Lit Crit Bender

Which is not the fun kind of bender, I assure you. Yesterday afternoon when I finally finished the second draft of my critical thesis (clocking in at a mind-numbing 15,800 words–double the first version*), I realized that the only words for the state I found myself in were strung out. I felt like I imagine junkies do. Having worked on this thing for four or five hours and as many as seven in a stretch for many days, stopping only to eat garbage and whine, I was STRUNG OUT. Academic writing, even at the level I’m able to manage, requires so much focused concentration. It’s a completely different kind of thinking than fiction, not nearly as fun.

It does sting a bit that the word count is nearly equivalent to a third of a new YA novel. But I feel good about it, and whatever is required of me from here on out, it can’t be as hard as this jag was. Now it’s safely in the hands of my brilliant advisor, and I am taking a couple of days to catch up on the massive amount of everything that has been pushed aside–reading (finally I can finish Jincy Willett’s hilarious and amazing new novel, The Writing Class!), e-mail, this site, television**, and, most importantly, MY NOVEL***.

I have newfound respect for those of you who have completed book-length theses. I bow.

*The minimum requirement is 5,000 words of your own original analysis, excluding all the supporting quotes and etc. Keep in mind that students at traditional MFA programs usually don’t have to do a critical thesis.

**What is up with The Return of Jezebel James? I usually like Parker Posey, but her delivery is so ODD. It proves she’s no Lauren Graham, that’s for sure. But even if her delivery was wonderful, the tone and the ditziness and the terrible, terrible premise and a FREAKING LAUGH TRACK? Well, it doesn’t add up. Whyfore Amy Sherman Palladino? GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER. That said, playing spot the poster in the background at the fictional Harper offices is fun. I give this show another two weeks before cancellation unless it gets tons better. Liking the show about the really old guy and the new Juliana Margulies lawyer thing okay so far though.

***Don’t tell the fiction writers strike people, okay?

5 thoughts on “Lit Crit Bender”

  1. I tuned in for the pilot of Jezebel James because of Parker Posey and ASP. And oh, dear god, was that painful. The main thing that struck me was how, as much as I loved Lauren Graham in GG, I now give her even more credit for the magic of how she chose to deliver her lines and turn her character into something endearing and spectacular. Because there were a number of good dialogue bits in JJ that I could imagine Graham pulling off, but in Posey’s hands they came out terribly. Posey delivered them as though her character actually meant them, which made her ridiculously neurotic and unpleasant. Whereas Graham took similar lines and delivered them with bright humor and a wink, and made her character into someone who could say ridiculous things to amuse herself. Posey didn’t get that. And yeah, her delivery was terrible. I think she was just badly cast, because she didn’t seem to have any idea how to handle this kind of material. Not that the material is terrific, but it could have been done better.
    They were hampered by the laugh track, but really just the whole thing, the whole premise, it doesn’t work. It could only have worked if the sisters had some kind of shared timing and chemistry that made their relationship interesting, a la GG, but both of the leads came off as annoying and bratty.

  2. Couldn’t agree more! I’ve been trying to think of a role I’ve seen Posey in that isn’t at least a little bit brittle. I don’t think she has the softness to her edge that Graham does, and so she’s just in a terrible role for her. Very sad.

  3. I hear she does something different in Broken English, though I haven’t seen it yet. Party Girl is still her peak for me, but I’ll keep coming back to watch her. (Just not in this tv show.)

  4. I loved her in Superman, but I seem to vaguely remember us talking about that at some point already. She definitely played that character with a bit of hidden slyness, an “I know what I’m doing” that is lacking in JJ. I’ll probably keep watching until they cancel it because I’m a glutton for punishment.

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