I saw Batman Begins over the weekend–my official review will appear on Fungible Convictions in a day or two, but in three words: I liked it.
Be sure to check out FC founder Andy Whitacre’s essay on modern lit magazines–it’s a good read.
More progress made on The Shiver of the Gate this weekend. I also started a short story, featuring some of the same characters as SOTG but set in 1991; since my original idea was to write a book of short stories featuring these characters, I thought this might be a good way to help flesh them out in my head. Titled “The Jetty,” the story is set in Plymouth, Mass., not too far from where I grew up. The idea for it stemmed from some research I did on the Plymouth jetty when I was working as a reporter for the Old Colony Memorial years ago.
I read Patrick McCabe’s The Butcher Boy over the weekend, another book assigned for my class on adapting novels into films. I have to say, though, I’m a little tired of these books narrated by depressing crazy people. Especially when they’re first-person and stream-of-consciousness. 200 pages of that is very wearying. I’m not a fan of long-form first-person narration as it is, and when you add the S.O.C. in, I tend to have a difficult time paying attention.
Was it a good novel? I suppose it is…I’m not inclined to doubt its artistic merit. But the ordeal of reading it reminded me that I am, unquestionably, a writer who tries to entertain (for lack of a better term) as well as create a work of art. This is not the goal of all authors, including (perhaps especially) some of the best. I admire that–truly. But I don’t often find myself seeking out that sort of writer. And I don’t believe such a style is necessary for truly great writing (the “eat your greens” conception of literary appreciation). It’s simply one option among many.