I got six rejection notices in October. I started three new stories, and one of them is about finished.
It was a good month.
In October I read:
Marina Warner’s Six Myths of Our Time – I picked it up at City Lights Books while visiting San Fransisco. It was an interesting read for a few reasons. There was a bit of discomfort that came from the author coming to just slightly different conclusions from an ostensibly similar worldview and theoretical background as me – the type of slight difference that somehow manages to circle around and become huge, as if we were operating on different theoretical spectrums. The book was originally a series of radio lectures for BBC radio in 1994, and the book is also interesting in demonstrating how rapidly Feminist Theory evolves and moves. Some of the points remain the same, but there’s also so much growth between now and 1994. The book was a bit difficult to read because so much of the discussion centered around England and English society (in the 1990s) and I just didn’t have the background for it. I’m glad I read it, in any case.
She throughout makes small arguments about dinosaurs on her way to larger points, such as popular dinosaurs and depictions of dinosaurs being reflections of the sociopolitical landscape. I wish she’d spent more time on those points.
Mary Renault’s The King Must Die – I love historical fiction but am also very picky about it, and the King Must Die was largely in keeping with what I want out of the genre. Everything seemed very well researched. I wasn’t a huge fan of the early sections, but once Theseus gets to Minos the book is impossible to put down. I also appreciated Renault’s section at the back of the book, where she explains how she tried to boil myth down to the history it might once have been. There’s a lot of care and attention to detail in the book. Thalestris was my favorite character, which was a foolish mistake to make, as it was sort of obvious what would happen to her. She’s just that kind of woman character, where you know she’s too big for the story at hand and won’t make it to the end.
I started XO Orpheus, which I also picked up in San Fransisco. I’m about a third of the way through it so far. It’s such a well put together anthology. There’s only been two or three pieces that I wasn’t thrilled with, and even those weren’t bad, they just weren’t to my tastes. My favorite stories so far have been “Birdsong from the Radio” by Elizabeth McCracken, “Devourings” by Aimee Bender (digging the cannibalism stories this month (Painted Hounds also has cannibalism)), and “Sawdust” by Edward Carey.
I also started watching Twin Peaks, which has been a delight so far. I really appreciate that everyone just accepts Cooper’s visions and dreams as legitimate. There hasn’t really been a character so far who writes that stuff off. I think if the show was made today most of the cast would be dismissive of Cooper’s investigative process, and write him off as crazy, and a lot of the show would center around Cooper just trying to get people to listen to him. So its nice that the show is maybe a product of its time, or just that the show took more risks (which seems more likely).