Wednesday, March 30, 2011

there was a man on fire.

and brick killed a guy.

but seriously. 

at the moment, i am greatly anticipating the arrival of five (5) books. three (3) of which create the single greatest series of all time (Inkheart) one (1) is required for english to teach us the dangers of human trafficking (because we have no idea) and the final one (1) is "Girls Like Us" which is a bio of three (3) foxy mamas (Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Carly Simon) who changed the world of music and really just the world, speaking in generalities. 

And on that note, I would like to post an  "oldie" because it is a review on yet another book that i love dearly. 

Notes from a liar and her dog.
Hello, my name is Ella Greer, and I have the mark of Pollyanna on my forehead. According to my swell Literature teacher, this does not include the connotation that I wear my hair in pigtail braids or sport dowdy, ankle-length dresses. But I choose to believe that she picked this nickname for just that, because I choose to believe the good and I tend to forget that the world could be evil as well. This theory has been proven many-a-time, from my refusal to believe the true meaning behind May Day, to my horrific finding of the real character of Benjamin Franklin. But this article has nothing to do with celebrating fertility or one of our founding fathers walking around Pennsylvania in the nude (or, in the words of Mrs. Sellers, nak’d), but it does have everything to do with James Frey, the author of the oh-so-scandalous A Million Little Pieces, and how he betrayed me.
                It appears to me that not only is James Frey synonymous with fraud, but he is also linked with Oprah Winfrey’s scathing reviews. Let it be known, I despise Oprah Winfrey. No, really. I detest the woman. She is the one human that does not fall under the Pollyanna Effect, no matter how many cars she gives away. This being said, when the tumultuous situation of James Frey lying to the world and ripping away the hope for drug addicts was swirling about, I immediately jumped onto Frey’s side of the fence. Why did I do this?
                Dwight K. Schrute once said, “An enemy of my enemy is my friend.” So to put it bluntly, Oprah is my enemy, James Frey is her enemy, and therefore James Frey is my friend. Even though I did not even know who this James Frey guy was. Welcome to America.
                 A few Oprah episodes later, Winfrey found other people to humiliate and kids in high school focused on being indie snobs with skinnies and scarves; leaving Frey and his fifteen minutes of Warhol-deserved fame long forgotten.
                It was not until over the summer when I received my drivers license and headed off to the library (yes…I know, that is why I am Ella Greer and you are not) that James Frey, my friend, found his way back onto my “must read” list.
                The turquoise cover caught my eye. My heart dropped, I gave a cursory glance around the library (True Life: I am a ninja), hoping that no one else saw it. A Million Little Pieces stood there on the For Sale cart, and I dropped Brisingr to run off to my car to retrieve the fifty cents (due to stealing being frowned upon in our society).
                Armed with my new Manchester Orchestra c.d found in a sketchy used bookstore, I began to read the harrowing novel that had eluded me for so long.  I almost understood what Lost junkies feel like, for the next three days were a blur, and all I could think about was James, Lilly, Leonard, and all of the other you-almost-forget-they’re-addicts characters at a rehabilitation center in Minnesota. I grimaced when Frey underwent root canals and cavity fillings without anesthesia, I shared the joy when the guys were able to watch the UFC fight and eat hot wings, my heart broke when I read the last page, and I felt like I too, fell off a fishing boat.  His grammar (or lack thereof) and not-so-random random capitalization alone was enough, for it seemed as if he mapped out a Punnett Square crossing E.E Cummings and James Dean. His disregard towards indentions and quotation marks made the story that much more riveting, and was proof yet again that not all writing must be in MLA format, nor does a writer need to prove himself or herself as a writer before being allowed to throw those rather obnoxious grammar rules where they belong (in all senses of the phrase). He wrote his experience as he saw it.
Noticing my internal struggle with the ball of clay in front of me, my art teacher attempted to soothe the battle with these words, “It was once said that the great sculptors took a block of clay and simply carved out everything that was not a man.” They did not help, for I am Ella Greer and I am a wannabe artist. But, I like to think that those very words helped James Frey, for he took thousands upon thousands of words and characters (the grammar type) and simply deleted everything that was not A Million Little Pieces.  The writing style struck a chord within me, that for the entire month of August, everything I wrote for English was composed as such.
 Having already discussed the story with my Literature teacher, we established that there were nuggets of truth within the walls of Hazelden, and I desperately wished, in my Pollyanna way, that everything was true, yet just a touch exaggerated. I wished for it to be true, that is, until the last page, when I found myself thanking Frey that he lied his bum off.
For the first time ever, I almost found myself relating to the robot known as Oprah Winfrey. Here I was, knowing full well that the novel was a work of fiction, yet longing for it to be otherwise. It could be compared to the movie 500 Days of Summer. The narrator clearly states that it was not a love story, but did the viewers listen? No, and by the end of the movie, most sat in shock, staring at the blank movie screen, wanting with all of their little hearts that it was a joke, and the real ending would begin shortly. Like those who are infatuated with Romeo and Juliet, they wish that Romeo and Juliet stand up, shake the dust of the tomb off, and laugh as they shouted “April Fools!” But wake up those two star crossed lovers did not.
All in all, I believe James Frey and I can still be friends. A Million Little Pieces was still fantastic, regardless of the controversy that surrounded it. A person worthy of reading it, however, must have an open mind, and must not be a literature snob. 

Sunday, March 27, 2011

the panera chronicles.

in my english class, the study of confessional poets is full steam ahead. 
and my new assignment was yet another poem, so setting up camp at panera and writing with my regular french vanilla coffee and blueberry bagel made perfect sense. 

My skin is paper mache
Layers of newspaper 
are more malleable than clay:
even after the glue hardens. 

When we hold hands we combine
the articles of a 
preacher and a gay man.
Like us they stand side by side. 

I am Queen of the World,
I'm a whore on the street. 
With all these words glued onto
my bones, sleep is exhausting. 

There are times I feel you don't say all you mean
but I've never read you for a liar. 
The truth is written, right there, on your knee. 
I said, "I love you." You replied, "Two dead in fire."

Monday, March 7, 2011

accidental activist.

today, in english class, i became a poet. 


In the dog days of summer behind his parent's house
we lifted our faces to the sun and spoke of Aldous Huxley. 
I mistook the beer for wisdom and looked on in wonder
as he chain smoked and quoted Jack Kerouac. 
"I think Bob Dylan and David Bowie had a thing."

The water ran cold, and as we sat in silence in the bath-
a deranged novelty of sepia rust stains and a tired faucet-
I peeled off what was left of my summer skin. 

He snored behind me as I watched the street lamps flicker down below. 
I prepared for what was to be a cold December. 
Sometimes we're not as beautiful as we think. 

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