It's a problem I have.

So, I'm still pondering Wicked.

(Pondering = overanalyzing, picking to shreds, tearing leaf by leaf till there's nothing left)

I've gotten caught up reading like every single review of it on Amazon, and by far I'm not the only one wondering why so many hanging plot threads. (I especially enjoyed this review and this one, but again, read at your own risk if you plan on reading Wicked in the future)

I think Maguire was caught up in some kind of postmodern experiment. Two reasons why:

1) Art imitating life. When, in anyone's life, do we get all the answers? When do we ever have it all figured out? To leave so many questions - to have minor characters overstay their welcome and major figures vanish forever - to never grasp the meaning of life, the nature of good and evil - to die a pointless death - that, Maguire is saying, is life. Many readers will hate his depiction because we don't want chaos from a story, we want order. We want a major life that makes sense in the end, with a well-written denoument. We don't, in the end, truly want reality.

2) It would be quite a postmodern thing, simply, to wait and see the reaction of readers to a plot that continually dies, continually jumps in time, continually leaves resolution unrealized. Not unlike the artist who puts a black dot on a white canvas and says 'Art!' It's more about the participant's reaction than anything else.

I find myself defending Maguire because I still remember my reaction to his flawed novel, and I found many of the characters and setting fascinating. However, I still hate the unanswered.

Okay, break's over.


An appeal for universal canine healthcare.

Scene outside of a gym. Two people with dogs. One dog tries to play with the other.

Woman with dog: Um, I don't think...

Man with dog: Oh, it's alright, he's perfectly harmless.

Woman with dog: Sir, your dog has blood dripping from its eyes.


Dream myself awake.

On Thursday night I dreamt that I was in my car with a coworker, and she was in the driver's seat. It was nighttime and we sat parked at the edge of a forest, watching the sky above the trees. The moon was full, and it began to rise and set out of synch with real time; rising and setting, rising and setting, though the night itself never changed. It moved so fast that eventually there were two moons in the sky. It was like the old quantum physics visual, where you leave a room and see yourself entering the same room, but from behind.

Then lightning began, above the moon's arc, flashing in an endless, raging storm of bolts. Then a blue shower of fireworks exploded. The sky was out of control. The moon then took over, swelling to such an immense size that it blotted out nearly everything else. (I've had other dreams about the moon doing this, so enormous that the city below it is bathed in white)

Then I woke up.

As I was driving to work, though no rain was forecast, I looked above the trees and saw a bolt of lightning streak down.

A student told me about a nest she found, not snug in the cradling branches of a tree but resting against the side of her family's house, three baby birds inside, shiny and new, no mother in sight.

I came to an intersection and found a blind man crossing, slowly, tentatively. In every direction sat a waiting car, yet I was the only one who could turn and go on my way.

Dreaming, waking, seek and ye shall find.


Any questions? Comments? Concerns? Requests?

By far, the best comedic quote from the X-Files series:

"Alright, so we're looking for a white male, age seventeen to thirty-four, with or without a beard, maybe a tattoo, who's impotent."


Mirror, Mirror.

Another two days, another Gregory Maguire book accomplished.

What is happening to me?!?! I'm devouring fiction.

Mirror, Mirror is a retelling of the Snow White lore, so meticulously and beautifully conceived that losing oneself in a book becomes a real act, not merely a cliche.

In exquisite Renaissance Italy, Bianca de Nevada resides in a village atop a paradise of hills with her widowed father, Vicente, and a colorful cast of local characters. The cook, Primavera, is blasphemous and wise; Fra Ludovico is pious and meek but brave in his own way. The details of not only setting but time are so lovingly rendered, so masterfully conceived that the plot itself drags a bit in several places; but for myself, I was so enthralled at entering this world, wonky pacing didn't matter much.

Again, all the essential elements of the fairy tale are here - dwarves, poisoned apples, glass coffins; this time, Maguire relents and draws upon a bit of magic here and there to achieve his ends. Additionally we have not a wicked stepmother but Lucrezia Borgia herself as the jealous in power, as well as a quest for eternal fruit plucked long ago from the Tree of Knowledge.

And you'll know way more about early sixteenth-century Italian politcs than you ever wanted to by the end. ;)

This book is quite different than Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister; Maguire used a different type of prose, and the heavy use of themes present in the Cinderella tale were edged out here, I believe, in favor of plot and detail. But even for its imperfections (Maguire tends to lavish in fabulous prose for too long of a stretch, and likes to plant a startling word in the most innocent of places), I was still fascinated. Enchanted. Bewitched. I recommend it, but only for adults.

Next stop: Wicked.


They might have used their mirror as an escape hatch, to ask it the single correct question, the only question a mirror ever cares about: not who did I used to be, nor who am I now, but who am I to become?


Wow! Ugly people have value, too!

You've probably heard of (and heard) the newest singing sensation, Susan Boyle from Britain's Got Talent. She's in her late forties, has never been kissed, and is decidedly un-pretty by contemporary standards. But she sings - forgive the cliche - like an angel.

I'm always amused, in a kind of ticked-off way, when people's mouths turn into O's and they point in wordless shock at someone who has more than a fair share of talent but is not 'beautiful.' Clearly, women bear the brunt of this surprise, since men are usually more vaunted for what they can do, and what kind of person they are, than what they look like.

Why is it that we still equate beauty with virtue, talent, morality, and ugliness with corruption and worthlessness? We will never be the 'enlightened' world we assume we should be in the 21st century, as long as we can't wrap our tiny brains around the fact that people are not objects. It is impossible for our facades, our appearances, our decaying bodies to accurately represent the maturity of our souls, the many trials we are set to, the endless moments in which we change for the better or the worse and then back again.

(Why do we retain this malfunction? Is it survivalist prejudice, sexual attraction, lower-order thinking? Or - for more adventurous minds - do we keep the memory of another time and place in the deepst parts of ourselves, a time and place in which what one saw was what one got, and we can't shake this memory, to our own misfortune?)

Nobody lays awake at night because an ugly couch is neglected. And far too often, no one cares when someone is judged, withheld, robbed of opportunity because they don't supernaturally embody holiness and light.

Susan Boyle is decidedly un-pretty by standards put in place when humanity on this earth first sprang. That her voice is such a shock to the masses says to me that those standards may very well be our legacy until the last of us takes their final breath.


Can't make this stuff up.

Overheard in an undisclosed sector of my workplace yesterday:

Co-worker #1: Hey, you know what I've found really works with 3-year-olds??

Co-worker #2: Beating them?