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"I really do think that what most interests me is -- is that there is nothing I don’t share with my fellow human beings. Including [race]. Whatever it is that I do, or that you do. This is not my discovery; 'There but for the grace of God....' But we do really share what makes us move in this direction and that direction. What makes us talk. What makes us reluctant. That’s why writing works. There is nothing I can say truthfully that you won’t recognize."
"Unrequited lust is awfully common for homely people, and I make all my protagonists homely to counterbalance our culture's obsession with va-va-va-voom sex appeal. In previous centuries people's identities were assigned at birth. You were born Irish Catholic, Chippewa, Amish, Boston Brahim, or what have you, and that was that. Now people have the option of reinventing themselves as beatniks, hippies, ravers, Jesus freaks, punks, goths and so on. Yet much as I respect and revere subcultures, there is something inherently pretentious in reinventing oneself and something conformist in joining a group. Skepticism is most definitely called for."
Despite its obvious attractions, Pemberley is far too confining and complacent a final goal for Austen's heroines. It's silly to pretend that prosperity and security aren't ever desirable or that they can't solve many difficult problems, but it's equally silly to pretend that prosperity and security are nirvana. For most of us, there needs to be more, or something else, maybe something entirely different. With Austen, I'm not sure there can be: in her mind, any desire that doesn't aspire to Pemberley is self-deception. Pemberley might be less objectionable, of course, if Darcy were a human being and not The Sensible Woman's Ideal Mate.
It was around that time, around ten or twelve years ago, around the debut of Being Mick, that my writing started coming out in the second person, not in a nice way, but like a girl taunting herself from inside, all insinuating, or sometimes like a grieving lover, lonely as hell, calling out to someone who wasn’t there. I hadn’t heard of the genres of self-elegy or of satire, and that makes me think about which other ancient genres are out there, known by everyone, that I’ll learn about in ten years or twelve years, that will help me answer questions I can’t answer now.
"What the hell do those people want from me? I still don't know what they want! I just gave a talk at Arizona State University; they have a transborder studies department there! One of the big wigs told me I'm the 'voice of the border.' What is that? Here's what I think: I, of course, write about the border because I'm from the border. Others who are not from the border, write these books about the border that are more like 'my day at the zoo,' books filled with little brown people running amuck. They write without sensitivity; they certainly don't write with any love of the place. That sort of thing bothers me."
Oscar Wilde called literary criticism “the only civilized form of autobiography” because it is “the record of one’s own soul” and because it deals with “the spiritual moods and imaginative passions of the mind.” In On Conan Doyle, Dirda includes some reminiscences of his first childhood encounter with Holmes and Watson and chronicles the forms his enthusiasm for Holmes has taken over his life. His recollections of adolescent reading and adulthood bibliomania (“My shelves include perhaps a hundred works by or about Conan Doyle... Nothing really exceptional”) aren’t superfluous; rather, they embody his passion for his subject. His book is a vivid sketch rather than an exhaustive biography or critical guide. Above all, it’s a record of love.
"Porn comics were the only job in comics I could get in New York. It was funny; it was this publisher who translated a lot of European books, Moebius and Manara, all this stuff that I had a lot of respect for. I showed up there thinking it was time to do all my serious artwork. They said: 'We want you to do a book about lesbian schoolgirls.'"
Sometimes, women perform their roles. They play the part of girl. The performance, at times, overshadows a woman’s identity and stands in place of her identity. As Ruth realizes, “Sometimes she is struck by the sense that she is someone else’s character, that she is saying someone else’s line.” The green girl also does one thing and feels another because, “The passivity of the green girl masquerades as politeness.” She wants to put her fist through a window but doesn’t because she knows that’s not what expected of a green girl.
A guide to a year's worth of picture books and coffee table-worthy titles for kids and playful adults -- all wrapped up for the holiday season.