— A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius by Dave Eggers
— My mom
Woman: *speaking Chinese*?
Woman: …Are you Chinese?
Woman: Oh, I thought you were—
When people ask me if I’m Chinese, Vietnamese, et cetera, et cetera, I don’t want to answer their question. What does that have to do with me? Why is that your first question?I get it. It’s part of my heritage, it makes me bilingual, but honestly, why does race become a determining factor in interest? It’s not like when I first introduce myself, I say, “Hi, my name is Asian.” This woman wouldn’t have talked to me if I were white, if I were black, or even Hispanic, since she didn’t ask me, or anyone, her question, while we were all waiting for our cars at the dealership. I’m lost when people use race as an excuse to be comfortable.
A.H.W.O.S.G. isn’t my first Dave Eggers book. The very first was his “autobiography” of Valentino Achak Deng, called What Is the What, which was marketed as fiction. I read it for an English class, and when I was sitting with my professor in her office, talking about what I was going to write for my essay on What Is the What, she asked me, “Not a lot of people seem to like it or understand what’s going on. Do you think I should teach it again?”
The thing about Eggers as a writer is that his style doesn’t follow the classical model. It’s the same reason why people are put off by Jonathan Safran Foer — postmodern writing happened, and in classes where Tolstoy and Austen rule the syllabus, people are not going to like what they find. And that’s fine, because the style can be off-putting and strange, but at the same time, can’t it also be seen as a new and improved form of writing?
Unlike What Is the What, A.H.W.O.S.G. is more experimental. Both are written in present tense, but A.H.W.O.S.G. has diagrams, interview format, script format, meta-nonfiction — I could go on for days. It’s different, and for some, it’s a bad different, like the way people are battling about universal healthcare. But, in a lot of ways, this book has opened a lot of doors for writing itself, and the postmodern movement is taking chances with writing that other authors were not willing to take. The formatting, the style, the devices used, they’re all used for a reason and give insight into Eggers’ identity and feelings at the time. It’s a clever way of using show, don’t tell — it’s smart. In a world that revolves around saving time, the way something appears giving an understanding of a situation saves a lot of words. It literally shows us how to feel on the page, and what’s so wrong with that?
If you’re not a fan of postmodern writing, don’t read Dave Eggers. But if you’re interested in the way writing is changing, go read A.H.W.O.S.G. Writing is always evolving, and there is no way of preventing that. And even if you don’t like Eggers’ style, the postmodern style, the least you can do is admire what it does.
She told me she hated me hated my fucking, fucking guts, that I was a piece of shit, how could I do this to her how? How? I was terrible, fucking awful, godfuckingawful, just like our father and how he kicked her out of the house JesusmotherfuckingChrist I should’ve just brought the money, the money she asked for, the money she was going to use for drugs, for heroin, but I couldn’t. She wasn’t my sister, she wasn’t anybody I knew. She no longer belonged to herself.
I’m going to start posting something every day from now on, as best I can. I may not be able to run every day, but the very least I can do is write.
Write every day, because if you believe in the act of writing, that it is an effective form of communication, that it is more than just words, then you will write and write and write. You write because you believe it is important.
Gandalf: We really should leave. We’re in a hurry.
Gimli: No, Gandalf—we still have time! Sit and tell more stories!
Me: NO WHY
She looked at the piece of paper, then at me, then back at the piece of paper, she covered her eyes with her hands and cried, tears seeped between her fingers and collected in the little webs, she cried and cried and cried, there weren’t any napkins nearby, so I ripped the page from the book — ‘I don’t speak. I’m sorry.’ — and used it to dry her cheeks, my explanation and apology ran down her face like mascara, she took my pen from me and wrote on the next blank page of my daybook, the final one:
Please marry me"
— Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Jonathan Safran Foer
when she came back from college. We had both graduated and hadn’t seen each other in months. “You’re the only one who showed up,” she said. “Everyone else blew me off.”
Two couldn’t come because of their boyfriends, and one said it was out of her way, since she was heading back to school, most likely to see her boyfriend. “These girls see their boyfriends all throughout the year, and they can’t make time for me, even though I’m only back for a month!” she said. “The next time I come back up here, I’m just going to see you. I don’t have any ties up here anymore.”
I thought we grew out of the age where women were defined by men. A girl — a woman — goes her own way. Everyone needs to realize that if she’s absorbed within someone else, she doesn’t know herself. She’s clinging to something else so she doesn’t have to discover who she is. We’re still too young to know who we are, but shouldn’t this be a time of self-discovery and self-realization?
What I have for breakfast:
- two Eggo waffles
- some tea
What my brother has for breakfast:
- bread and nutella (if he can squeeze it in)
- black tea
- “People run from rain but
in bathtubs full of
Charles Bukowski (via bittersweetsongs)
Wow bukowski so profound do you also bathe fully...
New favorite film genre: Scarlett Johansson destroying people.
my heart says yes but my mom says no
If you’re a boy writer, it’s a simple rule: you’ve gotta get used to the fact that you suck at writing women and that the worst women writer can...”