Orson & Scott – Fighting homophobia one chapter at a time

27 March, 2011 - 4 Responses

Do you remember this post, where I expressed my horror at discovering that Orson Scott Card is a raging homophobe?

I am not only pro-gay rights; I just can’t understand why they get harassed, alienated and attacked in so many parts of the world, just because they happen to prefer their own sex over the opposite.  Mr. Card, who is a talented science-fiction author that I have immensely enjoyed over the years, had put me in a difficult moral dilemma. Should I keep reading his books, now that I knew that he was out to kill the gay’s right to marry gay? (this gay marries gay is important because he suggests that gay men should marry women and vice versa. Check it out. It is a priceless hymn to hypocrisy). Or should I repudiate his every word, as if this ugly face that he is showing to the world is the only part of his character that matters?

This dilemma is completely new to me, because I have always assumed that All Geeks Are Good (even the ones that go around creating cults and getting killed by their own creatures). From my experience, all geeks have suffered a disconnect to their peers and to the world, and all geeks have been accused at some point of  – well, being a geek. That is a cool label now, but it wasn’t when I was a teenager, and I’m pretty sure that the treatment that geeks received was even worse when Orson Scott Card was a teenager.

Being a geek should not only prepare you to deal better with other people’s unrequited opinions, but also to realize how random, unjustified and cruel the scapegoat lottery can be. It really depends on what is cool around you and what your parents taught you and peer pressure and the religion of the majority. The odd one out could the Latin kid that can’t speak English yet, but who will be bilingual in a few years. Or the Goth girl who bites her nails until they bleed, but writes fabulous songs. Or the fat boy who cannot move as fast as the others, but excels in Physics. Or it could be you, for any of the reasons that make you different and hence, a target. And, Orson Scott Card, as a science fiction writer, qualifies as the geekiest of geeks, so at first my brain just couldn’t process that he had taken the time to write that hateful and deceptively calm column.

However.

Taking an active stand against someone’s private life and publishing your opinions as if they were proven facts all over the Internet takes bullying to a completely different level. It requires the skullheadness of the socially stumped and the rightfulness of a person that has never considered a whole part of humanity as human as himself. For the author that coined the Hierarchy of Exclusion, he is behaving like a particularly close-minded Varelse.

So after giving it some thought, I opened Word and I replaced my protagonists’ names, Jeff  & Stanley, with Mr. Card’s names. My gay married couple, the main characters in an urban science-fiction unfinished and hopeful novel, are named after a homophobic author. I could have named the villain after him, but somehow this small action felt right.

I cannot get Mr. Card to walk a mile on a gay person’s shoes, but I sure can honor all the gay Orsons and Scotts out there in my writing. Even if this novel never gets published.

Challenge of the week: if you are a writer, and are particularly concerned about a social issue, write a story in which the main character wears the name of your issue’s most fervent enemy. And then go and publish it. Because the best thing that you can do with a radical’s name is turn it into a positive symbol for the cause he is attacking. Even if the symbol is a very small one. It will make a difference.

Books that should be translated into English: Flores de Sombra, by Sofía Rhei

26 March, 2011 - One Response

One of the tragedies of being a trilingual avid reader is that most of the time you cannot share your latest literary discovery with the people around you because it is written in a language that they don’t speak. I, single-handedly and through this Almighty Blog, will put an end to that. Because there are some Works of Fiction that everybody should be able to read, and short of translating them myself (a very bad idea, as any person that has suffered a translation committed by a non-native speaker will tell you), putting them up on the Internet for the Foreign Rights Buyers to find is the best I can do.

The first book in this list is Flores de Sombra (Shadow Flowers) by Sofía Rhei. It is a Young Adult Urban Fantasy Romance novel with a lot of back story, and here’s the pitch:

Welcome to Umberfield. Population 231 (more or less)

Hazel Hawthorne moves with her mother to Umberfield, a town in the middle of Nowhere, the summer before her senior year. She has left behind her boyfriend Bob and her best friend Virginia for what seems the most boring town on the face of Earth. Then, one night, the dead garden of the run-down house where she lives comes to life, and the

plants that hadn’t bloomed in years explode in a symphony of black flowers. The same night, Hazel finds her way into the Feer, which is a scent away from our world and whose inhabitants are fantastical hybrids of plant and animal that trade magic candy for memories and pop-corn made of  petals for sensations.

 

In the Feer there is also Áster, a mysterious young man that may or may not be in love with Hazel. Meanwhile, two gorgeous girls have appeared in Umberfield, and one of them looks like a New-and-Improved version of our protagonist.

The Best:

  • The best line in the book, the one that the marketers are using as a tagline, comes from Hazel’s mouth: “If you want me to remember you, do something memorable.” She is right and she kicks ass.
  • The syllabaries (that is like an alphabet but with syllables) that Sofía Rhei developed to source the book’s back story, which is a beautiful as logical. You can check it out here.
  • It is a self-contained story that ties up all the plot-lines.
  • It is written in perfectly poetic (but simple) Spanish. If you are learning this language and want some reading material, look no further. That is how I went from a C to an A+ in English when I was in High School, by reading the novel adaptation of Jim Henson’s Labyrinth.

The Worst:

  • It ends.
  • It is a self-contained story that ties up all the plot lines (which means, no sequel)
  • I would have spilled more blood and sage. But then again, this is a Young Adult novel and I am gory in my tastes.

You will like it if you liked:

  • Labyrinth
  • The Talisman, by Stephen King and Peter Straub
  • Anything by Diana Wynne Jones

Bible shopping in Paris

26 March, 2011 - 2 Responses

I am agnostic. I would love to be able to believe in a God that you can reach through a structured program, like most people do, but I simply can’t believe in a High Spiritual Being that would care to establish a step-by-step guide to holiness. “If you do this thing, and you abstain from doing all that, you will have a place in my Paradise,” God promises. But the rules change depending on the part of the world where you are born, which seems pretty flimsy for a Creator. I want to believe, because I know that it is a source of comfort, but my brain won’t let me step in that path.

That being said, I was baptized three months after my birth and I studied at a very Catholic school where we had Mass every morning and a Religion class twice a week. I took my First Communion wearing my mother’s dress. When I was 12, I tried to drop morning Mass and enroll in the Free Study class that was available, knowing that not only I did not believe, but my mind drifted during the rituals and I had started to utter mocking versions of the sentences. I was, from my point of view, disrespectful of my peer’s and teachers’ faith, and unfit to be a part of that group. It was when my teacher explained to me that at 12 I couldn’t know what I believed in and that she wasn’t going to let me go because I was an excellent reader that my respect for the spiritual side of organized religion dropped to 0. I got through it by studying the storytelling side of Christianity, but it wasn’t a fun path either. For me, it was like being told over and over the same stories, that seemed disconnected. Religion was the easiest subject to pass, but also the only one where I had to actively lie to get an A.

It all paid off when I finished school to become an Art History major. Suddenly, all the dull repetitions had a meaning: I knew the names of every person ever painted or sculpted. I was an Iconography wiz kid. My professors praised how well I spelled the names of obscure Bible characters. Whether you want to admit it or not, Art has its roots in religion, and the body of Western Art and Music and Literature is heavily based on God’s message to His people and what His people interpreted.

Religion is, whether I want it or not, an important part of my life, but also a part that I only touch with a ten feet long stick because most people (believers and atheist alike) get upset at me whenever I get involved in a religious conversation. This is why I was a little shocked when my boyfriend complained about not having a Bible at home.

“But we have a Bible,” I said, pointing to my grandmother’s brown and dusty edition.

“But I can’t read it,” he answered. “Because it is in Spanish. I need it in French.”

I need it. Why did he need a Bible? Bible knowledge, from a certain age on, is like pop culture. You pick it up as you go. If he wanted we could watch some episodes of 7th Heaven together. Or I could answer his doubts about places, dates, characters and literary genres. A Bible, I argued, would only take up space on the shelves, because as he could see by the cloud of dust that was floating around us since I cracked open my version, it wasn’t something that he would read every day.

He just looked around the room at all my books that were taking up space and I didn’t re-read every day. I shrugged. Sure, he should get a Bible if he wanted.

At the Salon du Livre I decided that I would get him his Bible. And it would be the Best. Bible. Ever. It had to be light enough to be carried around, in case he wanted to keep it in the car or read it on the Metro, but it also had to have good quality paper. Cigarette paper breaks so easily. I wanted to get the simplest, best translated version that I could find. Catholic Bibles are annotated. Some of these notes are pretty biased. After perusing a couple of stands, I found The One. It was a bit bigger than a pocket-book, but it was light as a feather. It didn’t have shiny golden letters that advertised how very holy this book was. The typography was gorgeous, and the editor had left enough space on the margins in case the reader wanted to make his own notations. It also had maps. And the translation was clean and streamlined. It was perfect.

I head to the counter, happy with my find, when a lady wearing a very stiff blazer and pearl earrings stepped in front of me. She had a badge around her neck that identified her as the owner of the stand.

“Excuse me,” she said, ” Do you know that the Bible you picked up,” she dropped her volume until her voice turned into a whisper “is Protestant?”

I blinked. “Yes. It is a really pretty edition,”

She looked at me as if I was crazy. “You should buy one of the other versions. They are Truer to the Faith,”

“I like this one very much, thank you.”

I tried to follow the queue, but she stepped in front of me again. “Are you a Christian?”

What should I answer? Whenever someone stops me in the middle of the street to ask me about my beliefs I always answer something that will throw them off-center so that they will let me go. In Madrid I said that I was Jewish, because there are not many. But in Paris there would be no “let me buy your damn Bible and leave in peace” answer. I was pretty sure that the saffron-clad bald man studying a Psalms book  in front of me wasn’t a Christian, but nobody was bothering him. Instead of telling her that I was Tantrist or Wiccan or Panoramixtian inclined, I answered a half truth. Because I wasn’t in the mood to start a discussion about my faith or lack thereof.

“I study Art History,” I said. “I want this Bible as a reference book,”

“But the other ones are annotated,”

She was on her way to become the worst saleslady of History. The edition I had picked up was substantially more expensive than the versions she was pushing me to buy. And what had happened to “The client is always right”?

“But those have more chapters,” she added.

“I know they have more chapters. I already have one at home. But this version is more readable. And I can write on the margins.”

She gasped.

I was lying to a Catholic saleslady. In Paris. Capital of all things secular. How low could I go. “You are not supposed to write on the margins,” she said. “It is a sacred book,”

Some of her sacred books were bright pink and orange and had more glitter than a drag queen, but saying that would have been offensive. “You don’t understand,” I answered, as calm as I could. “I don’t want this book for praying. I am going to use it as a comparative source of historical information,”

“No, you don’t understand! There is nothing to compare because what is written here,” she picked up the flashiest Bible of the lot and shook it in front of my face “is the Truth!”

I have a theory about what happened next, but I should give you a little context.

In Spain, everybody is Catholic. But because everybody is Catholic, nobody cares a lot. Don’t get me wrong, there are people who go to Mass every Sunday and teach their children to pray, but they are not going to throw a fit if you tell them that you have doubts about His existence. Or if your best friend is Muslim. Or if you want to buy a Protestant Bible. They might get snarky, but they won’t lose control over their social skills to the point that they are hurling at you in public.

However, being religious in Paris is a deliberate and sometimes difficult choice. Whatever your faith, flaunting it in public is not acceptable, and even worst – it is unfashionable. It is tacky! I haven’t heard anyone talking openly about their Atheism (because not believing can also be a passionate feeling). Public buildings have to be free of ostentatious religion symbols, and students can’t wear crosses, kipas or veils to go to class. One of my French friends is going to get baptized, and she has told be that she doesn’t mention it to her colleagues, because they would think of her as silly, naïve and unsophisticated. The fact that she has a spiritual need and might have found a way to nurture doesn’t matter.

This saleslady was clearly a repressed Catholic and was getting very angry at me. I realized my mistake. I should have told her that I was Protestant, because that was something that she would have respected. She might have been disappointed, but at least I would have been someone with a faith as strong as hers. But what I had told her was that I didn’t believe in her book. That it was just for reference. That it was a story and that it was not holy -for me, a supposed college student. That I wasn’t going to use it as she did, and that her opinion did not matter. I had told the truth about how I felt, but I wasn’t prepared for her answer because nobody had really cared before.

“No, it is not the Truth. It’s just a book,” I said.

Silently, she took The Book from my hands and set it back on the shelves, next to its lollipop-coloured cousins. My hands were empty, and I was ashamed. I wanted to retort something smart, like that what mattered was that the text got across, that it was an important body of work, that she was being unreasonable, that I was her client and should be able to buy whatever I wanted, but I couldn’t. My words wouldn’t reach her, because she was shielded in her faith.

I walked away to find a stand with a less scrupulous vendor.

Diana Wynne Jones passes away

26 March, 2011 - 19 Responses

Dianna Wynne Jones died today at 76 years old. She had been fighting with lung cancer since the summer of 2009, but the sickness finally took her away this morning. She left 40 children and young adult novels behind, all of which are delightfully written. HayaoMiyazaki loved her work so much that he took Howl’s Moving Castle and made a breezy, airy, fantastically detailed film out of it. She started to write out of need for stories and books and never stopped. She had to fight dyslexia to do this, which makes her achievements even more amazing. There is a half-written book that she will never finish.

Neil Gaiman wrote her a poem.

I loved her books very much, although the first one I read was not the obvious one. Her Tough Guide to Fantasyland is filled with all the stereotypes and contradictions that you will find in all and any Tolkienish fantasy story. I keep this small volume on my bedside table, and reach for it whenever I want to smile.

Her main characters, mostly girls, were strong and smart, and shed their fears in the course of the story until they became even stronger and smarter.

I will miss her, but now she has gone to her House of Many Ways. May she visit all the rooms.

Concert review: Felipecha at Le Divan du Monde

25 March, 2011 - 3 Responses

When my boyfriend told me that we would be attending a Felipecha concert because his childhood friend was the battery, I nodded and wondered since when he had Basque friends. Turns out that I am a French scene illiterate, because Felipecha is a very hot duo composed by Phillipe Chevalier and Charlotte Savary (Wax Tailor‘s singer) that has been around for three years.

Le Divan du Monde is a concert hall nested at the feet of the hill of Montmartre. The sign outside looks like a letter board from the 30’s, and the space inside is a mix of old movie-theater, modernist staircases, kitsch decoration and Orientalism. It has two floors, with a bar in each, two staircases (one straight and hard-wood, one spiral and modernist), and lots of couches to lounge around during the concerts. The vibe is airy, cozy and so friendly that some families brought their kids to the concert.

The Kitsch

And the Cozy

Last night they hosted the first concert of Felipecha’s tour.They make songs that are a sweet, ironic, elegant, melodic and extremely French. Their music is one part electro, one part jazz and two parts pop sprinkled with folk notes. Charlotte Savary has a lovely voice, Phillipe Chevalier has a charming stage presence and the guitar, bass, piano and battery manage to bring up the best French sound that I have heard in a long time.They click like Gainsbourg and Birkin.

They started with their 2008 album, De fil en aiguille (One thing leading to another), with songs like Un petit peut d’air, the song that made them famous (videoclip below) and Quelque part, a great walking song with a fast beat about how we turn away from other people’s problems. After receiving many ovations from the public, they moved on to their new album, Les lignes de fuite (Vanishing points).

My favorite songs of their new album were London Shopping, in English and French, about a couple’s visit to London… with radically different ideas on how to spend their weekend, and La tour Eiffel est un tipi (The Eiffel tower is a tipi), a violent song about the fast and savage side of Paris. I am listening to it as a I write, and although the studio version is excellent and has violins and cellos in it, I think that I prefer their live version, which was more rock’n’roll.

Big kudos to Frank at the battery and to whomever was in charge of the lighting. That person lit up the stage with a million different colors and managed to give a shape to a cloud of mist, just like Parisian lights do with the city’s mystery grey bonnet.

The crowd begging them to come back for Just. One. More. Song. S'il vous plait.

All in all, a wonderful night. *Clicks replay*.

Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand becomes a film

24 March, 2011 - One Response

Don’t let anyone fool you: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand is, first and foremost, a scary dystopian novel where talent is stolen and personal victories are stomped on. That makes this book kin to 1984. When I first read it, I found it inspiring, and I although I knew that the author was writing the books as a way to push her theory of Objectivism to the masses, I still enjoyed it as a fast-paced (if you cut the redundant speeches) retro science-fiction story.

It also has a great movie potential. After Angelina Jolie flirted with the project in 2008, and long years of stalled production, Atlas Shrugged: Part I is finally a reality. Here is the trailer, brought to you by the appropriately named The Strike Productions:

How deep is the ocean? How high is the sky? Who is John Galt?

The special effects look fantastic, and the decor and exteriors are exactly as I imagined them, but I had not imagined Hank Rearden as Grant Bowler. He recently played an idiot werewolf biker in True Blood, but  he sure knows how to clean up nicely.

7 Ideas to Save the Book and Improve the E-reader

24 March, 2011 - 3 Responses

I am really worried about the future of my beloved book. Peter Mayer, who was the CEO of Penguin Books from 1978 to 1996 and now directs The Overlook Press, recently predicted that in the future, the demand for paper books will diminish, and that will make them more expensive, driving most book lovers to Kindle and Co.

Why is that a “bad thing” ? As far as I understand, when you download a book in your e-reader, there are a bunch of things that you can’t do. Like printing it, to have a safe copy in the house, or lending it to a friend, or bringing it to a book signing.

(edit: some people are bringing their e-readers to book signings to have the gadget signed by their favorite authors. Which means that in a few years, when their machines will become obsolete, they will be auctioning them on E-bay for absurd prices).

Harper Collins is Taking Measures to make sure that you cannot read a book more than 26 times before it wastes away and disappears from your machine.

Which brings me to my biggest fear: if an editorial house can have remote access to my e-reader, and erase its content, what will prevent them from deleting books that “are no longer in their catalogue” or from “reviewing” the text? Will they be able to know what I read, how I read it and use that on their Market Research department? What if I want to keep my addiction to seinen manga a dark secret? Reading is a very private activity, but with an Internet connexion it will become a recorded public act.

And what will happen to those Limbo authors, who are not old enough to be in Project Gutenberg but were published a long time ago and have not been so commercially succesful? Will they be part of the e-book lucky published? Or will they disappear in the Sales Bin of a Public Library?

And also: how are you going to teach your children the value of reading if you have to pay for their expensive and breakable gadgets? I was a very, very clumsy child and I still destroy an MP3 every year. Books were great because they commit suicide before I clutched them in my fatty hands. That was one of the reasons I loved them. Paper books are better for children, and I bet that they are also cheaper in the long run.

This is a Figment of your Imagination

On the other hand, why should someone buy a book that costs €8 when you can have exactly the same text for €0.99 and it doesn’t take up space on your shelves? E-readers are so easy to clean. They are light and can be carried everywhere. Oh, and you can download your book immediately form a convenient online shop.

Not to mention that online self-publishing is sometimes the only outlet that some authors have, and if done right, it has the potential to make them richer faster than traditional publishing, like Amanda Hocking has proved (the keywords here are “if” and “potential”).

John Scalzi made this. Click to jump to his blog.

Still, when given the alternative, I would buy a paperback over an e-book any day. For now, at least. But what if Mr. Penguin’s predictions become true and my beloved format becomes incredibly expensive?

The hook to keep people in the paper loop would be EXTRAS:

As this post suggests, I would want my comparatively expensive paper volume to come with a free e-book copy.

1) A life-long guarantee that your e-book will never, ever, disappear from your computer and that you will be able to download it again, as long as you have the paper volume.

2) Deluxe editions (aka hardcovers) could also include interviews with the author, extra chapters, a “trailer” or excerpts from future books, reference lists, a “how to write like me…”

3) Easter Eggs, like in DVDs. Imagine searching for a keyword in your Kindle when, bam! that keyword unlocks Secret Content, like an author’s doodle, or an illustration, or any of the ideas on point 2.

4) Signing tickets! When you buy a paper book, it could come with a voucher for a signing, that you can either send to the author, or use during his future appearances in book fairs, conventions, book tours… a VIP list for paper-readers. Because I still think that signing a gadget is ridiculous.

5) FAQ interaction! With the paper-book, you also buy the ability to ask questions to your e-reader. For instance when you type “Who killed Boy Staunton, Mr. Davies?”, a Mr. Davies bot could answer you “Finish the book!”.

6) For text books and public libraries; once you purchase the paper book, you get a link to a page where you can excerpt the references for your footnotes; instead of just writing the author, editor, etc. you could link directly to the actual paragraph or chapter that you used to source your paper without fear of stepping into a copyright. It could be expanded into a scholar mini-site where the diligent student keeps all the extracts and references that he has used and can update them if there are new discoveries on his field.

7) For children books: if you REALLY insist on buying other format than paper to brain-to-hand challenged kids, be cool and include a small app with your paper book that addresses the child by her name, making her feel part of the experience. A book-club discussion from your laptop or e-reader, with little prices if they give the right answer.

What would you like to see in the publishing industry as we move to a future where the e-reader dominates the book market? Will you keep buying paper books? (The correct answer is “Yes” ;-) )

Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman will go to the small screen

24 March, 2011 - 104 Responses

Reporting directly from Neil Gaiman’s blog: Good Omens, the fagnificent spawn of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, is being adapted for television by Terry Jones (Monty Python) and Gavin Scott (Small Soldiers). The producer will be Rod Brown, who already lead the BBC versions of Terry Pratchett’s Hogfather and The Colour of Magic. He did a great job capturing the fantastic and gritty ambientation of Discworld’s characters, and I am sure that this coming in 2013 BBC miniseries will be up to the fan base expectations.

What is so exciting about this book becoming a movie? Well, not only is the product of the collaboration of the two most original fantasy writers alive, but it also packs a lot of action, philosophy, absurd, irony, mythology, religion and pop culture references. Let me introduce you the characters and the plot (Pictures by the fantastic jdillon82 at  Deviantart). If you want, you can play with me and try to guess which actor will play who.


I hope that after reading those excerpts, you are as excited as I am.

Long live the Gaiman and Pratchett marriage!

Terry Pratchett (left) and Neil Gaiman (right) toasting Good Omens

Fashion for Book Lovers: Spring – Summer bookshopping

23 March, 2011 - One Response

You don’t need any of these items to enjoy a good read, but they are perfect for the literary worm lifestyle and worth a look. Click on the images to surf to the sellers.

http://www.topshop.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?beginIndex=0&viewAllFlag=&catalogId=33057&storeId=12556&productId=2263738&langId=-1&sort_field=Relevance&categoryId=208522&parent_categoryId=203984&sort_field=Relevance&pageSize=20The white pages of that book might hurt your eyes when the sun shines as much as today; don’t forget your sunglasses!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set the adventure mood with this t-shirt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

But pack a sweatshirt just in case it gets chilly.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A rough and solid leather bag will help you carry your literary prey home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these  tailored, hand-painted wide-leg pants  are perfect for climbing ladders in cluttered bookshops  to reach those rare volumes; curl up later in a couch to read them  from cover to cover.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don these eco-friendly and super-comfy flats for long hours of book hunting.

Review: Everybody into the Pool, by Beth Lisick

22 March, 2011 - One Response

Truer than Pluto is a planet

Beth Lisick is a hottie hippie super-smart Frisco based stand-up comedian and poet. I saw her performing live during last summer’s Shakespeare & Co biannual literary festival where she presented Porchlight Storytelling Series. I don’t remember the stories, only that I left with a big silly smile that lasted until I fell asleep that night.

Everybody into the pool is just like that. Each short memoir is insightful, hilarious and open. Beth Lisick describes her Dad, ruling with an iron spreadsheet,

Dad presented  us with a typed agenda. Even at ages four, five and six, my brothers and I knew there was something odd about your dad handing you a  memo. We had long harbored a vague suspicion that he thought of us as his employees, and the itemized schedule was a disturbing development.

Her Mom, the loveliest woman in the planet,

Some people get criticized for saying whatever pops into their heads because their heads are full of darkness, sarcasm, and brutal truths. With my mom, it’s the opposite. Her world is full of neat people! Interesting places! Fun ideas! And she’s not afraid to let her little light shine. Irony, for her, was what she had to do with all those clothes in the basket over there, and jaded was a pretty, green Oriental stone.

Her immortal beauty tips:

This hair made perfect sense on me. If anyone cared, it announced that I was the kind of person who would commit any fashion crime that would make me fifty dollars richer.

She also likes to dress up as a banana to make ends meet instead of Starving for her Art.

Her job as a cyber columnist, where she had the same epiphany than I had at the Salon du Livre:

I can’t remember why I thought that a pseudonym was a good idea (something vague about anonymity), but I quickly discovered if you are nobody, and you are writing as a different nobody and on top of that you are writing for the Internet, it is really, really hard to get into shows free.

Her future husband, Eli:

His brand of dorkiness was like nothing I’d ever seen before, combining an admirable lack of self-consciousness with the showmanship of an enthusiastic, although substandard, theater student. And then later, when I found out that he was nearly legally blind without the thick horn-rimmed glasses that had belonged to his Grandfather Gus, that was it. I was smitten.

The neighborhood where she voluntarily purchases her home:

How bad was too bad? I had grown so accustomed to a certain level of chaos that the usual warning signs didn’t stand out to me. When I pulled my car around the corner to find the cops had blocked off the street, I thought, “Cool, this house is in a neighborhood where the cops will come!” When I saw that the corner store was a magnet for teenage boys all dressed in the same clothing with the same hairstyle, I thought, “This is doable because, statistically speaking, gang members mostly just kill other gang members.”

And, in the last memoir, her clumsy attempts at being a good mother for her newborn son. Which I’m not posting that here, because really, you should buy the book to read all those wonderful and gritty true paragraphs about baby-rearing for yourself.

My favorite piece was Nuns in Trouble. It starts with Beth working her ass off at a bakery shop (and enjoying it immensely) as she discovered that she is pregnant, tips off her college boyfriend and finds a really weird one-stand job to pay for her abortion. This topic would have been difficult for any author, but Lisick is a practical girl who doesn’t mind working for nuns that dress their employers as slutty cigarette girls to sell fancy Christmas trees.

As a bonus, here’s a video of Beth Lisick talking about cheating and being cheated on in relationships.

 

 

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