Monday, June 27, 2005

“I am big. It’s the pictures that got small.”

The Movie: Sunset Blvd., 1950 (Charles Brackett, Billy Wilder, & D. M. Marshman, screenwriters; Billy Wilder, dir.)
Who says it: Gloria Swanson as faded silent film star Norma Desmond
The context: Joe Gillis (William Holden) recognizes Norma as someone who “used to be be big.”
How to use it: Impatience with the march of progress, or nostalgia for past glories.

Monday morning, and I'm crankier than I ought to be -- as Too Much Joy says, it's not the heat, it's the stupidity. (That link is a sound file, probably not safe for work.)

Things that I feel annoyed about today...

Alternate side of the street parking. The bane of my existence when I lived in Los Angeles, and D.C. has it too. I had to move the Beetle first thing this morning, and will probably have to move it again in a couple of hours, because I don't have the required zone sticker. Too many people, too many cars (and that's a Keb' Mo' song). D.C. has excellent public transportation, so there's no excuse for the greedheads who have more cars per household than people.

Novelists who choose self-publishing because they don't want to compromise their vision. What good is preserving your artistic vision if you wind up paying to print a book that only 40 people will read? And it'll be only as high as 40 if you have a vast circle of family and friends; believe me, if you hand out 200 copies of a book, no more than 20% will be read, no matter how much these people claim to love you. It's a myth that it's hard to get a first novel published. If it's a good first novel, someone will want to publish it. It's getting the second novel published that seems to be the problem, especially if the first novel didn't do well. If someone tells you your book is not ready for mainstream publication as currently drafted, the problem is not your vision, it's your prose. Why wouldn't you want the biggest possible audience for your vision, anyway? What did Mary Poppins say about the spoonful of sugar?

This is not a slam on self-publishing, by the way. Self-publishing works very well for non-fiction books by authors who want to reach a narrow audience, and already know who that audience is. Business books, books about hobbies or sports teams, and even cookbooks fall into this category. (I've never edited a cookbook -- that would be fun, as long as it's not about seafood or cooking with insects. If you've written one and want an editor, e-mail me and I'll cut you a deal.)

People who do not clean up after their dogs on city sidewalks, followed closely by Smokers who drop their butts on the ground. Don't even get me started... if anything, I'm even more grossed out by the cigarettes than by the dog poop. Dog droppings biodegrade faster, and the average dog's butt has fewer germs than a human's mouth.

Wow... it's been a while since I was in a truly bad mood. This has been kind of fun. Anyone else want to vent about something?


Tom Ehrenfeld said...

Well of course there's always those folks who don't clean up their dog's cigarette butts....

But here in the real world, a few pet peeves of mine:

Tax Holidays. Arcane, perhaps, but inanely stupid nonetheless. A gimmick by state governments to goose impulse buying by consumers, who will mostly put the tax-free purchases (ooh--no 5 percent one-time fee) on credit, thereby putting themselves in the position of paying up to 30 percent, with further penalties. And all to celebrate not paying taxes! Hey, if its a holiday, why not a parade? (Oh yeah, cause we can't have police or fire-fighters available, since we don't want to raise the money to pay their salaries!)

The phrase "real time." What is that? Time is by its very nature NOT real, and anyone who says otherwise is trying to sell you something.

Automated help lines. Especially the ones that sound friendly and responsive.

The loss of the Wordsworth Bookstore in Harvard Square. It's been many many months, and I still can't get used to it. There's a gaping void in this neighborhood. I've never felt that the loss of one store could leave such a palpable absence, but in this town it has.

JJ said...

No thanks, I'm good.

Well, maybe there is one thing that's really getting on my nerves: people who drive like me. I used to be one of an elite brotherhood of tailgating, mad to get somewhere, always speeding assholes, who ruined the highways and byways for everyone else. Now everyone drives like me. Hell, I've got old ladies in KIAs trying to drive up my tailpipe when I'm doing 80 through a school zone.

Okay, I feel better. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

People who write checks at stores drive me nuts. Live in the now people!