Multiple Enthusiasms

Infinite jest. Excellent fancy. Flashes of merriment.

So now apparently I’m sick

Just ending what was, technically, my last weekend in Hollywood. My sister is coming to town on Thursday, and then the following weekend I have lots of grading, and then the one following that I’ll pretty much be out of here.

Which is pretty cool, so far as I’m concerned.

In the meantime, my sinuses clogged, my throat closed up, and my voice dropped into the sort of croak you might expect from a deaf frog. It’s not a full-on croak, but rather one that’s vaguely heard croaking and is reproducing a close facsimile.

I spent most of the weekend cleaning and packing. In and out of the post office, and when I took breathers, I read The Brief, Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

I don’t get it. It opened well; the first several dozen pages were awesome; Diaz caught a definite voice and rhythm, to merge into a brilliant, electric patois.

Until it shifted. My problem is mainly that the parts concerning Oscar are awesome, but there are other sections dealing with Oscar’s sister and mother that drag.

It reminded me most of Dracula. I loved the first section of Stoker’s novel, which purported to being Jonathan Harker’s diary, and then the rest of it became “epistolary,” which I put into quotes because it was written as a mess of letters from a dozen people to other people, but they all sounded exactly the same, which was suspiciously like Stoker.

Similar in Wao: the first bit crackles, but then the tones/voices change and the book collapses like a flan in a cupboard. Diaz’s writing lags, while at the same time taking on the dreaded voice so many creative writing programs seem to idolize.

I’ll be returning it tomorrow with nearly a hundred pages left unread.

In the meantime, I’ll be mainlining orange juice and freebasing Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold & Cough.


  1. Sorry to hear you’re sick! Hope it doesn’t linger, and you’re able to have fun with your sister. Plus, moving while sick is a humdinger.


  2. Moving is such an adventure! I moved so much growing up, I really learned to embrace it. Chad and I went on our first house hunting trip, this past Sunday. I can honestly say, we both fell in love with the most awesomest house. It’s in the area we live now, has everything we want, including the potential to make it better. We wouldn’t even need a second car! Only thing is it’s a bit pricier, because of it’s location.

    I have four hours booked tomorrow to shop around some more.

    And I’m afraid nothing will measure up.

    Get better soon!

  3. Eat garlic. I don’t care if you eat it whole or dice it up and have it in soup but it will help your immune system. Take a zinc supplement or add egg to your chicken noodle soup and you DAMN well better be eating chicken noodle soup. Ask the pharmesisus for the GOOD nasal decongetion which is no longer put in medicines because people were turning into pcp or something. If your coughing up stuff get mucinex and drink tea with honey in it. If you have post nasal drip get a antihistamine. Last, get a house plant. No, I’m serious. They absorb polution, radation, and various other nasty things that aren’t good for you. On top of that they produce clean oxygen and when your mad you can yell at it. Now don’t worry about whether or not you’ll kill it or how you will bring it with you. For now it will help your immune system and it’s good for the earth as well. Buy one and name it Will Jr.

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