Tag Archives: Stephen Beachy

Shaking the Rust Off

I haven’t written anything other than emails and lesson outlines in almost a week. The new semester is kicking my butt! I need to find a way to budget time into my schedule for writing so that I don’t get too out of practice and lose my edge. Luckily, today is the first meeting of a faculty writing group on campus, which should help me keep on task. There’s nothing like potential failure in front of your peers for motivation!

Anyway, the week has been an interesting one even though I haven’t had time to write about it here. I had good discussions with my classes about George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Amiri Baraka’s work (Dutchman and some poems), and read Stephen Beachy’s novel Distortion. It’s not as good as his latest novel Boneyard, but it was still enjoyable and even beautiful at times. Every time I saw the cover, I thought of the South Park episode with The Cure’s Robert Smith where Stan yells at the end that “Distortion is the best album ever!” Then I realized that I was misremembering the album title, which is actually Disintegration. Ah, well. The other significant event this week was that I got a new office computer with a HUGE monitor. It is burning my eyes out as I type. But it’s much faster than the old one, which is exciting.

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Book Acquired Recently: Stephen Beachy’s Distortion

Beachy, Stephen. Distortion. Binghamton: Harrington Park, 2001.

I bought this book as a part of my recent obsession with Beachy’s fiction (see my entry for 28 August for more details about this). It just arrived today from the United Kingdom, which has more aesthetically pleasing mail than the U.S.A. does.

Note the pleasing brown color of the mailing envelope, which evokes the parcels of yore. It looks much better than the nasty yellow/manilla envelopes we have in the United States.

Even though the book shipped from the U.K., the shipping was the same price as all other books bought from independent sellers on amazon.com ($3.99).

The return address reads in part “Paperbackshop.co.uk, Horcott Industrial Estate, Fairford, Glos [I’m not sure what this abbreviation stands for, but wish I did], UK”

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Books Acquired Recently

Beachy, Stephen. The Whistling Song. 1991. New York: Norton, 1992.

I recently read and loved Beachy’s novel Boneyard, and thus have ordered several more of his books, as is my usual practice when I discover a new author. There’s another one on the way.

Creekmur, Corey K., and Alexander Doty, eds. Out in Culture: Gay, Lesbian and Queer Essays on Popular Culture. Durham: Duke UP, 1995.

I bought this book for nostalgia’s sake. I read a few essays in it while doing research for a college essay on Jesus’s sexuality that have remained vivid in my mind over the past ten years and were instrumental in planting the seeds of my personal and scholarly interests in (artistic and literary depictions of) queer sexuality. One is on Tom of Finland, and the other is on the differences between LGBT and heterosexual pornography. I didn’t use the essays then in my essay, but they are relevant now in some of the work I am doing.

Plimpton, George. The Best of Plimpton. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 1990.

As I wrote recently, I’ve been fascinated by Plimpton for years, but have hardly read any of his writing. Buying this collection of his work is an attempted remedy.

All bought on amazon.com.

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Books Acquired Recently

Aldrich, Nelson W., Jr., ed. George, Being George: George Plimpton’s Life as Told, Admired, Deplored, and Envied by 200 Friends, Relatives, Lovers, Acquaintances, Rivals–and a Few Unappreciative Observers. New York: Random, 2008.

I am fascinated by George Plimpton as a sort of public intellectual who was one of the last of his kind. However, this fascination hasn’t arisen as a result of his writing, but as a result of his various film and television appearances (e.g., in Good Will Hunting, in Ken Burns’s Baseball, and on the The Simpsons [His appearance as a crooked spelling bee promoter/hotplate salesman is priceless, but unfortunately I can’t find it on YouTube. His final line is “Now I’ll go back to doing whatever it is that I do.” Exactly.]). I decided that it is time for me to learn more about him and his writing, so I bought Aldrich’s oral history of Plimpton’s life and Plimpton’s oral history of Truman Capote (who also fascinates me).

Beachy, Stephen. Boneyard. Portland: Verse Chorus, 2011.

One of my favorite poets, Julia Spicher Kasdorf, recommended this novel to me because of my interests in LGBT literature and Mennonite literature. Intersections between the two are extremely rare, but I am so glad that she introduced me to Beachy’s novel because I just finished it tonight and it is amazing! One of the top five novels I’ve ever read, probably (top ten for sure). It is as though Kathy Acker were male and an ex-Mennonite, and decided to write about her/his Mennonite baggage. It has immediately become the next work that I will write scholarship on.

Plimpton, George. Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances, and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career. New York: Doubleday, 1997.

Apparently this got excellent reviews. It’s slightly thicker than Aldrich’s book.

Sullivan, Nikki. A Critical Introduction to Queer Theory. New York: New York UP, 2003.

I’ll be teaching a literary criticism and theory course next semester and am starting to look at potential textbooks. Sullivan’s book has gotten good reviews and is supposed to be accessible, so I thought I would check it out.

All bought on amazon.com.

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