How Chuck Klosterman and Rock & Roll Bookclub made me revise history

I removed roughly a hundred entries from the archives today. They were mostly of the “I have to clean the kitchen” variety and whining about that one time I had a cold back in December of 2000. Hey, blogging was new then and I thought the Internet really wanted to hear about how I was going to lay on the couch in my pajamas and watch “Splendor in the Grass.”

But see, last night at Rock & Roll Bookclub between the tequila and the talk about The Ghost Writer we spent a lot of time talking about Chuck Klosterman. Specifically, about how much we, as a group, cannot wait to read his novel Downtown Owl. My exuberance took the Rock & Roll Readers by surprise.

“You’re really going to read it?” Heidi asked.
“Oh yeah,” I said.
“But you hated his last two books,” Wolfdogg said.
“I know,” I said.
“But she really loved Fargo Rock City,” Sister #2 said, and made it apparent that I am quite vocal about my book preferences.
“I’m hoping it will completely suck,” I said. “If it sucks then I am done with his writing for good and that’s a relief.”
“What if it’s good?” Heidi asked.
“It won’t be good,” I said. “Did you read that short story in Chuck Klosterman IV?”
Everyone at the table winced in unison.
“That was so bad he shouldn’t have let that in print.”

We then went on to discuss how it was probably some sort of post-ironic hipster statement. I proclaimed loudly and repeatedly (because of the tequila) that it was total and utter bullshit.

“What?” Sister #2 asked. “If your publisher wanted one more thing you wouldn’t run something that was sub-par?”
I took the lime I was sucking on out of my mouth. “Fuck no. I’d doodle on the pages like Vonnegut or something.”

This why when I woke up this morning, with tequila fumes radiating from my skin I decided it would be a good idea to to do a little bit of walking like I was talking. It’s tough because part of me feels like I’m rewriting history and that feels wrong. But then the more rational part of me realizes that I’m probably the only person in the last six years who read about that one time I made enchiladas and they tasted good.

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  1. christa 30.Jun.08 at 2:38 am

    i can’t wait to read that novel, either, because i believe his fiction is the stuff of doodled daydreams by high school girls. [as a former high school girl.] ie: the one where he wanders around having inner monologues with his exes? “thanks for paying for me to journal, spin!”

    unfortunately, i have a pretty serious commitment to reading chuck k.’s words based on my romantic feelings for fargo rock city, and a lenthy email i received from him upon his receiving my fan letter.

    so i don’t think i’ll ever be strong enough to just walk away, even if his novel is a steaming mound of hubris. i was barely strong enough to let my subscription to spin expire before his time there did.

  2. Jodi 30.Jun.08 at 11:01 am

    See, my allegiance to good writing is stronger than my allegiance to Chuck — and I too got a nice e-mail from him after blogging about my love of Fargo Rock City. And then became embroiled in a weird e-mail triangle with him and his friend Rex. Sometimes I miss the early days.

    But anyway, I think sometime around Sex, Drugs and Cocoa Puffs he started to believe own press and his writing went from genuinely earnest to trying to be earnest and that just sucks.

    So, how long do you give a writer before you wash your hands of them? I’m seriously considering breaking up with John Irving who changed my life because his last two novels have been bad.

  3. david 30.Jun.08 at 4:11 pm

    E-mail triangles involving Rex Sorgatz and Chuck Klosterman are the stuff dreams are made of.

  4. Jodi 30.Jun.08 at 4:15 pm

    Maybe now, but back in 2002 it was just weird. hell, it’d probably still just be weird.

  5. Tori 02.Jul.08 at 5:23 pm

    Fargo Rock City is such a good book! Only the “Killing Yourself to Live” essay (as originally published in Spin) even comes close to the promise he showed in Fargo Rock City.

    Let me say this: In the first edition of the book, he published his home phone number in the introduction. I called him and left a message, asking for an interview for my zine. He did not return my call! I’m so jealous the Klost communicated with all of you!!!

    Also, Jodi, the day I found your blog, I read some of your entries from 2000. I didn’t read all of them due to time, not banality.


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