My computer is prone to exaggeration
Oh, hello. I'm Meaghan O'Connell.
I live in Brooklyn and also here, on the internet, where I have been writing and reading since 2008. Here are some highlights.
My computer is prone to exaggeration
My more-employed half is doing a crazy thing in Brooklyn on Sunday. He and whomever joins him (no one?) will be walking from a cafe in Windsor Terrace, up through Prospect Park, stopping at Terrace Books, a bookstore in Park Slope I forgot the name of, then somewhere else I forgot — the library? — then to Unnameable in Prospect Heights, then to Greenlight in Ft. Greene, all along the way reading a book about bookstores. Out loud. The logistics of this make me so nervous, but it probably won’t matter when it comes down to it (or so I’ve told him). We did a run-through (walk-through) of this on Saturday and I was prepared to hate it (as is my wont) but the book is actually nice to hear out loud, and while a few people gave him funny looks, it was pretty enjoyable. A little thrilling in its stubborn ridiculousness! If you feel like walking for four hours and reading out loud of an okay/cute/goofy/I mean I laughed book about bookselling, and visiting some bookstores, you should go! And can I advise you now that if you do go do not wear your Converse with holes in the bottom. Not that you would. And buy an artisanal pop tart at Lark if you know at all what’s good for you.
Today in French class the stylish, older flibberty-gibbet type woman who has no known relatives was trying to understand when to pronounce vowels at the end of words, and she was holding us all up but sort of in an adorable way so we all admired her willingness to be such a pest.
Anyway she was asking about etudie and was like, do you pronounce the i? But not the e? So you say the “i” but not the “e”? But she wasn’t asking this in a human way, she was asking it in a panicked talking in front of class way, so that somehow in saying this she said the phrase, “and so then you come in the “I”? I don’t know how this made any sense in the context of what she was saying, but I know she said it because I heard it as, “and so you cum in the eye,” and my own (un-comed in) eyes got really big and met the equally un-comed in eyes of the 40ish bespectacled therapist who feels occasionally retarded when mispronouncing french words, and we started privately laughing with each other across the room, like schoolgirls, making crazy faces and bending over in our seats, slapping our handouts on our laps, while Maurice explained that yes, you come in the eye. YOU ALWAYS COME IN THE EYE.
jk he didnt say that.
Hey look who shares a weirdo trim size!
I am still devouring book two of My Struggle and all I want is to read it (and to write, and be alone, like the narrator, and his writing has completely leeched into mine which would worry me but I’m too busy being elated that the words are coming).
And I re-read Nina’s Knausgaard piece and this struck me:
The grocery checkout line speaks to the audacity of detail in Knausgaard’s work, which is impossible not to remark on. In a typical paragraph, he recounts, in a café scene, filling two glasses with water, slicing bread, picking up the cutlery, grabbing “a couple small packets of butter and some napkins.” I do not believe he is trying to elevate these quotidian moments to something infused with beauty and meaning. He presents these details because they possess the possibility of meaning. It is a choice — another struggle — to remain open to reality on the dayest-to-day level.
YES! THAT’S WHAT IT IS.
I was so excited to read this.
How he gets away with it, I do not know. But he really does.
Everyone around me can hear the music through my sound-cancelling headphones.
Today at French my partner was getting really flustered and was wearing the wrong glasses so she could barely read her worksheet and after she fumbled her way through some, “Do you have a pen? Yes I have a pen,” drills she looked up at me and said, “I’m so sorry. For a minute there I felt a flash of what it was like to be mentally retarded.”
Without thinking I just said, “Well, good for empathy?”
Last night I had a dream I was at a poetry reading, standing in the kitchen of the home of a good friend, and during the reading some guy started doing the dishes by spraying 409 (or something like it) on them. I whisper-yelled at him to stop and he ignored me. I started freaking out and was like THAT’S POISONOUS and he got pissed at me and we had a screaming match and then the “host” of this reading, some fucking woman, looked at me and was like, “Nah-ah. You aren’t welcome here. You can’t come to the next one.” And I felt really sad and rejected by this poetry collective, and started to walk away, then turned around and was like, “WELL GUESS WHAT. I am friends with the people who own this house, so next time you meet here, you can’t keep me out. I’m gonna sit on the balcony in a ball gown and drop popcorn on your heads.”
I just started book two of the Knausgaard (this is like my Game of Thrones), which Dustin tried to get me to read forever but I never listen to his book recommendations because we have such different taste, and probably also because I know it drives him crazy. But when Nina loved it, I gave in. It is very boring at parts — purposely so, I’m told, but still don’t quite believe — but I still read it. It’s just this dude writing about his entire banal life (or so he makes it seem to the reader). Slogging through the boring parts make the make the good parts really sing — you really feel them, really know him, and the stakes, and where he’s coming from. I want to dismiss it as almost cheating (narratively), or better yet, indulgent — though if it’s so indulgent, why did I read the whole book and pick up the next one? His style, at first glance, is barely noticeable, but I think must seems to be his personality, his perspective, his own tics and ruminations, end up being style itself.
All I came here to say, though, is that this whole time I have subconsciously imagined the narrator, Karl Ove Knausgaard, to be Louis C.K.
He’s a martyr, he thinks he’s a prophet
But he’s a coward, he’s just playing a game
He can’t do it, he can’t change it
It’s been going on for ten thousand years