2004-11-02 - 11:26 a.m.

Ok. I finally finished The Great Gatsby. I know, the book is about 120 pages and it took me close to a year to read it, right? Well, I've been (oddly) busy lately. I actually really liked it. My friend Stefanie said the book was awful and that Daisy was a bitch. True, Daisy is rather despicable, but I think that was Fitzgerald's point. It's hard for me to hate a book because the author makes a despicable character seem despicable. If I was suppose to love Daisy then the book would have been ineffective, but I get the idea that I'm suppose to like her until we find out what a jejune, manipulative and, quite frankly, murderous bitch she is.

Yet people keep telling me they hate the book because they hate Daisy...

This situation reminds me of the reaction certain people have to the show "Keeping Up Appearances". The character of Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced 'Bouquet'... yeah, right!) is annoying, shallow and totally unlikable. The plots are merciless in their attacks on her. She is shown as frustrating at best and vicious at worst in almost every episode. And it is so much fun to watch her plans crumble and her schemes come to naught! But people dislike the show because they dislike her. I love the show, but as my brother pointed out the show is "too effective" at showing how horrific Hyacinth is for him to watch it.

I don't have that problem, and so I loved The Great Gatsby.

Is there some fundamental difference in outlook or world view between people who like The Great Gatsby and "Keeping Up Appearances" and people who do not? I don't know for sure , but I think there may be one. Perhaps it will be up to a better essayist than I to determine what that difference is, but I think there is just something different about people who like these things and those who don't.

As always, I welcome feedback on this idea.

The Giant Spider answered one of my pressing questions. See if you can guess which one is from me. If you want to ask the Big Arachnid about your own pathetic issues, look here for the link.

I wrote a nice piece last night. Another short-short. I'm really getting into trying to create a sense of immediacy in my writing. It would be nice if I could write slightly longer pieces as a lot of magazines pay by the word. Those bastards!

Also, I went to a writer's group last night. It was cool. Only five people were there, including myself, but the group leader said more people would be there next week. We are going to alternate weeks of workshoping with book discussion. So next week we are choosing a book - between Moby Dick, The Brothers Karamazov, East of Eden, Anna Karennina and something by Dickens - I don't remember which one. So the following week we will workshop something I wrote (yay!) and we'll do it in an interesting way. Everyone is going to read the piece and talk about it, but I have to remain completely silent. Any of you who know me will know how hard that will be, but I expect to get a lot out of just seeing how people respond to my work without me making remarks to guide their interpretation. And then the following week we start talking about one of the huge tomes listed above. Which should I vote for?

Lastly, I've decided to adopt a friend of mine because her dad is a bastard. Is it weird for me to adopt an 18 year-old girl? Probably, but she deserves much better parenting than she is getting. Plus it would be fun to read her bedtime stories.

Reading "The Short, Happy Life of Francis Macomber"

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