This guy on NPR who has a book called Springboard coming out (about success, being successful, how to get to the top of the pops or at least feel like you are even if you're living in a garbage dump), he says that some people get discouraged because they're not socially smooth. We all know socially smooth people make it big and social rejects don't. Except for the Ramones. They made it big because there happen to be enough social rejects in the world that they all swarmed around them in worship and that was enough to make it work. Well. Anyway, this guy on NPR, Richard Shell, he said that if one can't be socially smooth, then one should be reliable, trustworthy, and authentic, and that those were great substitutes for social skill. That thought cheered me up immensely. It's pretty important to be authentic. No one wants a life in which everything is just false, compromised, balanced on thin air and playing cards, right? Not me. I don't want that. Nope, I want flesh and blood, all the way to to the bone authenticity. I hate liars and phonies. Always have.
In my snail-slow kind of way in the middle of the night, I was reading Pearl S. Buck's A Portrait of a Marriage, because I wanted to know what marriage was like for someone else on this planet. Someone who was dead, and buried ten minutes from me, and who was a great writer--who I could have met when I was ten and she was about eighty, except for the fact that no one ever told me she lived in the same county as I did. I like to imagine us meeting and her serving me tea. I had really spastic hair back then with, usually, a fist-sized knot underneath at the nape of my neck--and a psychedelic hippie dress that made me look like a living kalidescope. She would've had an elegant bun and chamomile tea. We would have been great friends! I can tell by the way she makes her artist character avoid New York City and the art world, and comment on how prizes only go to the elite, and how she just loved simplicity and gardening--I can tell we would've gotten along "famously," as they say. She's buried on her property.
In the book her married couple seems to be sexually addicted to each other, but to have very little else in common. They were from different backgrounds, the husband from affluence, the wife from a farming family. He took one look at her and decided he was never going back to his stuffy rich folk, and basically never did. I am just a little annoyed that they had so little to talk about. In this book, he's spent the last thirty-plus years just admiring her and having good sex. Apparently, it was very important to him to be able to relax in her presence. He said that with the wealthy woman he could have married, there would have been no relaxing. I'm not sure I understand that, but Pearl gives me something to think about. Human dynamics are very interesting.
I don't blog for book promotion purposes anymore because what I've realized is that you can write fine literature, and really no one cares that much. We just want to watch T.V.in this culture. I hear everyone talk at the office. I hear people praising books that I wouldn't touch with a ten-foot pole. That's life. Meanwhile, I have Pearl, I have John Irving or whoever is next. Life goes on.
But still, here's my website, just in case: www.phoebewilcox.com
And here are the Ramones because there have been plenty of times in my life when they were practically my only friends.