It’s Chosen Me.

It Chooses You by Miranda July

Sorry for the corny title.  The quote I immediately ran too from the book was epically long for a blog title and so I decided to go the corny, bad-stand-up-comedian route instead.  It finally arrived November 7th, in my bare and tired hands after years of waiting for Miranda July to pop out another baby baring ink and recycled paper (I can only guess at it being recycled since I have to believe she’s the kind of person that throws all bottles and paper in that nice, blue bin).

I actually don’t think I’ve ever written about my love for Miranda July, my groupie-status of cuddling her book No One Belongs Here More Than You well into the night, under my winter covers.  I tweet at her, hoping one day she will see that I’m the ultimate fan and say a few words back to me about us being curly-haired twins or something witty that only she could say appropriately.  I would drool, and cry.  My face would be a mess of mush and water, like a waterfall, but ugly.

So, Miranda July is a film maker, fragile goddess, writer, actress and wife.  She’s contemplating children which I would love to nanny (wow, I am such a creeper).  I can only wish that that child would give any wisdom, or July inspiration and child dust onto my writing.  Have I mentioned I want to be Miranda July when I grow up?  I told MAU that yesterday and he said, “but then you wouldn’t be you…” and I said, “BUT I WOULD BE HER.”  Because I can’t get any creepier than I already am.

Okay, enough geeking out. (My new favorite phrase).

McSweeney’s has published her newest book, a work of non-fiction and real life advertising.  The premise is that during the writing of her newest movie, The Future, she got caught up in calling people from the PennySaver (a shorter, print version of Craigslist) and interviewing them, almost always asking, “what was the happiest time in your life?”  Some of them were rather strange, okay, okay, they were all really strange people.

Strange in the best sense of the word though – these are the people who check you out at the local grocery store and have eyebrow piercings and tattoos of men’s names like Ronald and Steven and Him on their collar bones.  In your rush of maintaining the corral of your children, you ignore them.  These are the people that save the photographs of your loved ones only to sell them at flea markets later for girls like me to pick up for 10cents and write short poems about your dead parents.  These are people who raise bullfrogs in their backyard because the education system in our country has failed them.

If you’re not interested after that, who are you?

If you only read elite novels, about people who take tea at 2pm and rest until dinner, than I don’t recommend this one for you.  If you like to read about life, and men who paint their nails, women who sell leopards from their backyard and hold naked baby birds in the palms of their hands, then this is probably for you.

This is the best way I can describe this book:

I knew this would come in handy one day….

When I was first sending out poems to literary magazines, I sent a few out to Neon Magazine (a literary magazine I think is pretty stellar located in the UK).  However, being a newcomer and being that my poems weren’t quite there yet, I got a personal rejection from their lovely editor.  Here is that rejection:

Dear Cassie,

Thanks for your submission titled Neon Mag Submission: 2 poems. On this occasion I have decided not to publish your work. By way of feedback I offer the comments below.

“Enjoyed reading these and thought they were very well constructed. Didn’t quite strike the bleak tone I was looking for–perhaps felt a little too organic and human. You shouldn’t have much trouble placing these in another magazine.”

Sincerely,

Krishan Coupland

Neon Literary Magazine

Probably the nicest rejection I’ve ever gotten, however I couldn’t figure out what “too human” meant.  And now I know.  Miranda July’s new book, It Chooses You is exactly that.  It is too human.  It is the part of a human you don’t even really want to know, like an episode of Bones where you see the maggots crawling around inside the eye and wonder “why, again, did I sit on the couch to watch something so disturbing…” This is July’s book, except the question is: “why, again, did I decide to read about an eighty-year-old-man who for the last fifty years has written his wife dirty celebration cards?”  I don’t know why.  Why do we talk and walk at once, why do some people hate the sound of gum popping, or some kids bite?  Because we’re human, and we have a deep longing to connect to our body, and the bodies of other people.

Sometimes, you meet people who think their just a soul and their body is just this vehicle of living life how they want too.  Then why when we break our body, can it break our heart?  Our bodies are instinctive parts of who we are – if I didn’t have my particular hands with their wart scars from seventh grade, and gluttonous amount of rings would I be typing this blog right now?  If the generations of women before me didn’t have curly hair, would I be so blessed to be highlighted red, and springing?  No.  My body, is a vehicle to move, yes, but it’s also a vehicle to hurt me by, or a vehicle to physically show an emotion, or a vehicle to drive my experiences.

I think July says this better than me, so here are some of my favorite quotes:

  • “If I’d been Sophie, my character in the movie, I would have had an affair at this point.  Not out of passion, but simply to hand myself over to someone else, like a child.” (It Chooses You, 140)
  • “All I ever really want to know is how other people are making it through life – where do they put their body – hour by hour – and how do they cope inside of it?” (It Chooses You, 157)
  • “Most of life is offline, and I think it always will be; eating and aching and sleeping and loving happen in the body.” (It Chooses You, 161).
I’d love to write about Miranda July and her newest book for hours and hours and hours (literally).  I’d like to sit here with my pears and my watch off and just type about how much I respect her for writing books that don’t cater to the norm.  And the funniest part about this is that the New York Times still takes her seriously as a writer.  I’m not sure if it’s her major stats for films (Sundance Winner) or No One Belongs Here More Than You ratings, but the major publications take her seriously.  I think it’s because she doesn’t take it seriously, she’s the opposite of the tweed coat you expect to see winning the Pulitzer or the National Book, she’s just a normal chick who does normal chick things like driving a Prius and thinks about having children because she’s hit thirty and it’s just that time inside of her body.  So, if after all of this, I haven’t convinced you to buy the book, I’m sorry.  I hope these excerpts below will.

For people who can’t take my own personal (and bias) opinion and go out and buy the book immediately…the New Yorker Book Bench is featuring an excerpt everyday this week.  And lucky for you I search the internet crawl spaces for things to prove the worth of books I love and you can take a sneak peek right here.  SNEAK PEEK. 

It must be the day you went for Chinese and came upon all this luck in your fortune cookie because I’ve organized EVEN MORE excerpts.

SNEAK PEEK 2.0  (Joe is easily my favorite part of the book and also very much part of the cover). 

SNEAK PEEK 3.0

SNEAK PEEK 4.0

SNEAK PEEK 5.0  

Here’s The Future trailer:

*

Other fun Miranda July – esque things:

11 thoughts on “It’s Chosen Me.

  1. jess says:

    I love how there is such an emphasis about the connection between body and soul! Real may be raw but aren’t we all made of raw material and then cultivate it?

    • Cassie says:

      Haha, she’s amazing. Just google imaging her (yes I made that a verb) is amazing. She’s so cute and quirky. It’s like a mix between zooey deshanel and Katy Perry, but geekier and more bookish all at once. I love it. Definitely give the new book I read, but from your comment I’m sure you will!

  2. Michelle Nichols says:

    Ummm so I still bite people as an adult.. Is that a problem? :) And I just requested one of July’s books at the library :)

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