From the monthly archives:

July 2013

Tampa: Hate Read

by Marinka on July 29, 2013

This weekend I hate-read Tampa by Alissa Nutting

It sounded interesting:

From Amazon: In Alissa Nutting’s novel Tampa, Celeste Price, a smoldering 26-year-old middle-school teacher in Florida, unrepentantly recounts her elaborate and sociopathically determined seduction of a 14-year-old student.

Celeste has chosen and lured the charmingly modest Jack Patrick into her web. Jack is enthralled and in awe of his eighth-grade teacher, and, most importantly, willing to accept Celeste’s terms for a secret relationship—car rides after dark, rendezvous at Jack’s house while his single father works the late shift, and body-slamming erotic encounters in Celeste’s empty classroom. In slaking her sexual thirst, Celeste Price is remorseless and deviously free of hesitation, a monstress of pure motivation. She deceives everyone, is close to no one, and cares little for anything but her pleasure.

Tampa is a sexually explicit, virtuosically satirical, American Psycho–esque rendering of a monstrously misplaced but undeterrable desire. Laced with black humor and crackling sexualized prose, Alissa Nutting’s Tampa is a grand, seriocomic examination of the want behind student / teacher affairs and a scorching literary debut.

So why did it feel so yucky to read it?

I had no complaints about the writing, despite some distracting Gone Girl-size plot holes.

But overall, it felt like I was reading child p0rn (disclaimer: I don’t actually read child p0rn, so I’m not sure what one would expect– no need to answer that!) But if I’m reading an eroticized account of a statutory rape between a 20-something adult and a 14 year old child, that seems to be walking and quacking like a duck.

I am the last person to call for any kind of censorship, and I absolutely do not want this book banned, burned or to bear a sticker about explicit content.

But I do want to have a conversation.

I want to have a conversation about whether this book eroticizes the improper student-teacher sexual relationship. I want to talk about language that refers to child rape as “sexual relationship” like I did a second ago.

But I also want to talk about what it means. Does it mean that we cannot write about pedophiles, murders or people who wear French manicures? Does it mean that all the protagonists must be moral and upright or at least not cross the line into the extremely morally objectionable?

Unfortunately I don’t have the answers. But I’d like to hear your thoughts. Because I can accept being wrong. What I cannot accept is not saying anything at all.



by Marinka on July 23, 2013

I know I’ve been a terrible blogger lately, not updating often, but I have a great excuse in the first degree. I’ve been plotting murder, also in the first degree, and a coverup. I have alibi witnesses all lined up and just need a Patsy to pin this whole thing on, so if you’re in (and live in Florida), just leave me a comment.

Oh, so this whole murder thing. I’m working on a new and exciting and secret writing project with an exciting and secret partner. So we wrote about half of it and then I said to him/her (unlike the Royal watchers, I’m not obsessed with gender) “can you take a look at what I have and maybe mark it up?” and MME (My Mortal Enemy) said “sure!” and then I get the document back and instead of the expected “brilliant!” annotations, I see that every time I used two spaces after a period, MME edited one of them out. The first eighty times I was ok with it, but by the 81st, I snapped.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?” I emailed MME. “Why would you do this to a kind and loving person?”

And MME responded with some nonsense that I didn’t bother reading because I heard that you’re not supposed to humanize your intended victim. I mean “you’re not supposed to humanize someone else’s intended victim.”

So, here’s the problem. I know that the accepted format is one space after a period because typography, blah blah blah. But don’t you think that if someone likes putting two spaces after a period because she grew up in antediluvian days before there were computers, you should just accept it and not correct it every single time?

I mean, I was going to make this into an I’m Right, You’re Wrong question, but I don’t want to contaminate the potential jury pool.

Disclaimer: Murder is wrong. Don’t murder anyone.


Mid-Summer Advice

July 14, 2013

Next month Mama and my 15 year old daughter are going on a two week trip to Scandinavia and Russia. They are both really looking forward to it, and my son is planning some sort of Unfairness Litigation against them since he is being Left Behind. They’ll probably seek Snowden-type asylum in Russia to avoid […]

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July 12, 2013

One evening last week after I returned home from work, Mama told me that she threw out my toothbrush. She said it in a very casual manner, the way you might tell someone that they are out of cumin and may want to pick some up the next time they are at the market. You […]

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It’s Never Good News

July 10, 2013

Hey, remember how I got cast in Listen To Your Mother NYC show? Well, the video is finally here! Here I am, blathering about how “It’s Never Good News.” And check out the Listen to Your Mother channel for fantastic, poignant and humorous stories about motherhood.

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Good News/OMG News

July 5, 2013

Hey, wouldn’t it be great if at some point, in the history of the universe, someone said “I have good news and bad news, which do you want to hear first?” and just blurted out the news without staging it? Well, this is going to be one of those times! Pope John Paul II isn’t […]

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