I recently read a book that I picked out because it was rated as “Highbrow” and “Brilliant” in New York Magazine‘s Approval Matrix, which is super embarrassing and would likely lead to this blog post and perhaps even me, as a Cultural Figure, being labeled Highbrow/Despicable (because let’s face it, while I may certainly be a twat much of the time, I am by no means “lowbrow.”) This book, entitled 420 Characters by author and illustrator Lou Beach, contains a bunch of mini-“stories” that Beach originally posted as Facebook statuses. This book will certainly be touted as one of the early examples of the genre that yours truly has dubbed “Twitterature.” The Twitterature genre will continue to grow –– of course, only a matter of speaking –– now that the seedlings of Six Word Memoirs (Smith Mag, beloved by gift book publishers) and seven word stories (Opium Magazine) have been planted.
What do I think of Twitterature, though? Glad you asked my opinion –– I love to give it. Sometimes the tiny pieces can incite intrigue and imaginative wanderings, but many times they fall flat to me, as they seem born of a writer’s laziness to refuse to construct a plausible and/or poetic ending. In other words, the writers give in to their natural human predilection to indecision, a micro-sin under the “sloth” umbrella.
So, while Beach’s book was meh entertaining sure whatever, there were only two pieces that I found memorable, both of the slap-my-thigh-and-call-me-Sally funny variety. Here we go:
“I don’t care much for plucky heroines. I do have a soft spot for hard types and waitresses and divorcees. Which is why I like Reno, I guess. I can hopscotch and hobnob, bourbon in hand, from lounge to coffee shop to poolside. The Rogaine is saying, ‘Harvest time!’ and the Viagra fills me with that can-do spirit. I’m on fire, baby!”
Okay so maybe there was only one that stuck with me that way. Here’s another I liked, though, also sort of funny:
“Ann O’Dyne, nurse, had healing hands, wee mitts sprung from the cuffs of her crisp white tunic. Her voice was gold, a brook in the meadow. It washed away fear and anger, discomfort and pain. She was the pride of the ward, the whole hospital, the surgeon’s pal, the patient’s savior. At home, her feet hurt, she drank, slept with a butcher, called talk-radio programs, ranted about illegal immigrants and the Jew-run media.”
And another I sort of like although it’s a bit cheesy:
“Kiss me a question, ask me again with your eyes and I”ll answer with my fingers, trailing reasons down your spine. There’s a theory behind your knees and a postulate in that sweet spot on your neck, and I’ll respond to your query with a smooch and a holler, roll you up against the sink and wash your hair, make love till the plates fall of the shelf.”
Now, here is me, wishing I were Lou Beach (subtitle: resisting making fun of the trend by declaring the new hot thing ONE WORD LIT and writing my masterpiece THE, and waiting for all the critics and readers to declare it “eerie” and “expansive”):
Me, Wishing I Were Lou Beach
Timmy Simons tried to brush the gravel off his scraped knee but some of it stuck in the puss. He winced when he looked down at the raw, red patch. Crouched on the ground, Jimmy glared at Leland as his neighbor rounded third and lifted his arms above his head triumphantly. Leland who could do a back dive without flinching and who third grade girls thought was cute even though Leland was in second grade. One day Jimmy would get Leland. Jimmy had seen Leland’s mother undressing at night. He knew the secret.