Wednesday, November 11, 2015

All In My Head

Okay, I'm going to tell you something that's either going to convince you I'm nuts or just give you a glimpse of my rich inner life.  I would like to apologize in advance for this glimpse of the crazy that is in me.

Okay, so there are these two authors, Genevieve Valentine and Catherynne M. Valente. They are not really related, but for a while there I got them confused.

Valente wrote The Girl who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making and its sequels, which I wasn't able to finish, and Six Gun Snow White, which I read and enjoyed but didn't love.  She is quite popular, and her writing is beautiful, but it's like poetry--you have to dig into it to appreciate it, rummage through the language to find the point.  Not for me, not at all.  Still, famous.  Popular.  Prolific.

Valentine broke onto the scene more recently with The Girls at the Kingfisher Club.  She'd published stories before, but this was her breakthrough novel.  This was an excellent book, and I immediately considered myself a Genevieve Valentine fan.

Kingfisher is a retelling of the story of the Twelve Dancing Princesses in the Jazz Age.  It was bold and stark, and it used the structure of the fairy tale to tell a story with its own villains and hero's journeys.  It made me care about twelve separate sisters, for crying out loud. It was about power, and all the small kinds of power that a person has or doesn't have in the world, including many that you and I take for granted in our day to day lives.  It was really lovely.

Summary thus far: I love Genevieve Valentine, I don't care for Catherynne Valente, and I get them a little confused sometimes (wait, which one do I like? Oh, yeah, the other one).  Because of this, I see them as being in a little bit of a rivalry--note that this has no bearing on their books, which are in two totally different styles, and which actually share a lot of fans.  But somehow, I have set them up as opponents in my mind, and of course, I'm totally on Team Genevieve.

So here we come to the point, the reason I'm telling you this story about this odd little system that's been in my head for a while: I just learned that Catherynne Valente is publishing a new novella.  It's called Speak Easy.  Can you guess what it's about?

It's a Jazz Age retelling of the Twelve Dancing Princesses.

I want to say "OF COURSE," but that's ridiculous, because only in my head is there a rivalry because their names are sort of a little bit similar.  But really, am I taking this too personally (on someone else's behalf)?  Sure, I didn't think the literary world needed another Jazz Age Twelve Dancing Princesses story, but maybe there's room for two?  Maybe this is not a "ha, I can do better" moment.

But I'm still feeling really resentful.

There you go.  Guided tour of the nonsensical interior of yours truly.  Bitter rivalries playing out entirely in my mind. 

Is your inner life this rich?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am exactly this wacko too!! And now I will be about this pair of authors.