This blog is basically about how good books are nice and bad books are the pits. And then I get grumpy.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A hopefully entertaining instance of venting which should not be taken terribly seriously

Ugh. I hate pretentious writing. I don't even like it when I do it. But, you know, I think in the process of blogging it's very easy to fall prey to pretentious 'too-cute-for-its-own-good' writing.

Being inclined to bookishness, I tend to read bookish blogs and, as you know, they are very popular. Who knew pre-cyberspace that there were so many readers around who not only wanted to read, they also wanted to pontificate, share opinions and joy? I'm all for the joy. And I'm for the opinion-sharing, too...though, as everyone knows from reading book reviews and talking with new acquaintances of different tastes at parties, opinion-sharing can be problematic. For example, never, never, never talk about politics with a person waiting for the bus. They'll say the darnedest things. (This is experience speaking and I was dumb to ever try. Although, I'll probably do it again, someday. But, humor mostly aside, it can kind of be like taking your life in your hands.)

But I'm digressing. That's politics, this is books. Let's get back to what I'm calling 'pretentious' writing - writing that's just too much. Often in life, I am kind of "too much." I'm not sure how to describe that concept but if you've watched every Designing Women episode ever made - great TV from when Hollywood hadn't sold out to mindless vulgarity and blood-soaked dramas and 'reality' TV moronathons - then you'll know something of what I'm trying to get at. Because in her own words, the bigger-than-life character Suzanne Sugarbaker, was a bit "too much." She was a Bob Mackie gown in a denim world.

A bit more elucidation on this concept of being too-much: How can I describe it? Here are some ways. Well, there's, of course, Suzanne. There are always the sitcom characters whose personalities were big, showy, entertaining if nothing else. Think of Blanche Devereaux (Golden Girls), Blair Warner (The Facts of Life), Norma Desmond-types without the pathos. There is a former Russian ice-dancing couple, Anjelika Krylova and Oleg Ovsyannikov, whose skating was thought to be too over the top, but whom I loved. There's any smart, compassionate person who thinks outside the box when appropriate and doesn't care if  he is going against the tide but who, nonetheless, doesn't seek to bring attention to himself. But now I'm starting on a tangent again.

So there's the idea of being too much. But, I hear the one or two people reading thinking. Why are you complaining, Blogger-person who thinks of herself as a little bit too-much herself? I am complaining because I wanted to complain because I was just visiting a writer's blog which I had thankfully not visited for a very long time and boy was she just as irritating as ever.

Said writer (from here on I'll call her Thinks a Bit Too Much of Herself) is constantly posting pictures of herself which is an activity that (1) has nothing to do with writing and (2) smacks of stupidity and (3) makes the endeavor of her blog seem a teeny bit like a love letter to herself. Invariably the photos are accompanied by back-handedly self-deprecating comments. For example, a photo of a somber Thinks a Bit Too Much of Herself might be captioned with, 'Oh, dear, don't I look like a Weeping Willow in this pic?' knowing full well, one suspects, that a Weeping Willow is really a very beautiful tree and that likening herself to such is actually flattering herself by coyly hiding a clear compliment inside what is generally considered a sentence construction that expresses modesty and/or true humility. GRRRRRRRRRRRR....

But that's only a small bit of what's so irritating about her blog. The big thing is that she can't write. Or, perhaps more accurately, she writes the same thing over and over again. And over again. Same style all the time. Same cutesy-type phrases. Same thematic silliness: Hey, look, I remember the advent of the internet and I'm only 25; Hey, look I'm chronically forgetful of my keys. Aren't I special?; Hey, look, I feel that misspelled words and bad grammar are horrorific. Forget about the lack of lifeboats on this ship. I don't care if there are dangerously high winds and turbulent seas. The ship builder has inappropriately place a hyphen between the word 'life' and the word 'boat' in this empty space. Get some stencilling, stat!

Ah, youthful self-indulgent drama. I remember it well. Thank goodness we grow out of it.At least, I'm hoping to do so one day. So, I shouldn't be too seriously annoyed with Thinks a Bit Too Much of Herself. Pretty much everyone is childish in some way to some degree for life. A human lifespan is not enough time to grow up. Kindness toward each other's silliness is necessary. But I don't think a bit of venting over unnamed developing writers in literary neutral is ridiculously mean. Or maybe it is. I'll let other bloggers philosophize about that. They can refer to me as Talks a Bit Too Much.

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