My upcoming book of short short stories, Shake Away These Constant Days, originated as a project called Our Band Could Be Your Lit, in which I wrote a story under 1000 words every week. To generate this much content, I based the stories on songs suggested my musicians and writers from around the world. The original idea was 100 songs, 100 stories: find the creative common ground between two mediums and cultivating the virtue found therein.
Until September 25th, I'll be doing a blog post a day about the stories in the book. After that, it's all up to you.
Originally OBCBYL #5. I love Manic Pixie Dream Girls, but if I had to pick another favorite harmful, terribly-affected female stereotype, it would be its opposite, an Unwilling Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
The problem with someone like Natalie Portman in Garden State or every character Zooey Deschanel has ever played is that they really play into it. Not that it isn’t charming, but there’s really no self-awareness to anchor the personality to anything. At least Kate Winslet’s character in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind know what she was being pigeonholed as, and rejected it in favor of figuring her own life out. (And good on her for doing do.)
The narrator in “Focus” is in a similar situation, I think. She’s not interested in being the solution for unhappy men. When a MPDG is reformed, when she decides not to let her purpose in life be defined by her relation to helping out the sad souls of young white men, what remains is a person trying to suss out their problems.
Zelda Fitzgerald ended up in a mental institution and Edie Sedgwick died of a drug overdose. Fucked up girls who don’t love themselves aren’t supposed to stay that way just to possibly help a young man “find himself.” They’re supposed to figure out how to love themselves, which is hard enough as is.
Then again, Natalie from Sports Night could really turn my life around, I think.
Tomorrow: A story named "Facts" that is based on the song "Crosseyed & Painless" by The Talking Heads. Suggested by writer Kirk Nesset.
SATCD on Goodreads
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