I bought a new bookshelf…

I’m just over a week shy of 9 months here in Brooklyn. June 1st will be the 10th anniversary of the beginning of my project, with only 3 more months after that to officially finish it out, an occasion I’ll commemorate with my 18th tattoo. (Another fun fact: December 1st will mark the longest amount of time I’ve lived in one place since I left Kansas.)

So I bought a bookshelf.

Over the years, I’ve stored my books in a variety of ways. In Charlotte, there was the makeshift shelving of a recently graduated male:


In Philly, my tower grew vertically if not aesthetically (you’ll notice I’m still rocking a few VHS to go with my totally bitching VHS/DVD combo TV):

Entertainment Library

In later years, the shelving varied but I thankfully moved on from the milk crate stylings.

Book Shelf

Many of the books that began this journey with me are no longer in my possession, lost either to financial/practical needs or borrowed and never returned. As I progressed through my decade on the road, I grew reluctant to buy new books. Besides for the cost, they were simply more things to pack up and move each and every year. It seemed like such a waste when public libraries were just as convenient.

That is, until this year. Somehow, despite using the Brooklyn library for most of my reading needs, I’ve managed to add more than a dozen books to my collection, which for the past few years had been steady or shrinking. That is no longer the case.

My goal for the better part of my project was to get all of my earthly possessions down to 2 boxes and a suitcase. I never quite made it there as, at my leanest, I still required 3 boxes, 1 suitcase and 1 shoulder bag to accommodate my belongings. An admirable go of it, at least.

Living with less has always been more a product of necessity than some kind of spiritual mantra. Why bog down my existence with stuff if it was only going to make my already difficult life even harder?

In the process of trying to streamline my life, I’ve also gotten a little lazier about unpacking. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t have at least one cardboard box full of shit serving double duty as a table or nightstand. It just made sense: One less piece of furniture to buy/find and one less box to pack when I moved again.

Which brings me to the present and my newest bookshelf.

It’s slowly been sinking in that I’m not moving this year. Barring unforeseen circumstances, I plan on re-upping my lease for the first time ever and sticking through a second year. Other than perhaps lugging it across the hall to a bigger bedroom, my stuff is staying put.

So I bought a bookshelf, put it together and placed it where my last unpacked box had been sitting.

I haven’t suddenly become a spendthrift. Everything I own still fits inside a bedroom that’s barely 9’x9′. I like the minimal life. But everything I own is also out of boxes, no longer staged for a quick move. I’m gradually acclimating to the idea that I will still be here for a second autumn, winter, spring, summer…

Unless, of course, I have a panic attack in the next 3 months and move to Moscow.

Nah, that probably won’t happen.

The next step: Get some art on my walls.

I’m here.
I’m settled.
I’m staying?

Peggy Olson Queen

This May: Spread The Love

Art is nourished by criticism. An honest and educated appraisal of a work’s strengths and weaknesses helps us better appreciate art, both as creators and consumers. I say this up front so it is clear that what I am about to propose is not attacking art criticism or art critics. It is a worthy profession, an important one in the right hands, even a noble endeavor for a select few.

Criticism, though, is becoming angrier and duller. As the adage goes, everyone is a critic, and this has never been more true than in the Internet Age. This wondrous invention that allows us to experience the world from the comfort of our bedrooms is filling up with poison, and we’re all responsible for it.

We use Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, blogs, forums, and innumerable websites to spout off on all manner of experiences, and with inevitable frequency, we are voicing displeasure. We can’t simply click past, our disapproval must be known. We feel compelled to inform the creator that they have failed and then troll the fan base. The world cannot be allowed to spin another minute without it being known that this random thing that you, of your own volition, experienced did not live up to your satisfaction.

So here is my proposal:

For the month of May, let us refrain from negative criticisms.
Instead, let’s focus on the positive and ‘Spread the love’.

This will not be easy, I know.

For all of May, refrain from criticizing Youtube videos, skip the Facebook bashing, don’t tweet about a movie you loathed (or its stars) and let your disdain for a TV show subside. Don’t even hit the thumbs down button on Stumbleupon. Just move on. Criticism is not all bad, but maybe, just maybe, we’ve become so obsessed with what we hate that we’re losing sight of what we love. So, for 31 short days, why not refocus our energy on enjoying art?

Suggestions for things to do as an alternative to criticizing:

1. Share a favorite work of art with a friend or stranger.

2. Read positive reviews of art you’ve never experienced and consume it.

3. Write a positive review of something you loved.

4. Request art recommendations from friends.

5. Close your browser and go outside; see a live band or go to a movie theater, or get cozy in a chair at your local bookstore and read two to three chapters.

6. Watch porn.

Honestly, it doesn’t matter, just expend the energy some other way. Be cool.


I know it will be a struggle for most people, it will be for me, too. But I think we need a hiatus from our jobs as the world’s critics. It’s not like it pays well.

Before I’m accused of squashing Free Speech or I’m dismissed as a ‘Love Is All You Need’ hippie, let me reiterate that I’m not proposing the abolishment of all negativity. This is a finite challenge I’m proposing for all of us, like a New Years Resolution or Lent, except instead of trying to lose weight or fasting for spiritual purposes, we agree to refrain from spewing hatred for one month. And then, in June, we can return to our regularly scheduled vitriol.

I assure you, the world will not stop spinning if you delay telling Dave Matthews fans how much he sucks, nor will a new ice age befall us if the failings of the new Spider-man movie aren’t thoroughly documented on your blog. Terrible art exists and it deserves to be called out for its shortcomings, but for the month of May we can ignore it in order to celebrate the truly great art.

To address some other possible concerns:

1. This challenge is about art. Politics and science require constant scrutiny. Which is not to suggest that art is lesser than politics or science – not by any means – only that art’s impact on the world isn’t as immediate or dire.

2. If you make your living as an art critic, it might not be feasible for you to only write positive reviews. Then again, maybe your editor would be on board if you devoted May exclusively to spotlighting your favorite works. This should be easy for non-professional critics.

3. Even if you’re not someone who regularly discusses art, use this month to spread the word on what you like. You may just introduce someone to their new favorite band, book or show.

4. If you enjoy the idea, don’t feel like you have to limit yourself. Spread the love to other realms of your life.

5. If you think this is an insipid, meaningless gesture, maybe you’re right. But why not give it a try for a month anyway, what could it hurt?

Don’t think of it as giving up criticism. Think of it as a month’s vacation from things you don’t like. So this May, practice the fine art of saying something nice. You might even grow to like it.

Thumper Quote

If you like this idea and plan on participating, please share this post and use #SpreadTheLove to keep it trending. What could one month of positivity bring about?

Never Share Your Love; or The Dangers of a Mixtape

Cassette Tape

One of my favorite things in the world is creating a music mix. Call it a mixtape (I do), a mixed CD, a playlist, whatever, the name doesn’t matter, it’s the act that matters. The curation of a good mix is an art form, but it’s an act of love, too.

Now, I don’t mean an act of love in the sense that making a mixtape means you love the person you’re making it for (though that’s usually the case). I mean that taking the time to compile, organize and craft a mix is the act of loving music, perhaps even to a fanatical, obsessive level.

I’ve made mixes for girlfriends, crushes, friends, siblings, and even just mixes for myself when I’m in a particular mood and need a pick-me-up (the process of creating the mix can do the trick). The common thread in these mixes is my love of the music. Sometimes the songs I choose are meant to be representative of a period in my or the listener’s life. Sometimes it’s about creating a timeless mix. A good mix, besides flowing from one song to the next, can often tell a story, maybe even with a moral.

I love mixtapes, but boy are they dangerous.

When you share a song with someone, you share a part of yourself. No, you didn’t write it, but we all have a song (or movie, or book) that resonates with us so deeply that it feels like an organ inside us. To share it with someone is to open yourself up and say, “This is me.”

We all know the crushing disappointment of sharing that part of ourselves with someone and them saying, “Meh. It’s okay.” For many of us, the art we love is so much a part of our identity that any rejection (or indifference) feels personal. But, I tell you, there’s a far greater danger inherent in the mixtape.

When you enter into a relationship with someone, you share the things you love. There is intimacy in that, even when that just means having “your place” for slices of pizza or a favorite dive bar. A relationship is about intertwining oneself with another, a binding that ties your tastes together. Your girlfriend starts listening to electronica because you blast it on your happy days, or your boyfriend starts watching Paul Thomas Anderson films because you said he’s the greatest living director.

For a perfect moment in time, the things you love are loved by the person you love, and you achieve the Eros Singularity.

And then you break-up.

For the first month or two, everything reminds you of your ex, no matter what it is. The smell of bacon, the way the leaves crunch underfoot, the nattering sounds of co-workers discussing The Voice. Somehow, every road leads back to the one now gone.

With time, though, you heal, and those connections fall away until you can go back to living a normal life without the constant reminder of heartbreak.

The problem, though, is while the implicit connections are no longer there, the explicit ones still exist. You might be able to go downtown without thinking about him, but getting a slice of pepperoni pie at Luigi’s is out of the question. And it doesn’t matter if Mike the Bartender is loose with the pour, you can’t sit on that stool without her sitting next to you.

These connections are never deeper than with shared art. The two of you had a song, a favorite movie, a novel that you read together and had lengthy discussions about deep into the night.

Those stinging associations are the price of doing business. Losing them is yet another loss in the process of heartbreak, but you lived without them B.E. (Before Ex) and you’ll live without them now.

No, the true danger comes with sharing the art you loved before you met the future/former significant other. Those are the songs, movies and books that were a part of you when that other fell in love with you. It’s part of what they liked about you, because you had internalized that art as part of your personality. When you break-up, they get to take that with them, leaving behind a scar. It’s a raw wound, and unlike Luigi’s or the oeuvre of P.T. Anderson, you can’t avoid touching it because it’s still a part of you.

This is why you should never share everything that you love. Sure, this girl is the love of your life now, and you want her to know everything about you, but don’t be a fool. You’re 24 and you’re going to date other people. You got engaged? That’s great, but at one point so were 100% of the people who are now divorced (give or take Las Vegas).

The relationship ends, and suddenly everything that once defined you is ripped in half.

Never share all your love. I love the music of Ryan Adams and have had at least one song of his hold special meaning for every ex I’ve ever had. But not “Come Pick Me Up.” That’s my song, no one gets to touch it.* It’ll never be associated with just one woman (even if the lyrics makes me think of one or two), and I will never be unable to listen to it because of a painful connection.

The same goes for Radiohead’s entire catalog. I’ve never once dated a girl who loved Radiohead like I love Radiohead (which probably explains why none of my relationships have lasted). They might have been fans, or grown to like them because of me, but there isn’t a single song or album by the band that makes me think of an ex. I never have to worry about a startlingly wave of sad memories when I listen to my favorite band.

There’s so much art out there that I love, a lot of which I want to share with romantic partners, even when I acknowledge the realistic odds that things won’t work out. That is, as I said, the price of being in love.

But a person should hold onto something that is all theirs. Autonomy requires it. Love is a ‘many splendored thing’ and all that horseshit, but the love of art is the purest form that exists. Why taint that?

*Obviously it’s a lot of people’s song. But in relation to my personal love life, it’s mine.

Why You Should Watch ‘The Great Gatsby’ on Opening Weekend

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

The Great Gatsby Movie Poster

On May 10th, Baz Luhrmann’s adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby (in 3D) will release in theaters.

It promises to be many things, though perhaps a spectacle above all else. Every one of the trailers has put the emphasis on the visual and stylistic beauty of the film, which is no surprise coming from the director of William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet, Moulin Rouge and Strictly Ballroom. Each of those films has their critics and champions, but no one would ever claim that Luhrmann fails in his visuals. The most common critique of his films is that he is all flash, no depth.

Many of the naysayers who are already sharpening their axes in order to chop down Luhrmann’s version of Gatsby are starting from there: They say the trailers are clearly showing a movie that’s all glitz and glamour, ironically missing Fitzgerald’s criticism of the dangerously shallow excess of the 1920s and, particularly, the moneyed class. How can this film be any good if it doesn’t get the fundamental message of the book?

Well, let me blow your minds for a second and argue that The Great Gatsby‘s defining theme is not the fatal excess of the rich. Now, before you wannabe English Lit professors have an aneurysm, let me say that, yes, that is a message in the book. It’s one of the messages, but it is not the central one.

Far too often, with our vantage point of history, we tend to adopt an interpretation of art that the artist never intended. Knowing that the Crash of 1929 was just around the corner (well, 7 years around the corner from the setting of the book), it’s easy for us, in hindsight, to read the book as a prophecy of the fleeting nature of wealth. However, Fitzgerald wrote the book between 1923 and 1924 and published it in 1925, well before the Great Depression. Because the novel, and Fitzgerald’s own personal arc of history, mirrors the boom and bust of the 20s/30s, it feels all too natural to view the book through that lens, but it’s an optical illusion.

So, if wealth’s fragility is not the defining theme of the novel, what is?

Our inability to escape the past. Throughout the novel, references to time come up again and again. In “The Authorized Text” edition (if you own a copy, odds are good this is the one you have), Matthew J. Bruccoli explains that in the novel, Fitzgerald uses “some 450 time-words, including 87 appearances of time.“¹ Every single one of the characters in the book is trying to either re-invent themselves or escape their past in some form. Gatsby is obvious, but you also have Tom and Daisy who have run from Chicago after a car crash shed light on one of Tom’s many affairs, and then there’s Jordan Baker, the golfer who was accused of cheating but managed to weasel her way out of it. Even Nick, the narrator, is trying to escape his life back home, reinventing himself as a bonds dealer in the mythical East.

(Minor characters are just as trapped: When Wilson finally gets up his nerve to force his wife Myrtle to leave New York, it leads to the climatic tragedy of the novel, fate maintaining a kind of stasis.)

There are other major themes in the book (the shallowness of excess being one of them), but Fitzgerald’s focus is most definitely on identity and its rigidity. The author was plagued by a desire to reinvent himself, and eventually did, transforming from an Irish Catholic in a Midwest middle class family into a member of the Protestant First Class. But just like his characters, that transformation would prove false and, ultimately, fatal.

What does this have to do with Luhrmann’s seemingly all-flash movie interpretation?

What the kneejerk critics don’t seem to get is that the flash is absolutely vital to the story. The dreadfully dull Robert Redford and Mia Farrow adaptation reveals what happens when you try to make a version of this book and strip it of all its youth and excitement. We’re talking about a book that pretty much defined the Jazz Age, the rebellious, youth-fed phenomenon that set the pattern for Rock n’ Roll, Disco, Punk, Rap, Grunge and every other youth movement since. As Fitzgerald famously said, he was writing “for the youth of his own generation.”

Yes, The Great Gatsby is a great work of American Literature and it deserves its place in the pantheon, but that doesn’t mean it exists in a museum. It’s a book of folly and youthful indulgence. Let us not forget, the narrator turns 30 during the events of the novel, and Gatsby is only a little older. The author was 28 when it was published.

f scott fitzgerald

Okay, fine, maybe the movie will be good, but why should I see it this weekend?

I’m so glad you asked.

Have you read this? Hollywood will always look for the easiest, cheapest and fastest way to churn out a sure-fire hit (or, if it’s cheap enough, a sure-fire meh). I’m very happy that The Avengers was the huge success that it was, because while it was a summertime popcorn flick, it was well-acted, well-written, and, most importantly, well-directed. I’d rather it was Joss Whedon ruling the summer movie roost than Michael Bay.

Still, the success of summer tent-pole movies is a given, and has been since Jaws. The zeitgeist when it comes to summer movies won’t change all that much, give or take a smart Inception-type blockbuster. Some years the superhero/giant robot/alien attack movies will be good, some years they won’t. That’s just the way the summer works.

Hollywood really only pays attention when a true anomaly breaks through. What could be more anomalous than a hyper-stylized (3D even) period piece based on a classic novel that dispenses with notions of redemptive, everlasting love? A movie like that becoming a huge success throws a wrench in the system. Computer programs can’t predict that sort of thing.

Now, I’m not naive. I realize that if Gatsby is a huge success, it won’t be because of it’s dark themes or classical literature pedigree. It’ll be because of it’s flashy trailers and soundtrack featuring Jay-z and Beyonce and Fergie. Well, good! I can’t think of anything more fitting than slipping a work of literature into the mass consciousness via the Trojan Horse of flash, spectacle and Pop music.

I don’t know about you, but I sure like the idea of a movie producer calling in his lackey and saying, “How can we get in on this great literature trend?”

The only way, though, that such a bizarre reality can come to be is if The Great Gatsby is an out-the-gate success. I mean, a huge success. Again, I’m not naive enough to believe that this film will open to Iron Man 3 numbers, but it doesn’t have to. If Gatsby breaks the $50 million mark in its opening weekend (a feat that wouldn’t even put it in the top 100 of all-time opening weekend records), that would be spectacular (it’s projected to hit in the mid to high $30 mils) and also a huge flag for studio execs.

“You mean, we can make character- and story-based movies that actually sell? Who knew?”

Look, I know there are some people who have already decided this movie is going to suck. Maybe you hated the previews, or you’ve hated everything Luhrmann’s ever done, or you just hate anything that’s popular. Well, go see the movie this weekend anyway. I mean, if you want to be able to intelligently criticize the thing, you’ll have to see it, eventually. Might as well get it over with as soon as possible so you don’t sound like a pretentious hipster-doofus for the next few weeks. And then you can go back to listening to your vinyl.

I am fully optimistic that Luhrmann gets the book and Fitzgerald and will produce a film that is not only true to the spirit of the novel, but the spirit of the age, both the 1920s and the 2010s.

But even if the movie ends up disappointing, I’d rather Hollywood try its hand at interesting, experimental adaptations of intelligent source material than yet another movie about a toy. So I’ll be there at the midnight showing Friday morning.

I hope you’ll join me.


1 Fitzgerald, F. S. (2003). The Great Gatsby. New York: Simon & Schuster Inc.

An Alternate Query Letter For My Novel (Should All The Others Get Rejected)

Dear Mr. or Ms. Editor,

Sorry. I know it’s bad form to start out with an apology, but I must admit some mistakes I made in the process of writing my novel.

My novel does not have any zombies in it. This was my first mistake, I realized months too late. The living dead are metaphors for many things, and my novel is sadly lacking in this regard. There are no vampires, either, for the record, which is another mistake, but a much less egregious one. Vampires are really only a metaphor for one thing: sex.

There is sex in my novel, but mostly it’s just for the purpose of procreation. That was my third mistake, if you are keeping track. There should be much more sex. All kinds of sex. Somebody should have woken up some morning next to a stranger and stumbled through this unknown apartment, being reminded of the previous night’s activities by items strewn about. “Oh God, the stuffed penguin! I’ll never think of Teddy Roosevelt in the same way.”

That has potential. Alas.

There is a death in my novel. I do not consider this a mistake. Just a choice. We should not be judged so harshly for every little choice we make. This is life and we’re all just making it up as we go. We all have regrets. You do. Lord knows I have mine. There was this girl, once… but she has very little to do with my novel.

The characters in my novel are writers and atheists, which is probably another mistake, because people want to read about characters like themselves, and there aren’t that many atheists in the world. Or maybe there are more than we think. Maybe the atheists are just afraid to speak up. Maybe the president is secretly an atheist, but he knows this country would never vote for a nonbeliever. Who does an atheist talk to in his dark night of the soul? The country wants to know that in moments of doubt, the president does the same thing we all do: Guess.

I bet the president has regrets, too.

My novel also involves a very dysfunctional family. I’m supposed to talk about my credentials and why I’m the only person who could have written this novel. Well, we all have dysfunctional families. Yours was dysfunctional too, even if you don’t know it. (I hope I’m not being too presumptuous.) My family was dysfunctional. Boy howdy, were we dysfunctional. I don’t want to go into all that here because it’s kind of personal, but trust me. Life is my credentials.

I also have a degree in Creative Writing, but don’t hold that against me. Sorry, bad joke.

I hope you will look past all my mistakes and request to read my novel. It’s 75,000 words and explores a lot of big questions. The Big Questions. But there are no zombies. Again, sorry.



Teen Lit and Writing for Adults

“When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.”

I am so tragically unhip.  This isn’t exactly a newsflash, but it’s weeks like this that I see just how out of step I am with everyone I know.

It is possible that the cave you live in is not a wifi hotspot (there’s a homeless guy for that), in which case you might not have heard that this week, teen literature sensation The Hunger Games is appearing in movie theaters as the true first blockbuster of the year (sorry Tim Riggins).

I eloquently posted the following on my Facebook (something that’s surely totally passé, only further proving how out of touch I am):

As someone who has never read a single Harry Potter, Twilight, Hunger Games or anything that could remotely be called ‘teen lit’ since I was, you know, a teen (and barely then, either), I must say this looks like the most interesting of the spate. It’s sci-fi instead of fantasy, and the female protagonist seems like a positive role model for girls, instead of that limpid pool of twatification that is Bella.

I could probably be talked into seeing this.

Of course, the universal response to this post was, “You should read the books!  LOLOMGSPLUGE!”  Or something like that.

Though I have very little experience with teen lit, I have been led to understand that the genre has grown considerably in recent years and there are genuine works of merit within it (the Twilight books notwithstanding).  I never read Harry Potter not because I have some major problem with teen fiction, but because they’re fantasy books and I don’t care about fantasy books.

That floats your boat?  Super, have at it.

I do have a passing interest in science fiction, at least when the science is emphasized, so The Hunger Games might be more up my alley, if, you know, I was still 16.  Unless I’m mistaken, though, this is science fiction of the ‘Future Dystopia’ type, and not of the speculative, map-out-where-we’re-going sort.  I’m a nerd, I want my science fiction books to teach me science.

Which is all to say, the movie sound likes an enjoyable couple hours at the theater (with a heroine I’d actually want my hypothetical future daughter to aspire to), but as a reading experience it would surely leave me dry.  I’ve been reading for a long time, I have a pretty solid grasp on what I enjoy.*

I don’t have a problem with teen literature.  I don’t really have a problem with adults reading teen lit, as part of a balanced reading diet.   But, as someone who has worked in bookstores of all size and denomination (corporate, privately owned), I know this is rarely the case. When the Harry Potter craze was in full effect, a study found, contrary to optimistic reports, that teens weren’t actually reading any more than before.  They mostly just read the Harry Potter books and that was it (and some gave up when the books got too long).

From experience, I can tell you this trend holds true for adults, too.  Aside for the mile-long line of apologetic, grown-ass women buying every Twilight book with their eyes averted, for the most part these book Sensations draw out a bunch of non-readers who can feel relatively confident that these books won’t require they ever use a dictionary.

I know a lot of adults who never mention reading a book unless it features a wizard or a vampire.  If you are shamed by that description because it hits too close to home, good.  You should be ashamed.  Don’t call yourself a reader if you never read a book that challenges you.  You’re not a reader, you’re a passive receptacle for childish things.  Pick up some Cormac McCarthy, some Fyodor Dostoevsky, some Michael Chabon.  Or, if you like a little more playfulness in your literature, read Mark Twain.  He essentially created the modern young adult novel with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and then grew the story up with The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, still one of the greatest American novels ever written.

If you’re scared of jumping straight from Young Adult to Actual Adult, start with Salinger and work your way through all those books you skipped back in high school because, I mean, ugh, reading books for school is lame, bleehhh

Covering my ass: Most of my friends are real readers (if not, I’ve probably insulted them at some point and they’ve subsequently blocked me from their newsfeed), so I’m fairly confident that they’re reading books other than Teen lit.  I reiterate, as part of a healthy reading habit that mixes a variety of genres and styles, Teen Lit is a-ok by me.

Writing For Adults

Personally, I don’t read teen lit.  The last book I read from that genre was The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a slight but enjoyable work of non-genre teenage literature that I read when I was 19 after my college best friend recommended it. 

I don’t read teen lit because I don’t write teen lit.  I write adult literary fiction.  I’m not interested in dumbing down my fiction to appeal to a mass audience.  This is not to say I’m intentionally hoping to alienate anyone with my writing.  Quite the contrary, I hope that I have a successful, well-received career as a writer, with a wide-ranging audience.  But I’m not going to write about werewolves or sappy teen love stories to get there.

“My idea is always to reach my generation. The wise writer, I think, writes for the youth of his own generation, the critics of the next, and the schoolmasters of ever afterward.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald

This is sage advice from my favorite writer and I’ve carried it next to my heart for a long time.  I don’t take his exultation to mean write for teen youth.  People my age (the dreaded late 20s) are the youth of my generation, and so I hope to write words that speak to them.  I refuse to write down to them so the dumbest among them will gobble up my books.

I’m a big believer in the notion that you put out what you take in, which is why I voraciously devour great adult fiction in the hopes that my writing will steal even a fraction of that genius.  Sometimes I don’t enjoy the book I’m reading, sometimes I read a book and it’s so dense that I must muddle through and finish it just to be done with it.  That’s okay.  Reading should be both a pleasure and a mental work-out.  If it’s only the former and never the latter you’re doing it wrong, as the internet would say (well, actually, they’d say, ‘Your doing it wrong’).

So enjoy your teen lit, curl up with that pretty book after a long day at work and let yourself get enraptured in it so you can forget forget your deadlines and shithead boss.  And then, tomorrow, change it up and read something with a little more heft.

But save your breath.  I’m not going to read your teen lit, and telling me it only takes a day to read isn’t helping persuade me.

*I’m not ‘open-minded’ when it comes to literature.  Because I’m a writer, I am very judgmental of the work I read.  When it comes to music, on the other hand, I have no talent in that art form and so I am far more willing to put aside prejudgments and be won over.