Thursday, March 31, 2011

Internet Lovelies

I saw my first jar of Nutella in the bread aisle one night at maybe 2:15 AM. It looked like something Ikea would sell. Its starkly ordinary placement next to the peanut butter implied that I had either bypassed it my entire life, or I had spent enough time in the store that I had somehow “unlocked” a secret level of creamy sandwich spreads that would release themselves to me through this portal I had discovered. I didn’t know how I was going to use it, but I knew I had to buy it. In the car I ate my usual two vanilla-chocolate iced doughnuts, then tried the Nutella, sort of hoping I wouldn’t like how it tasted, but going back for several more finger-fulls before I parked in my driveway. I put the jar on the kitchen table, dipped a few Oreos in it, and went to my living room to watch TV. My thoughts seemed to be dominated by what the Nutella would taste like sandwiched between 2 Wheat Thins. I pictured myself “trimming” the .8” Nutella overflow perimeter with my tongue, then licking some tiny squares of salt off the top of the crackers before putting the entire sandwich in my mouth. I brought the Wheat Thins to the couch and ate all the Nutella in maybe 40 minutes.
Megan Boyle, Link

On Cary Fukunaga's Jane Eyre adaptation, which I won't be able to see until April, because it doesn't play in Roanoke until April, because apparently a movie about a CGI Easter bunny that shits jelly beans is far more important:
Like the original, his Jane Eyre is a love story, as fiercely intelligent as it is passionate. He uncovers what the ­bodice rippers miss: that these lovers are equals and, as such, equally deeply felt aspects of their creator.
Karen Durbin, Link

My first impression, upon seeing so many new books in one place, is to dive into them headfirst, like Scrooge McDuck into his vault of gold bullions.
Mark Medley, Link

If I had a Scrooge McDuck-esque vault, I would want it filled with vintage paperback copies of sci-fi novels from the 60s and 70s. And...well, probably Nutella.

OOH. And college-ruled notebook paper.

I always feel like I am on the outside looking in. I want to be on the inside of something, anything. I worry I always feel this way. I feel so awkward all the time. The constant conversation in my head is deafening. I don’t know how to be around people. I don’t know how to be alone. I don’t know how to balance confidence with humility. I don’t know how to be proud of things I’ve done without making the wrong impression. It’s all bravado. Don’t you see that? I do not know how to answer the question, “When are you coming home?” I don’t know how to ask the question, “How long will you wait?” or maybe I am afraid to hear the answer. I wish there was a timetable for when it really gets better. If there was an endpoint, it would be easier to reach for. I don’t know how to say, “I need you.” I miss you.
Roxane Gay, Link

there are two poles in the debate over the "use" or "value" of litera­ture. One pole is utilitarian or instrumental: the idea that literature is good for you because it produces beneficial societal effects: better citi­zens, for example, or more ethically attuned reasoners. The other pole might be characterized as ecstatic, affective, or mystical: the idea that literature is a pleasurable jolt to the system, a source of powerful feeling that—rather like Judge Potter Stewart's famous pronouncement about pornography—is unmistakable even if undefinable. (For Stewart's "I know it when I see it," we could substitute "I know it when I read it / hear it.") Emily Dickinson's "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry" is perhaps the best-known expression of this view. It's worth quoting the longer passage from which this sentence is excerpted, since it makes the point even more vividly:

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry. These are the only ways I know it. Is there any other way?
Excerpt from The Use And Abuse of Literature by Marjorie Garber, Link

There are 3 types of boys in this world: (1) boys who sack up and dance with girls, (2) boys who awkwardly stand by the punch, tending to their gelled hair, and (3) boys who stand behind the punch, halfway inside the janitor’s closet. I’ll let you guess who I was, and inextricably, still am. I never went to a dance again. On prom night, years later, I nursed a bag of Cheetos “upstairs” watching MTV Headbangers Ball, a little too defeated to air-drum and mouth “fuck this world” with my orange powdered mouth, as that silent phrase held my brain with the thin dark fingers of blood vessels pulsing from a nearby heart.
Jimmy Chen, Link

But because we grew up surrounded by big dramatic story arcs in books and movies, we think our lives are supposed to be filled with huge ups and downs! So people pretend there is drama where there is none.
Quote and graph by Kurt Vonnegut, Link


  1. I... wish I couldn't identify so well with the quotations from Roxane Gay and Jimmy Chen...

    And since you shared them, I'm guessing you feel the same way! Must have been an excess of awkward in that August 22nd, 1985 air.

    (Woops, looks like I forgot my login information.)

  2. There must have been! Awkward is my first, middle, and last name.