Bad news is a potato and good news is truffle oil. I love truffle oil, but I feel strange about it immediately. What do you do with it? If you agree, I know you like Woody Allen. Bad news is a fine, solid business. The potato I can’t live without. I know what to do with it, and it is nourishing. Note: I love potatoes and Woody Allen more than this paragraph suggests.
Recently, I was sitting talking with someone about my writing, and someone was saying exactly what I hoped to hear. Good News.
Good News, for any Christians playing along at home, is supposed to be freeing and invigorating, although it seems to be more frequently used as a straightjacket or whip. It was on the cover of my first Bible, along with a blue sky and some sheep. Inside the actual book was a lot of weird stuff, a lot of scary stuff, so maybe Good News was just the right title.
This piece is good, someone told me. It’s funny, you know what you’re doing. Have you sent it out? Well, is it ready to send out? Do you have an agent? Can I have so and so look at it?
In all honesty, I hadn’t worked on the piece in question for ages. This was partly that I wasn’t that interested in it anymore. You beat your head against a wall with your work until it hardly hurts anymore. Or: you get thick callouses like a ballerina, and people are like: your feet look weird. Doesn’t that hurt? And you’re like, I don’t know. It isn’t about that anymore. Things hurt, they don’t, just like people with normal feet.
After the good news, I went for a walk. The word “agent” had been used, and while walking, I was writing a joke in my head, a joke about the word “agent” that in my head (secret agent, a trenchcoat, that bit on “Sesame Street” where one muppet whispers the alphabet…), a joke that I would use in telling the story to a friend or perhaps on the blog, and this was much more comfortable than thinking about how that was so much what I wanted that I would possibly implode were I to even have a conversation with An Agent about anything more complex than what elevator button they wanted me to push for them. (No joke assembled itself anyway, or you can be sure I would include it here.)
Then I thought about money, and how someone could conceivably pay me something for writing a book, and how that would be great, I was already spending it in my mind, although in any realistic scenario, the hourly rate that might be figured for the work of writing either book I’ve pounded out would make my hourly teaching pay look impressive.
You didn’t think you would get through this without a word about the last documentary I watched, and you were right. The last one was “Busting Out,” which is about breasts: cultural views, personal views, uses and misuses. (Some people wrote in to complain that there are not enough boobs in it, which is awful cute.) The woman who made the film talks about how when she got breasts she started hunching over to hide them. I know I did. Probably most girls do. Breasts. If they are weird and scary and confusing intriguing and dangerous, then maybe they are good news, too.