January 2011

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I just read a fun book by comedy writer Julie Klausner, I Don’t Care About Your Band: What I Learned from Indie Rockers, Trust Funders, Pornographers, Felons, Faux-Sensitive Hipsters, and Other Guys I’ve Dated. I’m glad I’ve never dated her though because I’m sure she’d have a field day with me.

Here is an interesting take from the last few pages of the book. I don’t know that I agree with everything Klausner says here but I agree with the gist of it:

“No” is a word that has different meanings, depending on your age. When you’re a kid there’s the apathetic “no,” the cynical “no,” the “no” you use because you don’t want to try a gross-looking food or learn how to multiply fractions. Then, in your twenties, you try saying “yes,” because you’re racking up experiences. But eventually, you figure out that unless something seems outstanding and un-missable, it usually feels better to turn it down. And the name for that stage of life is “your thirties.”

Michaelangelo said that he makes a sculpture out of a marble block by removing everything it’s not. Pretty smart stuff from a guy who made pizza pies in Boston! I’m thinking of the right Michaelangelo, right? He had a chain restaurant? Wears a toga? Anyway, it’s nice to know that once in your twenties are over, you don’t have a bunch of extra marble weighing down your silhouette.

You don’t feel compelled to go out with guys who smell like bad news, and you don’t have to do things you know will not be fun, like hauling your ass to a gig for some band you’ve never heard of so you can spend three hours on your feet, switching your purse from shoulder to shoulder.

Your twenties are the worst part of your life that you don’t actually know at the time is terrible. Being a teenager sucks too, but you’re aware of every last second of it. I decided to write this book right after I turned thirty, as a way to say good-bye to saying yes to things that don’t make sense.

I can empathize with what Klausner is saying here, except that I don’t have a purse. It’s funny that she mentions this factoid about Michaelangelo, because that is MY favorite factoid about Michaelangelo too. I would nudge her theory a bit to consider the yes-no process a winnowing of one’s identity. So a little more insular than a question of going to see a band or not. But for me, it wasn’t until I turned 40 that I felt all my extra marble was chipped away. Call me a late bloomer.

If my Dad had not passed away suddenly five years ago, he would be 76 today. Because he loved books, it seems fitting to celebrate his birthday with a What Are You Reading Now?

Even more fitting because the book I’m reading now would have fascinated him. It’s a novel based on the true story of a German couple’s resistance to the Nazi regime, Every Man Dies Alone by Hans Fallada.

The story of the book is as interesting as the German couple it describes. The book was written in just 24 days and the author died in 1947. I’m still in the middle so I have not gotten to the afterword, which talks about the author, the real life couple and the book’s path to publication.

Reading the novel, you get a sense for what is was really like to live in Nazi Germany. You see hard it would be to resist, how hopeless it must have felt to even think of resistance. The Nazi regime was a trap the German people sprung on themselves.

This book also helps me with my book, which takes place in Nazi Germany. I’m hard at work on the second draft now. And that’s why my blog posts are few and far between…