Wednesday, June 5, 2013

No udders required for this bag balm

   Look, I'm alive! And no, I'm not going to channel some Twilight angst and follow that up with, "But I'm dead inside." Wrong number.

   As many of you might know, I've been going through some personal drama that has impeded my editing and reading time. For those of you who are unaware, I am currently going through a divorce. When people use the term "going through," they're not kidding. It's like trudging knee deep in a bog thick with weeds and disgusting sloppy muck that sucks you down with each step. And considering knee deep for most people is like waist deep for me, that's quite a bit of sludge to soldier through. Also, imagine you're being bombarded with razor sharp thorny vines and shrieking crows. Oh, and don't forget the ROUSes. I'm sure everyone will respect that I currently have no desire to share the private details leading to this outcome, especially in a public forum, but know that I am happy and my kids and I are doing great. The other upside is that this experience has led to inspiration that I can hopefully soon incorporate into my current work.

   Obviously, because of the overwhelming heaviness of my current situation, it has been difficult to submerge myself into any serious, though provoking books. My brain is already tired, and I only succeed in reading a few pages before it completely passes out. Thus, I have dedicated this time to cathartic works by amusing authors. I don't want to be depressed or challenged right now, I want to laugh so hard I fracture a rib, maybe even pee myself a little.

   Here are some titles that I've read/currently reading that have been like soothing bag balm for my soul:

You know and love him, and so do I. David Sedaris is one of the most touchingly hilarious writers I've come across. It's almost difficult to believe his stories of his dysfunctional family and antics are true. But it's like I tell people when I relate tales from the coffee shop: you just can't make this shit up. In this most recent collection of essays, Sedaris tells the story of his first colonoscopy, how his father terrified him out of doing pretty much everything, the time he almost bought a pygmy skeleton, and the heartbreaking story of the boy his father liked better than him. Pure observational humor that is intelligent, honest, and real. There are also a few fiction pieces that are fairly amusing, but it's the true tales that are as always the best Sedaris.

Seriously, if you look in the dictionary under "hilarious," you'll find David Sedaris. My current read is  "Naked," in which Sedaris travels the country hitchhiking with serial killers, makes clocks for a Child of God, and takes three hours to get home from school because of his obsessive tics. I'll let you know how it pans out. I may have wet myself a little when he went through a phase where he spoke in Shakespearean English for a period of time. 

Other books on my "give me belly laughs" to-do list include:

I read the first chapter and almost died. Great recommendation from a friend. From The New Yorker: "As Roach points out, scientists studying sex are often treated with disdain, as though there is something inherently suspicious about the enterprise. Yet through understanding the anatomy, physiology, and psychology of sexual response, scientists can help us toward greater marital and nonmarital happiness. Such altruistic intentions, which the book shares, aren’t the wellspring of its appeal, however. That lies in the breezy tone in which Roach describes erectile dysfunction among polygamists, penis cameras, relative organ sizes and enhancement devices, and dozens of other titillating subjects. Not to be missed: the martial art of yin diao gung (“genitals hanging kung fu”), monkey sex athletes, and the licensing of porn stars’ genitals for blow-up reproductions. To stay on the ethical side of human-subjects experimentation, Roach offers herself as research subject several times, resulting in some of her best writing."

Another from the hilarious Christopher Moore: "Moore’s Sacré Bleu is part mystery, part history (sort of), part love story, and wholly hilarious as it follows a young baker-painter as he joins the dapper  Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the supposed “suicide” of Vincent van Gogh."

Any other recommendations? Please don't hesitate to share! And please excuse my break from writing to concentrate on life for a while. I will get back to it soon!