i've hinted at it before: i spend substantial periods of time trying to zap myself into a molly ringwald character. lots of people wish themselves into the brat pack films - her lives in sixteen candles, the breakfast club, and pretty in pink are all fairly enviable. i tried to broaden my thinking - the stand would be tenable, too. fate is tricky, though. if i've succeeded, it's in being the bowl-cut, angsty molly in early episodes of the facts of life. that's like wanting to be janet jackson and becoming todd bridges' girlfriend on diff'rent strokes. eighties, i hate you!

zadie smith's autograph man was alright. like rushdie, she's prone to developing one-liners at the expense of cultural texture: she's funny, and i love that, but white teeth was a more thoughtful book. this is the sort of novel one expects from a twentysomething. smart and occasionally touching, not so substantial.

what am i expecting, though? how many people are capable of really nailing rites of passage, er, in passing? i think about paul and his novel - roland is about his age, and it's p's job to bring him to life in a way that resonates with millions of strangers. terrifying! i mean, i struggle with poems that convey the significance of the cat's toilet-drinking.

okay, but when is meaning clear? if zadie smith wrote the autograph man in twenty years, would i take her more seriously?

my parents' split and its aftershocks have made historians of the whole family. some interactions are simpler to categorize in the past tense: mistakes become patterns, long-term friction is identifiable. more often, we lose certainties: A doesn't remember what B considers defining, C can't trust B if A can't, D is neglected, E is misunderstood. you grab a subjective truth and hope it's true tomorrow, or to a stranger, or in twenty years. you try.

No comments: