Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Deranged Woman

I finished reading The Time Traveler's Wife and have embarked on P D James' The Children of Men.

"It's a pretty good novel," Dave said, "but it's uneven."

It was a bit hard to get into, at first, but I blamed that on a stiff 1st person narrator and the small, blurry type. (It's not me, right?) Once the novel slipped into alternating 3rd person with 1st person, I was hooked. And I wondered by James bothered with the 1st person at all--her POV character is annoying, one of those "can't feel, can't be involved" middle aged divorced professor men who suffers not only because, when she was 18 months old, he ran over his daughter and killed her, but because he couldn't feel the appropriate grief over the accident, her death, his wife's anger and blame--only horror over what he'd done. In short, it's hard for me to like this guy, and he's a pompous ass on the page.

I like reading about him, not with him.

Right now, I should be reading what I've assigned for tomorrow--three short stories, all of them under 5 pages--Chopin's "Story of an Hour," Atwood's "Happy Endings" (a personal all time favorite), and the ubiquitous Kincaid offering, "Girl." A chapter on "Witnessing" in Adonizzio's and Laux's The Poet's Companion.

Just looked at my syllabus and realized that, shit, I went over the wrong chapter in workshop yesterday. I blithely discussed the chapter I assigned them to read for tomorrow, "The Shadow." None of them called me on it.

I hate it when I discover that I've shuffled reality, after the fact. It makes me feel like a ditzy mess. No. It makes me realize that I'm a ditzy mess.

In the same vein, I also forgot to bring my own second text with me to class yesterday. And I made this wildly inappropriate comment: "Wow, what a justification for having crabs--'my genitals have become a playground.'"

Students tell me that they talk about me in other English classes. That they've started a list of things that I say. That, for me, it's all about sex.

Huh. For such a "sexy" ditz gal, I'm the biggest prude I know. The last time I ranked "having sex" above "doing the dishes" or "grading a set of essays" was . . . I don't remember. I'm like one of the characters in James' novel, who, hopeless and barren, futureless, give up sex as a fruitless activity.

What I really like is that look of open-mouthed, glassy-eyed shock I get when I say things that are supposed to remain silent. I'm Pandora, ripping the lid off the box. I expose. Streak. I'm wrong. "Sometimes you're so wrong," said one of my friendly helpful friends, "and I just want to be able to tell you that." Out of control. Inappropriate--I hate that word, and yet aspire to it. Sometimes my goal is total squirming, hooting embarrassment. Deranging.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

being a shock jock with occassional continuity lapses, keeps 'em guessing, and wakes 'em up. nice technique.

is sexual lassitude prudery?