On “Burn Notice” and the Gabrielle Anwar Character

Self is wondering how cold it’s going to be in Chicago next week.  She hopes not very cold, for already she hates the dreary wetness of the California weather, and she gets depressed thinking of how, to get to the panels of such worthies as Antonya Nelson and Brian Roley at next week’s AWP Conference, she’ll have to brave snow/ ice/ sleet/ blustery winds and/ or impending pneumonia.

Anyhoo, self decided that today she needs to get serious with her writing.  Her creative rhythm was thrown seriously out of wack by Manila trip and all its attendant excitement.  Since getting back, she’s been distracted by the dire news of the recession, the severe scolding Obama gave the entire country yesterday, and trailers for all the movies she wants to see before Oscar night.   Now, if she wants to close 2009 with a feeling of accomplishment, she needs to do the following:  a) finish writing at least two novels, by this summer;  b) finish proofreading The Lost Language for Anvil; and c) learn how to cook a dish that doesn’t stink. (Exhibit A:  A few days ago, self cooked sinigang, liberally laced with patis; last night, she cooked pork binagoongan.  When hubby came home, he demanded that she immediately open all the windows and doors.  It’s like the man isn’t Filipino or something —  nothing gets self’s gastric juices flowing more than the smell of bagoong!)

Before actually settling down to write, however, self must first get her brain cells activated by reading something.  So she reaches into her enormous backlog of reading material and lets her hand come to rest on an article by television critic Gina Bellafante, in the 1 February 2009 issue of The New York Times, p. 31.   And here self encounters yet another example of a woman who needs to read He’s Just Not That Into You:

Fiona has never been able to get over Michael despite his persistent and explicit reminders that he is not made of the ordinary stuff of human need.  Still, she keeps pushing for the dream, dating other people solely to try to make Michael jealous, interrupting stakeouts and shooting sprees and manhunts to ask for a key to his apartment or to tell him that what she would really like for her birthday is a teddy.

*  *  *

In place of ideologies Fiona has impulses.  We get the sense that she was more distressed over the befuddling habits of inadequate boyfriends than the atrocities of the Black and Tans.  Every pull of the trigger now feels like retaliation against love gone wrong, even if Fiona isn’t the kind to go about  trying to decipher psychological cause and effect.  “Burn Notice” may have set out to say something about espionage in the post-9/11 age, but it has turned into a winning post-feminist revenge fantasy.  Fiona fights for us all.

NYTBR 26 January 2009: Another Short One

‘Twas a dark and dreary day —  woo-hoo, is it 5 p.m. already?  Thank God.  That means, in seven hours, this day will be over.

It’s been an extremely chilly and dreary day.  Self got back from having her teeth cleaned (about which, ’nuff said), and there was only one piece of mail worth mentioning:  a form rejection from The Cimarron Review.  Self nearly forgot:  she got one yesterday, too, from Carve, which began, beseechingly, “Sorry we can’t accept your piece.  We hope this will not prevent you from reading future issues of the magazine.”  Self went on a flurry of submissions, just before Christmas.  Hence, current onslaught of rejections.

Self pulled from her pile of stuff a second New York Times Book Review.  After reading the whole issue, cover to cover, she is astonished that there are only two books she wants to read.  It seems ridiculous to even have to enumerate them, but self must adhere to tradition.

So, here they are, the books self is interested in reading after perusing The New York Times Book Review of 26 January 2009 (Seeing as how this list includes a short story collection, and self remembers seeing collections reviewed fairly regularly, over the last couple of years, she is forced to conclude that when publishers tell an aspiring author that they can’t sell short story collections, and prefer novels, what they really mean is:  they don’t like your work enough to sign you):

(1)    After reading Maria Russo’s review of Ali Smith’s new short story collection, The First Person and Other Stories:

(2)    After reading Nancy Kline’s review of Annie Ernaux’s new novel, The Possession, translated by Anna Moschovakis:

  • Anna Moschovakis’ translation of Annie Ernaux’s The Possession

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