Thursday, March 28, 2013


…Yesterday I finished two books almost simultaneously: “Why We Never Talk About Sugar,” by Aubrey Hirsch, and “I Am Going to Clone Myself Then Kill the Clone and Eat It”, by Sam Pink.

Though they are of similar length, the two could not have been more different.

Hirsch’s stories are fully-formed capsules of broke-down relationships, heavy on narrative so that the reader is able to slip inside each character’s situation (plight, usually).  Hirsch seems to know a lot about a lot of things-from hardware stores to South Korean academics, to Cancer, MS, the atom bomb, and physics.  She knows a great deal about physics.

In all her pieces she lays her heart bare, but with truth and bravery, and sans melodramatics.  She writes with an uncommon authority on subject matters that are quite diverse (see above) and with such command that it makes the reader feel as if the author has lived dozens and dozens of different lives.

Some of these stories will break your heart, others will tug on it hard, but all of them will transport you the way the very best writing does.

…Pink’s writings, on the other hand, are like fists to the face.  On the back flap jacket, the publisher has aptly called this book “The Bible of Bad Feelings.”  If Radiohead’s song, “Creep” were a book, it would be this one.

Pink’s writing is cryptic, new-age psalms, mostly laced with bitter acrimony and self-loathing, or the loathing of others:

           - “There are too many emotions.  But I really only feel one, and it’s, “I would kiss you goodnight except I’m allergic to assholes.”
            -“And your opinion never bruises me, it tickles.”
            -“All my fingers are criminals.”
            -“Each new relationship is made of cotton and I am a bee that is on fire, lost and ready to land.”
            -“I’m so great it hurts.”
            -“I’m looking for someone to spend time with.  But I can’t afford too many hellos.”
            -“Sometimes you just have to relieve something of its surroundings for it to die.”
            -“You are everything you hide.”
            -“Whoever runs my brain is doing a shitty job.”
            -“I should take a picture of myself to make sure I am real today.  I should make sure.”

Sometimes these snippets go on rapid-fire, for pages and pages, like a Gatling gun spraying verbal bullets, but almost always hitting their mark.

It’s a book not for the faint of heart, a book not for those who like more traditional writing, but some of the phrasings are especially clever.  I know I did a lot of underlining.

And Pink is a master of coming up with intriguing titles, such as these:

“Today I Hope a Bus Accidentally Kills Me”
“I Am the Best Thing Ever Introduced to the Material World”
“Mannequins That Sweat Black Ink and Never Have Any Fun”
“I Envy the Moon Because It Never Has to Face the Day”
“Most People Are Not As Good As Me”
“Help Me”
“Selfish Asshole”
“Voluntary Death”
“Culture is Stupid”
“Tomorrow is on Fire and I Am Very Young”
“Genital Mutilation”
“I Am Going to Jump-Kick Your Face and Then Kiss It”
“I Don’t Know Anything or Care About Anything and I Should Probably Just Sit in a Folding Chair and Die”
“Ugandan Hooker”
“Hold Hands with Someone Who Hates You”
“I Would Feel Better on Earth without You Here”
“I Smash My Smile against Yours”
“I Am a Champion and You Are the Echo of My Last Breath”
“I Am a Lawnmower”
“I Love You, You Shithead”…
And so on…

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