Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Yours (Again, At Last) From Somewhere On The Masthead

Magazine Man is back.

If you don’t know it already, then you haven’t been reading my sidebar: He is The Best Writer On The Internet. And I have a lot of good writers - a few of them published authors - listed on my sidebar. Of course, coming from me (The 3,229th Best Writer On The Internet From Massachusetts) I’ll excuse you if you feel as though I might be overstating things. Who the hell am I to pass such judgment? Obviously, what you need to do, to dispel any doubt, is go to his place and judge for yourself.

Here are what I consider 5 indispensable pieces of his oeuvre. I think you should start with the first that I list, since that’s the first piece of his that I ever read. If you’re at all like me (heaven forbid) you’ll have actual tears come from your eyes because of the laughs provided.

In Which My Secret Origin As A Super-Villain Is Revealed

In Which I Have Promises To Keep

In Which The Wild Rumpus Starts

In Which It All Depends On Your Point Of View

Boy Detective

All of the above are masterpieces. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. He is – despite the startling lack of money and recognition accruing to him thus far in proportion to his talent – my generation’s Mark Twain.

(He will be embarrassed by that. He reads me often enough to stumble across this sooner or later. I’ll be damned if I know what he sees in my stuff that keeps him coming back, but... well, maybe it’s the unabashed praise I bestow upon him. Fuck it. He deserves it.)

The thing that makes the comparison to Twain valid is his reach. He is superbly attuned to the ridiculous and absurd, but – like Twain – he also has the ability to write poignantly. I think it would be somewhat unseemly to point you to his more somber pieces while exclaiming "Look at that!" However, if you're impressed with the other stuff I’ve linked here, you’ll get to those in time.

Just one more superlative and then I’ll quit. I can truthfully say that I’ve read more of his words, over the past three years, than any other writer. That’s the supreme test, of course. You can say that someone is a wonderful writer, but if you don’t read their words, what do your words about them matter? A lot of folks rhapsodize about Melville, for instance, but how many of them have actually slogged their way through Moby Dick?

(God knows I tried. It is one of the most mind-numbing experiences in literature. I've encountered only one worse execution of a magnificent idea, and that was Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Of course, Shelley was pretty much just a girl when she wrote it, so she had an excuse. Melville was old enough to know better.)

Enough of my blather. Go, read, be delighted.


endangered coffee said...

I haven't visited MM (or a lot of other deserving blogs) nearly enough lately.

As for Moby Dick, I've actually read it numerous times, both for school and fun. But I am a giant nerd and used to have time for reading gigantic novels.

While I love the novel now, the first time I tried to slog through it in a college survey course, I ended up ripping the book to pieces and using it as kindling for a camp fire in New Hampshire.

If you can't stand the whole thing, I suggest reading the first quarter and the last quarter of the book. I'll admit that the great big middle with the descriptions of every last bit of how to skin a a whale can make even the most ambitious readers' eyes glaze over.

Suldog said...

Far be it from me to say that Moby isn't everybody's cup of tea. I think the Three Stooges are fine art, so whatever anyone else finds to their taste, more power to them. I actually did read about 100 - 120 pages of it, but just couldn't go on.

The length wasn't bothersome. I love long reads (thus my affinity for MM, in part, as he doesn't abbreviate just for the sake of brevity.) One of my favorite novels of all time is IT by Stephen King, and that thing goes on FOREVER. But Melville just bored me to tears. Obviously, your mileage varied. I can truthfully state that I'm happy somebody enjoyed it :-)

Buck said...

Thanks for the link, Jim. MM is indeed a great writer. The Bell's Palsy posts were both horrific and humorous at the same time, and that's quite a feat to pull off.

Dang. The very last thing I needed was yet another blog to suck up more of my time. this case, it's welcome. Really GOOD writers (and I include you in that company) are a bit rare these days...

katydidnot said...

as someone who slogged through moby dick and hated every allegorical minutes of it, thank you for giving me something else to read!

Melinda said...

Nice tribute (and great choice of posts by MM) - and I definitely agree with you about his incredible writing. He's most deserving of the "Best Writer on the Internet" status and I'm one of many who are just grateful for the opportunity to read his words.

(yours too, btw)

Babz Rawls Ivy said...

I liked what you had to say over at Capcity. I have been elected to office twice and you certainly have a politicians mind...don't be insulted. I simply mean that you have the ability to see things from a differring perspective that is 99% of the time not the popular perspective. And you write nice too!

Lisa Johnson said...

I just visited his blog and read the Super Villain stories. Good stuff! Thanks for letting us know about him.

Magazine Man said...

Well, you're right about one thing--not the best writer part or the Mark Twain comparison but the part about me being embarrassed, especially since, given my sloth, I've done very little lately that's worthy of such lovely praise. Thanks.

I hate to see you sell yourself short in your own writing, though. 3,229th my ass! Give yourself a little more credit, okay?

Thanks again for such a kind post, and for restoring me to your active blogroll. I'll try to do more to deserve it. --mm