone, and this was just one tiny corner drama playing out in the tree among dozens of others. The swoosh of it was clearly discernible, the grab and dodge. I haven’t seen the book in ages, but some little things like that stay with you forever.

    I loved this article.

    1. James

      I think your memory is onto something, Matt. With all the canines on the loose in G,D.G!, a plural title probably makes more sense.

      I too vividly recall that ice cream cone thrust anonymously (and temptingly) above the canopy. There’s an untold story behind that pair of paws, as there is behind many of the details in the illustrations. Remember the one little dog who stays awake all night while dozens of his friends sleep in the giant bed? What’s on his mind?

      My newly-minted four-year-old has lately started asking about the books we read, “Is this a classic?” Not sure exactly what she has in mind when she says that, but in this case I can definitely answer in the affirmative.

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