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Princess Toadstool and the world of letters

Posted by on October 13, 2005

Litquake is happening this week. For those of you who did not, like me, stumble across this in the paper yesterday while waiting for the nice girl to toast your bagel, Litquake is an annual week-long celebration of (I think) local writers. Lots of readings and so forth. I checked out the website today and was shocked. How is it possible that in a list of a hundred names I only recognized five of them? And the five I recognized are dead! (How they wound up on the list is anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s a metaphor of some kind.) Jack Kerouac: dead. Jack London: dead. Alan Ginsberg: dead. Gertrude Stein: dead. Amy Tan: dead to me.

I would like to be the sort of person who is up to date on the local literary scene but the truth is most of my knowledge is centered on 19th century England. If it has rigidly-defined morals, rigidly-constructed undergarments and was written before the invention of sex, you will find it on my shelf. If it contains a drug stronger than willowbark tea, a woman stronger than Princess Toadstool* or language stronger than “dashed shame,” I have never read it.

This is partly because reading Jane Austen can make even my life seem interesting by comparison. But no longer. Though I am not shallow enough to believe that my new bangs will change your life, my reader, I am just shallow enough that they have completely changed mine. Can you imagine me storming my way through Litquake now? “Who is the beautiful girl with the ridiculously hip haircut,” people will be asking each other, “and how can she see with one eye entirely covered in bangs?” As I wind through the crowds like a sinuous sheepdog, blowing a kiss to Dave Eggers and snubbing Amy Tan, authors will fall before my flat glance like wheat stalks before the reaper. Before you know it, I will surely find myself with a publishing contract from some stray editor too maddened by my cyclopsian grandeur to think clearly. I will be queen of the literary world before the evening is over.

Or anyway, that’s how it would go, except tonight I have to attend my Literature class where everyone will be watching a movie. I, as usual, will mostly just be watching my bangs.

*That is, the Princess Toadstool of Super Mario I who was constantly needing to be rescued. The Princess Toadstool of Super Mario II was a kickass female and the best character to play, except in that one level where you need Luigi to jump really high so you can warp.

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