The Goldfinch, Daredevil, and As I Lay Dying

I’m probably one of about twenty people who hasn’t already read The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt yet. I’ve managed to avoid all the discussions and articles about the book for the better part of two semesters. I’m kind of proud of that. With the semester winding down, I suppose it’s probably time to think about reading it. Plus, I forgot to cancel my preorder of the paperback on Amazon and it arrived a few days ago. I decided to accept the slight tear in the bottom left corner of the golden gray cover as a character flaw and go ahead and start reading the book. The chapters are on the longer side but they have short sections, which I’m incredibly thankful for. I’m actually not that far along in the book; I can’t seem to get past a few pages a day. I’m not sure if it’s because of the language used or just my attention span, which I have on a probably biased authority that it’s significantly higher than that of a fish but not that much higher than that of a nine month old puppy. To be honest, it’s been too long since I’ve devoted time to reading a novel for pleasure.  I’ve mostly short-storied myself to hell and back this semester and the larger half of last semester. It’s not throwing me for a loop nearly as much as I’d like to make out that it is, but I’ve had to adjust my reading pace a little bit.

In between The Goldfinch and this end-of-the-semester-move that I’m about to start tackling, I’ve been catching up on a lot of television shows. I don’t blog about tv shows too often, mostly because I like to see a season or a big chunk of a season so that I have more than just exclamations of OMG and WTF to blog about. I’m also not very good at doing review posts, which is why I never really do them and why this isn’t one. This week I caught up on Once Upon A Time, Gotham, Arrow, Agents of Shield, Agent Carter, and then I saw the hashtag on Twitter about Daredevil. What the hell is this? I vaguely remember hearing something about it, mostly in tweets about how it’s going to be so much better than Ben Affleck’s Daredevil. I’d like to reiterate my opinion on this subject. The problem with Ben Affleck’s Daredevil wasn’t Ben Affleck, it was the writing. Ben Affleck seems to me to be a very versatile actor and I’m looking forward to seeing him in Batman vs Superman. Anyway, the first season of Daredevil on Netflix was dark, but wonderful. Charlie Cox is pretty cute, too, even when he’s half dead and blood red half of the time. Honestly, parts of it are just plain gross. It’s good that they’re not afraid to go to somewhat darker places with the properties now that The Avengers and the rest of them have skyrocketed to a huge success. I hear they’re also doing a spin-off of Agents of Shield. I’m going to have to reschedule my next semester around all of this new Marvel stuff, not to mention the DC side of things with Arrow and The Flash, which has gotten a lot better than it started out.  The Flash still just feels a little bit like the next episode of Arrow, though, which is a problem in my creative-writing eyes.

Crap. I forgot I’m supposed to read a section of As I Lay Dying by tomorrow. I think I’ve developed a really bad case of the end-of-the-semester-fuck-its. I edited a short story all weekend and forgot all about the William Faulkner story, my communications speech, and whatever I’m supposed to read for my creative writing class. Looks like it was Joyce Carol Oates’s “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?” I have to at least try and pretend that I haven’t read it before. I’ve already exposed myself to a lot of the texts we’ve read in that class and I don’t want to keep coming across as a big pretentious ass anymore. I’m sure I come across that way on this blog, on my Twitter, in my essays. I think I’ve learned something about myself today. I think I’m a pretentious asshole.

I’ve only got two more weeks left of this semester. I was really wanting to get one more draft of a short story done before the summer so that when the summer hits I can focus on all new writing. If I’m not careful, I’ll spend a lifetime on what I’m working on now. I’ve spent the better part of the last year on what amounted to four pretty-alright short stories. I’ve written more, but the other three honestly aren’t that good. I suppose I could rewrite the ones that aren’t that good, and I’m sure I will, but I think it’s important to not forget to write new stories, especially after a certain amount of time. I’m at that stage where I don’t know what I want to write about next and in my very limited experience, that’s been the best way for me to get results. In two weeks I’ll have to move back to the Danville, KY area for a little while; please, please let it only be for a little while, and I’ll be starting hopefully a new set of what will amount to three or four stories to work on for the next year. Danville, KY is a medium sized town that seems charming at first and is about a half-hour drive from Lexington, KY, which is a bigger city I don’t recommend even a visit to for those who don’t drive, like myself. Especially in March. You’re likely to accidentally get mistaken for a couch and set on fire.

I got through the section of As I Lay Dying. All I can think about now is Roberto Bolaño’s The Savage Detectives. I hated the novel about the 1960’s and 1970’s Latin American Boom  when I first read it last semester for one of my English classes. Sure, I found some nice things to say about it to appease my professor at the time, and I understood the significance of Bolaño’s work and what it was about, but needless to say when I needed a book to throw as a prop for one of my acting exercises in my acting class, that book was the first thing I volunteered as tribute. Now that I’m about half way through As I Lay Dying, I’m seeing what might’ve been an inspiration for the style in which Roberto Bolaño wrote The Savage Detectives. William Faulkner goes through multiple perspectives in As I Lay Dying unapologetically, artfully, rightfully. I’m not normally a fan of stories with too many perspectives. It’s a gimmick most of the time. I should probably buy The Savage Detectives again and give it one more go; my copy was ripped to shreds by my onstage wife who left me. It’s okay though, because I got the ring from her and I chucked it for the cash and smoked it.

You’ll see me around,

Eric Shay Howard

By Eric Shay Howard

Eric Shay Howard lives in Indianapolis. He's a teacher, a literary editor, and writer. He's a graduate student in the Bluegrass Writers Studio MFA in Creative Writing program at Eastern Kentucky University. He also has MBA and BA degrees.

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