Friday, August 27, 2010
Hi. My name is Rebekah, and because of a recent unexcused and inexcusable absence from HaPomo and a court order resulting from the aforementioned absence, I'm taking the Two Posts in One Day Challenge! (Or "Challange," if you're feeling continental.) That's right, folks. Your humble little poster is going to reach Anorak City levels of productivity today (I'm looking at YOU, James Murphy!) Then I will vanish from HaPomo once again - as abruptly and magically as I appeared.
Taking the Two Posts in One Day Challenge is easier when you wrote one of the posts a long time ago while being extremely bored in PEPS. McSweeney's Internet Tendency thought my jottings were "sharp," but declined publication because they didn't want to make any enemies of living authors. I can understand where they're coming from. And I feel that it's very important to maintain one's...
IT'S GAME TIME, MCEWAN!!
What To Do If You Find Yourself in Ian McEwan’s Early Short Fiction
First of all, stay calm. There’s no reason you can't make it out of this alive. Assess your surroundings. Where are you? You’re in postmodern England, probably somewhere in the suburbs. Which suburb? It doesn’t really matter right now.
What are you doing? Are you eating breakfast? Are you checking your phone messages at work? (Has your mistress called?) Are you preserving the organs of dead people in jars of formaldehyde? Are you committing some sort of act of bestiality? If you are in fact committing an act of bestiality with an innocent and weirdly humanoid animal who thinks it’s your lover, stop doing that right away. Go to the window, light a cigarette and think about what’s happened in your miserable life that caused you to begin a loving, consensual relationship with a chimp. If there are no windows, go to your desk and try to write a novel. If there are no windows or desk but there is a social worker, tell your story to the social worker. The social worker will encourage you to go into extreme detail, thus abusing his privileges as a social worker and indulging his perverted, voyeuristic fantasies. But it’ll be nice to get these feelings off your chest.
Now you’re walking along the street. Be careful, though. You’re never just walking along the street. Think back. What was your mother like? (This is extremely important, so think hard.) Was she sensuous? Was she domineering? Did she treat you like a baby? If she treated you like a baby, what color dress did she usually wear? Red? Green? Black? If she wore black dresses and looked young for her age, she’s probably remarried after leaving your good-for-nothing father and has a fulfilling sex life that leaves no symbolic room for your Oedipal angst. If this is true, then you’re walking down the street because you’ve just shoplifted from a department store because you don’t know how else to take care of yourself because you’re a virginal manchild with an un-integrated ego. The police are probably on your tail right now. Run.
You’ve stopped running? Good. Look around you. Are you near a body of water? Yes? That body of water will probably serve as a powerful metaphor sometime soon. What is that metaphor? Try to figure it out; your life depends on it. Are you near a house? Is the house full of teenagers? Are the teenagers wise beyond their years, sexually experienced products of the hedonistic mid-70’s? If so, there are probably a few small children staying with these teenagers. Don’t worry - the children are there to serve as a Blakean contrast to the teenagers’ worldly sangfroid: innocence vs. experience. Go into the house, eat the teenagers’ vegetarian food and smoke hashish with them. If you don’t like the teenagers’ cooking or their lack of hygiene, don’t complain. You don’t want to get on their bad side. If a feral animal shows up in the teenagers’ house, do not be the one who kills it. You’d be killing a symbol of contemporary society’s wild carnal obsession. Let the sexless geek with the coke bottle glasses do it.
Are the teenagers about to take their homemade boat out on the body of water? Whatever you do, do not get in the boat. How many teenagers are in the boat? Better yet – what’s the teenager-to-child ratio? If there are more children than teenagers, and some of the children are actually the accidental children of the teenagers, there is no question that the boat will capsize. Figured out the metaphor yet?
Go back to your suburban home (if you are not a thief, writer or pornographer, you will have your own suburban home). Now think: what day is it? Is it your anniversary? Is it the day your incredibly unhappy wife announces that she no longer finds you attractive? Is it the day the exterminator’s coming to kill the hard-to-kill rats in your house? (Good thinking hiring someone else to kill them.) Is it your daughter’s birthday? If it’s your daughter’s birthday and she’s turning sixteen, then you’ve got to cope with the fact that she’s got a mysterious life of her own now and it probably involves some sort of experimental sex. Cope with this by going out and buying her really age-inappropriate gifts like toy ponies. Bring the toy ponies home and feel seamy and half-elated at your immaturity. Give your daughter a stern, parental hug when she comes out of her room to greet you. How is your daughter wearing her hair? Is it in pigtails? Pleats? If it’s in pleats, then your daughter personifies the sexual revolution. She is lesbian. Cope with this by staring out a window while it’s raining and swirling some brandy in a glass.
Congratulations! You’re still alive! But don’t get too excited. You’ve got Enduring Love to look forward to tomorrow.
But seriously, Mr. McEwan. No hard feelings. I adore your fiction. Heyyy - you're alright!