Straight From the Store Shelf: Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

Blog Freedom

Of course Freedom won. How could it not? I was too caught up in the media hype. With countless reviews and articles showing up on my Facebook wall feed, not to mention the book pages and blogs I visit, how could I not–really, how could I not–read it right–right–now?

So I did. I finished it a few days ago, and quite frankly, have been putting off blogging about it. How do I go about discussing such a creature? At first, I didn’t know where to start when all I’d read were glowingly positive reviews. And then I read this monster, and that threw me off the other way.

Just don’t bother writing about it, you say? The problem is, that I told myself I couldn’t get back to Libra until I’d written something about Freedom. Great for my goals and all, but the problem with that approach is that I can’t possibly face the rest of my day, including my day job, without reading something that doesn’t have to do with paperwork and invoicing and timecards, so I started another book from the shelf: Real Sofistikashun by Tony Hoagland. And now I can’t stop underlining and making notes about that book. I get off the bus for work in the morning trying to walk while still finishing my notes about poetry theory, about the bus ride, about my new coffee twin, but I can’t do anything–really do anything–until I write about Freedom.

Which is itself a bit of lunacy isn’t it? Feeling such a lack of freedom induced by reading Freedom. (Really induced by my own desire to everything except what I’m supposed to be doing). Even having read it with lots to say throughout, I gave in to the urge to skip writing most of the notes that I thought to write, because I just wanted to bask in the reading. So now I have few notes and only the vague memory of lots to say. Did I mention no time? The woe of every writer it seems, except, apparently, right now, AL Kennedy (thanks for the link, Creative Writing at Queen’s) although her bit about catching sight of herself in recent months in “shop windows and other cruelly reflective surfaces” makes me feel better about the wrinkly skin around my own eyes at the moment.

Is it obvious that my desire to do everything (read; write a novel; write stories; revise stories; run a marathon; become fluent in Spanish; keep a semi-regular blog running and therefore laugh in the face of my past failed blogs; attend Madison literary functions and learn, finally, that Madison does, in fact, have a literary scene; ditto for live music) on top of my day job isn’t really working out for me? Alas, here I am on Sunday night, the laundry for the next two weeks not done, my feet already bemoaning the emergency socks they will have to wear to their day job tomorrow, trying to focus my thoughts on Freedom into a blog post that will make a passable review. Or at least a passable, scattered discussion. And I haven’t yet written a thing about the book. The actual book. The book itself.

(…Here’s where I actually go on to discuss the book. But not tonight. It cannot be tonight. More later.)

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