Wednesday, December 13, 2006

darlin', you give literature a bad name

As I said in an earlier post, we moved out here right around this time last year, when northern California was under water. Our son's new school opened a week later than it was supposed to after Christmas break (or whatever it's called out here - Religiously Neutral Holiday Vacation?) because of flooding and the subsequent Hazmat removal of simultaneously-discovered asbestos in the classrooms. The local library was another casualty of the floods, and since the town was already in the thick of a budget crisis and cutbacks to "non-essential" departments like the library, the beautiful old historic building was apparently really foundering. So, later in the year local writer Anne Lamott and a friend about whom she writes frequently, the amazing storyteller Neshama Franklin, held a fundraiser. (It was a cool thing to do, and I like A.L.'s writing. So don't think that I really think she gives literature a bad name, okay? I just think my choice of title is clever. Of course it won't be to those of you who weren't hair band fans in the 80's, but I'll just have to take my chances.) Though I tire more easily than I used to of having to endure Lamott's ideological rants in order to read her work, there's still something magnetic about both her prose and her person. For one thing, she's got the dry wit thing down pat. For another, she knows her audience and plays to them with flawless timing. So I suppose the onus is on me to understand that I'm likely to get less literary inspiration and more fawning over Ted Kennedy than I'd like when I read her work or attend her readings. And I'm not trying to pick on Lamott, by the way. My aversion to ideological ranting applies to writers and entertainers no matter what their political stripe. If you can protest in a way that brings something new to the intellectual table, I'm all eyes and ears. But just repeating your hatred for George W. Bush (or John Kerry, or Hillary) in the same way over and over again makes me want to - as Anne Lamott might say - stick a pencil in my neck (no matter how funny some of your other lines are). Now, Jon Bon Jovi bypasses this political proselytization tendency nicely, as my husband and I discovered during his Have a Nice Day tour back in February. There were no politics at the HP Pavilion that night - just tens of thousands of thirty-something rockers with their rocker children (and one enterprising guy in the lobby wearing an "I Love Hot Moms" t-shirt). I didn't even know JBJ was a card-carrying member of the Vast Left Wing Conspiracy until I saw a clip of his Oprah spot - and then again on Larry King. Which is fine - have at it when you're on the talk shows. Just remember that when I purchase tickets to your concert, I'm not looking to you for your political views. I'm looking to you to ROCK. ME. OUT. Which he did. And nicely, I might add.


  1. Lorelei3:22 PM

    I do love Anne Lamott. For the record. But more than that, I love the person who wrote the following Ode...circa 1999:

    Ode to a Fruitcake
    O hard and thick
    And sticky-gooey
    By now you've earned
    The nickname "Louie"
    I realize that by mistake
    It doesn't sound like
    I'm describing fruitcake
    At any rate, I hate fruitcake
    It makes my teeth
    And belly ache
    So now I'll end this ghastly ode,
    And get back to waterproofing my toad.

    Can anyone guess the author?

  2. Lorelei10:57 AM

    Nobody is going to venture a guess? Anyone heard of Shel Silverstein?

    You have? Well that's good, but he didn't write it. It does remind me of his wacky style.

    Hmmmm...who else do we know that is brilliant and goofy? Gorgeous and self-deprecating?

    Come on, you know this one...

  3. I don't know, but whoever penned that brilliant little ode has got SOME talent.

  4. Marla3:47 PM

    I feel like I'm butting in whenever I comment since this feels like a dialogue between two friends who've known each other forever...but here I am again--new girl on the block-- anyway :)

    Wow. Anne LaMott and Bon Jovi in the same post. And I thought I had some weird combos in my blogging days (C.S. Lewis and Seinfeld, etc.). I read Traveling Mercies and really liked it, but when I saw LaMott perform a same sex marriage (she was the "minister") on a video about her (Bird by Bird documentary), well...need I say more? I just don't get how she reconciles that with the Biblical definition of marriage. And I absolutely hate it when people twist Scripture to fit the ideologies that make them "feel good." That totally negates the concept of objective truth. Okay, sorry to rant, but I have sort of a love-hate thing going on with LaMott, only my emotions about her aren't really that strong. Just wish she'd be consistent in her faith--I know she claims Jesus as her Savior but I wonder when/if she's going to let him be Lord?

    And now that I've scared all 98 of your other readers (or their multiple personalities) away, I finally have your blog all to plan is working! Muhahahah ;)

  5. I hear ya, sista. Oh, and feel free to scare readers away, but please PLEASE don't scare away the multiple personalities. I'm counting on them for site traffic.