It occurred to me today that I'm not as far along as I thought. Writing my story isn't the courageous act of liberation I had hoped it would be. Writing is solitary, furtive, and I know all about those things... Still, you can only do what you're able. If this story is written only for myself, then so be it. But it doesn't feel that way. I feel you out there, reader. This is the only kind of intimacy I'm comfortable with. Just the two of us, here in the dark.pg. 319 in my edition (The Obscure Object)
The thing I liked most about Middlesex is the amazing way the author is able to cram so much actual information about the humanity of intersex individuals, the science, the politics, the individual heritage... into a story that is fun all in itself with writing that is almost poetry. I've thought in the past it would be fun to write a book in a similar style. I could call it "the secret lives of gay Mormon bloggers" and make up characters whose personal lives would commonly bring them to blog about their experiences and meet each other online. Their circumstances would be unique and take advantage of parallelism to contrast choices, ideas, and paths. Of course, I would have a hard time thinking of anything nearly as compelling as the real life examples I already have!
And then there's the other problem. I'm not such a great writer. I decided long ago when I started this blog that it was more of a journal than a place to publish good writing. If I waited until an idea was well-formulated and well-articulated to get it out there, there would be precious little to publish. And I wanted to share ideas in the raw and get advice back in the raw. It has worked pretty well overall. But I do long to join Fob's writing group. Or even spend a little more deliberate effort in making my story more enjoyable to read... more engaging.
There were times in Middlesex when I wanted him to just get on with things. He would take pages and pages to describe something and I would be inpatient to move the story forward. Once I accepted his style for what it is and slowed down, I enjoyed it a lot more. And his style does have the advantage of stirring and stimulating parts of my brain that would otherwise lie idle. Take this passage:
From the slender wrists of these girls, tiny silver charms were chiming together. It was the ringing of tiny tennis rackets against tiny snow skis, of miniature Eiffel Towers against half-inch ballerinas on point. It was the sound of Tiffany frogs and whales chiming together; of puppies tinkling against cats, of seals with balls on their noses hitting monkeys with hand organs, of wedges of cheese ringing against clowns' faces, of strawberries singing with inkwells, of valentine hearts striking the bells around the necks of Swiss cows... The Charm Bracelets: they were the rulers of my new school.
If I were conjuring an image of the ruling class of girls in the school I might say something about charm bracelets and lip gloss and think I had done a great descriptive job. But something about the unnecessary detail is just... enjoyable and stimulating.
Anyway, more posts to come on Middlesex...