Apr 26, 2016

From Holly's Bookshelf: A facebook post that got out of hand.

From Holly's Bookshelf: Not That Kind of Girl, by Lena Dunham. First, I love the cover. (Despite the old adage, sometimes you can.) That cheesy 70s font takes me back to the libraries of my childhood and the pulpy novels my mother would read (which I would skim for the "good parts"). I love that it looks like a terrible self-help book because, in a strange way, it is one.

I'm a season behind on Girls (like many viewers, I am simultaneously intrigued and repulsed by the characters), and I recently watched Tiny Furniture, which I loved because it is like Girls with that same sense of feminism and struggle and aimlessness, but more vulnerable, less caustic. Whether you care about those characters or not, you cannot deny her incredible wit and intellect.

I picked the trade copy up while I was killing time during an open house, attracted by said cover, as well as the vague memory of sibling-abuse controversy it garnered when it first came out. (Apparently, playing doctor and exploring one's own sexuality with others in childhood is as frowned upon these days as letting your kid play outside in your own backyard unchaperoned.)

The book is great, and I urge you all to read it, but, more important to my own personal reading experience was this: I realized something while reading her essays, which is that essays are what I write. My fiction is forced, and I love stories too much to ever write a shitty novel. I don't have that one brilliant story inside me that will resonate with readers for hundreds of years, like Harper Lee or Aldous Huxley, or those millions of incredible story ideas, like Stephen King or Ray Bradbury or Alice Munro. But I do think that I have a perspective on life that is valuable. Wise, even, sometimes. Worth sharing.

I love the writing of Chuck Klosterman and David Sedaris and Richard Hell and Lester Bangs (where are all the ladies? I must find them!), the kind of engaging, literary non-fiction that makes me laugh and think and identify and google and learn. And maybe that is the kind of writer I can be, maybe that's what all my inner monologue narration and lists of 9 and weird short bits of prose and poetry can turn into someday. Maybe that's what this blog and my annoying, overly-long facebook posts can become: a collection of essays, grouped by theme (experiences in hospitals, childhood, suburbia, reactions to current affairs and popular culture, etc.). Maybe it can make that scary transition from the internet to the page someday. 

I believe that what I have to say is important and insightful, or at least entertaining (hopefully all three), or I wouldn't bother writing it down. My writing is important to me, which means it might also be important to other people. Not everyone, obviously, but possibly someone, and maybe even many someones. Sometimes I am my own favourite writer, and I don't even remotely have a problem with how conceited that sounds. I have always possessed a kind of self-conscious confidence.      

I had an epiphany while reading Not That Kind of Girl, which is pretty fucking cool.