There are a few writers I would kill to meet, and Augusten Burroughs is one of them. I imagine we'd enjoy Dr. Pepper and Diet Coke (the martini of rehab as he puts it), greasy bad for us food, spend time avoiding nature, bed and breakfasts (he wrote a great essay about his hatred of "charming" inns), and talking trash. This has replaced my earlier youthful fantasy of marrying Philip Roth and my teenage pretend marriage to Jay McInerny (he's already had five wives -- does he really need one more?). My favorite Burroughs book is Dry -- it's the one that I relate to for all sorts of reasons, but his most famous is Running With Scissors. I watched the movie last night which by all reports was a box-office failure, drawing shitty reviews from everyone and their asshole cousin. I think I understand why -- it's a failure of marketing more than a failure of the movie. Burroughs' writing is very funny in that cringe-worthy sort of way -- he juxtaposes terrible and bizarre situations with deadpan delivery. The movie tries to do the same thing, but ends up just being sad with a dreamy valium-like pace. I loved it, but there weren't a lot of ha ha moments.
The ads for the movie make it look like it's going to be a non-stop comedy. And almost all the reviews I read said that the movie seemed unrealistic. I can't say that was my experience. What passes for normal in my life is sometimes so odd that the movie didn't seem strange at all. I know people who eat dog food, pop pills, go nuts, wish they were Anne Sexton. I only do the last three. The mother, played by Annette Bening, is hysterical in her writing workshops held at her house -- get your rage on the page, she tells the women. "Two thousand people stood in a blizzard to hear Anne Sexton read. That's power recovered." So it would seem. So if you're in the mood for something a little depressing, this is your movie. When Augusten and I become good buddies, I'll be sure to tell him I thought the book was better, though.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Oh my God, what have I done to myself? I am too afraid to move." Augusten Burroughs, Dry
Drinking music suggestion: Tumbleweed Connection Elton John
Benedictions and Maledictions
Be careful in the wintry mix, dear readers!
42 Days until The Sopranos airs!