Posts Tagged ‘ali smith’

There But For The

July 13, 2011

In an essay I wrote for Pretty Queer over here a little while ago, I accused my friend Red of hating fun, when the reality is actually that I am the one who hates fun. The thing I like best in movies is when they are kind of sadistic; I just watched this movie Insidious and except for the demon in blackface, I was like “this tale of a young man being tortured by demons just warms the cockles of my dead heart.” And the writer I always come back to, Kathy Acker, is confrontational as hell. I think it’s funny and exciting how confrontational she is, without taking away from how intense she is. It’s like a combination of bluntness and a different kind of bluntness. Even with music, most of the time when I listen to stuff other people like I’m like “why isn’t anyone shrieking.”

That might be an overstatement.

My point is just, I can’t figure out why I like Ali Smith. I mean, I know why I like her, but I have no idea where she fits into the body of stuff that I like, because her stuff is so relentlessly charming. It’s an intellectually rigorous kind of charming- she definitely confronts serious things, but it’s always in the context of puns and witticisms and, like, prose that exults in the joy of being prose, or whatever.

So like, this book was great. It didn’t have the melancholy that I remember characterizing her last novel, The Accidental, which means it doesn’t feel to me like it’s got the weight of that last one, which’ll go down as one of her major works. Did it win an award? I think it probably did. I forget. Or was nominated for one.

Anyway, I guess all I’m trying to say here is that Ali Smith is great and I really enjoy reading her and maybe somebody else can tell me why because I don’t have anything smart to say about her except the Joyce thing but honestly all you have to do is even allude to Joyce and lots of people will think you’re smart.


There But For The

July 7, 2011

“Animals, Mark, have no use for nostalgia, Aunt Kenna says. It is not a tool for survival, my darling.

But Mark has seen the pug, on a walk, pick up a stone in its mouth and carry it for a little of the walk before putting it down, and then on the way back home again stop to find the same stone and pick it up to carry it some of the way back.”


There But For The

July 7, 2011

New Ali Smith! I don’t know what to say about Ali Smith except that the feeling I get in my belly when I read her is the same “I’m really smart and I’m fucking with you because I like you” feeling that I get from James Joyce. I am halfway through this and it’s half Joyce, half a stage play set at a dinner party, and half some other stuff.


July 5, 2011

I have an ARC of the new Chuck Palahniuk book and I’m trying so, so hard to care, but I can’t make myself! I used to find him so interesting, like, at least as much as a cultural phenomenon as a writer, but I feel like in his last three novels he’s gotten his style ground down to such a fine, sharp, codified thing, that I can’t muster any feeling at all. Not even ennui or boredom! Like I picked it up and the first couple paragraphs were textbook plastic Palahniuk that made me put it down and want to hide it. I guess I will read it but it’s hard to make myself when there are so many other things that I’d rather know about. Like Ali Smith has a new book! How much more interesting is Ali Smith! Or I could even re-read Rant, which was when Chuck peaked, as far as I’m concerned.

And I am concerned pretty far, actually.