Thursday, August 13, 2009
I Am Not Percival Everett
I am teaching I AM NOT SIDNEY POITIER by Percival Everett in the Fall. I just read it. I was surprised to discover that it shares four things in common with my upcoming novel SHUT UP, UGLY: 1) a rufous-sided towhee 2) a character remarking upon the high intelligence of pigs 3) discussion of appropriate phrases to carve on gravestones 4) a character who talks too much and in a fragmented fashion (hence my title; in Mr. Everett's book, the chatty character is Ted Turner, yes, that Ted Turner, one of Mr. Everett's most felicitous creations, I think, and I have read a number (four) of his books. But I am not copying Percival Everett! My book has long been in the hands of my publisher, along with its coincidental towhees, intelligent pigs, and gravestones. I want everyone to understand as much. You know how afraid I am of copying people. Hey, do you want to know what else I am teaching in the Fall? No? Too bad! THE PORTABLE DOROTHY PARKER. GENTLEMEN PREFER BLONDES by Anita Loos. MATT & BEN by Mindy Kaling and Brenda Withers. THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz. BURY ME DEEP by Megan Abbott (I have learned that Barry Hannah will be teaching BURY ME DEEP as well). THE SCHOOL ON HEART'S CONTENT ROAD by Carolyn Chute. SELF-HELP by Lorrie Moore. LAST NIGHT AT THE LOBSTER by Stewart O'Nan. THE OLD MAN AND ME by Elaine Dundy. 100 DEMONS by Lynda Barry. GHOSTS by Cesar Aira. VARIETIES OF DISTURBANCE by Lydia Davis. IN PERSUASION NATION by George Saunders. Gosh! I'm going to be tired. I mean, I'm tired from just typing this.