Saturday, 7 June 2014

The Perils of Autobiography

Autobiography is a real challenge, and I've just ripped through this one pretty quick- highly recommended. 'Full throttle' would be an easy sum up. But such a candid portrayal of the now successful Hollywood film-maker (she won prizes for Juno- just Google her) in her twenties is interesting as much for what it leaves out. 'Blow' for instance (I think) gets mentioned just once explicitly and then in the context of a room full of dancers doing 'blow' (just as they might on a regular basis). Drugs don't get mentioned at all until half way through. I mean, the subject was so delayed I was waiting for it with some enticipation; this being the USA and the scene seriously rock n' roll ( Cody's boyfriend is just that, even if he's also really nice and kind, and she reads Lester Bangs in her downtime at Sex World). This is hardly a problem with the book, since it upgrades your fascination, but it does bring the question what we decide to excise and the mechanisms whereby warts and all become a few warts.
In this one year, Cody certainly rides a roller coaster and only latterly, while working in a peepshow that pays weekly, has money in the bank. So why not admit? or at least discuss?
Perhaps it mirrors the creep of retroactive prosecution that has hit our shores, at least reputation stain. But surely we are not going to arrest Keith Richards for drugs or Jimmy Page for underage sex in 2014? It would be absurd. However, I guess, if there were suddenly complaints made (see Being Positive post below) this might conceivably happen. Everybody seems to want to see celebrities in the dock.
Perhaps it's because this autobiography is written a bit early, for since it was written, the author's career has gone up and up. There may be much to be said for writing these things not to get on in the world but after you've got there. Personally I shelved my novel in hope.
And there are even problems to casting the thing as a novel. I read the other day that most of John Updike's output can largely be considered autobiographical, which makes his description as 'a penis with a thesaurus attached' more interesting than it might usually be. Thank god he's dead so he doesn't have to face the present climate.
P.S Contextually the reason I'm reading all this stuff (wait till I get to the cat book) is because it's exam time, and I need distractions.

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