Wednesday, February 05, 2014

"I'm in the Broiler, Watch Me Broil"

Megan Abbott and I are reading Claudia Roth Pierpont's book about Philip Roth at the same time, not as part of the Doomed Book Club - as part of nothing, I guess, though in Adrienne Barbeau's autobiography, which we DID read for the Doomed Book Club, Barbeau describes dating Philip Roth for quite a while until she discovered that he was just a guy pretending to be Philip Roth. (As Pierpont's book reminded me, part of the plot of Roth's novel OPERATION SHYLOCK concerns a guy pretending to be Philip Roth, though this particular imposter doesn't date Adrienne Barbeau.) But none of this is what I wanted to tell you. I wanted to tell you that Roth describes one of his writing techniques this way: "I'm in the broiler, watch me broil." So that reminded me of the grisly death of St. Lawrence! That's all I wanted to tell you. But I just read this: "I don't write about my convictions... I write about the comic and tragic consequences of having convictions." I tried to write about that once (my detective novel about a guy who tries to stop having opinions but is thwarted at the end by an undeniably excellent Little Lulu comic book) and look where it got me. Hey! Did I tell you my publisher just now got around to declaring bankruptcy? I close with a "link" comparing Little Lulu to AS I LAY DYING.