after rachel hyman's "after megan boyle's 'selected unpublished blog posts of a mexican panda express employee'"

this morning i read about 35% of rachel hyman's liveblog-style review of my book while driving from philadelphia to baltimore

when i was around 25% complete i had the idea to liveblog a review of her review but didn't put my phone down until i saw a cop a few minutes later

rachel also thought to liveblog her review after she had started reading

here are things i remember thinking while reading the first 35% of rachel's review:

rachel writes for banango lit and at one point referred to her review as being written on 'her blog,' wasn't sure if she runs banango, i think a person named justin who has also reviewed my book runs banango

rachel was confused about my table of contents

rachel probably has a graduate degree or is working on one

rachel thought the person on the cover is maybe me, have wondered if people think it's me, it's luna miguel

rachel has seen me once on ustream, which means it was one of two times i've used ustream. if rachel saw me the first time, i was wearing a pink blazer/white blouse/black skirt, looking 'pretty good i guess.' if it was the second time, i was wearing a black blazer/pink blouse/black shorts, looking '10-20 pounds heavier,' due to a camera angle and being 13 pounds heavier

after reading how much i ate in a day, rachel felt like she ate a lot of food. the amount of food i listed in that entry seemed sparse and unhealthy. think i was mostly eating odwalla food bars and nibbling on things dipped in hummus at that point in my life

rachel said 'canon' in the same sentence as 'muumuu house'

rachel wondered if we've lived near each other in chicago and baltimore. i wonder that too. i have lived at these addresses in chicago:

910 w belden ave

1427 e 60th st

2345 n sheffield ave

2347 n kenmore ave

and these addresses in baltimore:

somewhere on the 1400-1500 block of park ave

3100 st paul st

327 birkwood pl

6 e read st

4404 keswick rd

rachel wanted me to expand on some things in 'everyone i've had sex with' and...something else...i'll do that in a few lines

in the parking lot of a grocery store i looked up 'rachel hyman' on facebook and saw we aren't friends but have something like 35 mutual friends

rachel is smiling in her picture and i think wearing a red shirt

people probably ask rachel to spell her last name for similar reasons they ask me to spell my last name

since reading 35% of rachel's review i've bought groceries, napped, talked with my mom, read, looked at the internet, eaten 'vegetable kabob,' watched a richard dreyfuss movie, printed a w9 form, talked with my boyfriend on the phone

unsure if liveblogging a review of a review will interest anyone

seems like...no...

just 'liked' rachel's review on muumuu house's facebook page

the first comment on the facebook review link is by jack fagan. he says 'megan boyle sux' and someone 'liked' his comment



rachel felt sad that alcohol was involved in a lot of my first sexual encounters because she thinks alcohol impedes mutual enthusiastic consent. i sort of agree. i've also had sober sex that wasn't enthusiastically consensual. i like that rachel said 'enthusiastic consent'

rachel wanted me to expand on this: ‘everything feels heightened with him. there is an open line of communication during sex, which feels natural and genuine.’

what made sex feel heightened with that person was mostly that we were close friends and i wasn't sure how emotionally involved he was, so i spent a lot of time guessing. there seemed to be an emotional layer during sex caused by the thoughts i'd have about him when we weren't having sex. i was more alert and able to be surprised, even though we hooked up often enough for me to also feel a certain degree of comfort. the 'open line of communication' was just directive statements and encouraging comments. i like when people tell me what they want/like during sex. sometimes we made jokes, i think

rachel said: also wish she would have expanded on some of the feelings she listed at the end after completing the list: ‘surprised at how passive i’ve been’ and ‘puzzled at why i’ve diverted to other people about my personal safety’

the thought 'what do i want right now' doesn't always occur to me while i'm having sex. i feel mostly focused on the other person. i get pleasure from doing that. i don't think i was actually surprised at my passivity. i think i was lying because i had some idea that people would judge me for behaving passively during sex, so if i pretended i was surprised maybe i'd get in people's 'good graces,' like people would read that and think 'now she will be an empowered woman because she knows she's acted like a not-empowered woman'

re personal safety: i don't remember feeling surprised at that, think i may have been lying about that too

rachel wanted to hear more of my thoughts about ‘if i was never told there was something i needed called ‘love’ would i feel like i need to have it?’

if i was never told there was something called love and i needed it, i think i would still feel attracted to people and a desire to be connected to them, but probably less intensely than i do now. i would probably not feel pressure to stay in long-term relationships when they start becoming difficult. the statement 'i like you as a friend and i like having sex with you but i don't want to be committed to you' would not be relevant, ever. i might be happier and have a lot of vague relationships, but i wouldn't label them as 'vague relationships,' i would just be happy to be close to a person for an amount of time. i try to think of things in this way now, though it doesn't feel completely natural. i'm sensitive and romantic and like the security of monogamy. i like feeling like the most important person in the life of the person who's most important to me

rachel likes pizza

my mom has half of an amy's frozen pizza in her fridge

i have eaten probably 85% more pizza in march 2012 than i did in march 2011, but maybe only 15% more than i did in april 2009, when i wrote the entry that made rachel want to say she liked pizza

rachel has finished her summary and is now moving on to the liveblog portion of her review, which is also what i'm doing now

rachel says: 'haha...yeah...don't know if that's the story of my life or anything but that sure is a terrible feeling'

don't think i've read a review featuring 'haha...yeah...'

i like that

feel like i'm getting a sense of 'rachel'

now that this is the liveblog portion of rachel's review i feel more interested

this review could have a surprise ending

rachel says it would suck to feel embarrassment/shame at age 5, when i said i did in my book. reading that made me feel something complex. like a combination of surprise, hope, 'thing i feel when i exit a retirement home,' and 'thing i feel when i pet sad-looking animals'

it has just been revealed that rachel's dad is in the room

rachel didn't like it when i said 'everyone i know is processing information using an interpersonal equation based on their memories and preferences/it seems almost possible to graph that equation for each person’

rachel says 'humans are infinitely more complicated than that'

i also think humans are infinitely more complicated than that

sometimes it's scary for me to think of how little i understand about the way i function

for instance, i just recognize letters

what the hell is making me recognize the letter 'p' every time

where is the storage unit in my brain where are all my memories of what words and sounds are

there is something comforting to me about the idea that humans can be seen as simple, graphable things, but if that's all we were i probably never would've had the thought 'i want to graph an emotion'

rachel says something i agree with a lot: on: the cataloguing of minutiae that characterizes this book and much of alt lit

feel like i’ve heard people say ‘that’s lazy’ ‘it takes no talent’ ‘i could do that myself’

i don’t like the idea that art’s value is correlated to how much work went into it

that just seems pretty wrong

forming more of an idea of 'rachel' after reading 'that just seems pretty wrong.' maybe that's a phrase she uses in person, so much that she's known for saying it. maybe she says it in affectedly thoughtful voices at funny times when you wouldn't expect it, like after someone says 'i bought this t-shirt yesterday'

cataloging of minutiae...

nicholson baker...writes cool stuff about minutiae...

yesterday my boyfriend said: 'i could be close to [person] if i saw them once a week, but probably not every day, because [person] isn't someone i can talk about minutiae with'

minutiae is exciting to me

seems like everything is minutiae

wonder what rachel would say separates minutiae from [opposite of minutiae], like, how does a 'significant life event' not have properties of minutiae? when do we stop thinking of something as minutiae and call it something else? i wonder this...in general...curious about what a lot of people would say to that

rachel feels as though her parents buy significantly less snacks/food now since, i'm assuming, rachel and maybe her siblings no longer live at home

my parents live in different places now and buy less food

my mom cooks more often now than when i was growing up

my dad eats a lot of snack cakes and unhealthy smoothies

i just ate some bites of potato salad while standing in front of the fridge, remembering the scene in 'e.t.' where e.t. stands in front of the fridge, eats potato salad with his two fingers, throws it on the floor, drinks a 6-pack, spills milk everywhere

that scene seems seminal in my development as a human...somehow...

it is now 3:09AM

going to sleep

will i post this, i wonder

now it's 1:48PM

dreamed i peed out a baby and my job was to swim around the perimeter of a dock where there was very clear water and a giant black horse running under the water

mom just said 'meggie i'm fixing eggs, do you want some eggs? toast?'

it's been a long time since i've finished something i've started


rachel gives details about where she is when she's writing her review. i like that. i've also worked on things on my laptop while the sun is very bright and wondered about how that impacts what i'm writing

the sky is very grey in baltimore today

rachel says 'will keep you guys updated re: my position w/r/t sun'...lol

rachel relates to my description of my family dynamics and wonders if they are supportive of my writing. they seem very supportive, to me

rachel lives on a golf course


rachel lives near a golf course, i mean

picturing rachel's neighborhood as mostly mansions, lots of trees, flat land, senior citizens driving around in golf carts, and this going on for miles...like it's a labyrinth of mansions and golf carts and it's very easy to get lost on the way to the highway

there is probably a bike path that people in golf carts mistake for 'golf cart path'

rachel related to me expressing anxiety about the internet

have been thinking about adding rachel on facebook, but felt like i should at least message her about her review before that, or finish writing this

i am very neurotic about doing things in a certain order on the internet

sometimes rachel says she is changing the subject but sometimes the subject changes naturally. rachel wonders if what she's doing is obnoxious and irrelevant, then says the word 'petulant,' which i read in 'children of dune' twice yesterday but don't remember ever reading before that, though i'm sure i've read it because i know what it means

i think what rachel is doing is interesting and motivated me to do something too. i like how rachel structured her review. i'd like it if more reviews were casual and personal. i'd get excited to read reviews in the new york times if they were written like rachel's review

tao lin sent rachel a photo of a drawing of a banana ("banana jumping into swimming pool with ‘bored’/’vaguely distracted’ facial expression”) with my book

happy tao has sent people 'goodies'

rachel adds the phrases 'i, also' and 'glad that' to my 'personal lexicon of short phrases that facilitate clearer, faster communication' ('seems like,' 'feels like,' 'i think,' others)

the first thing rachel's dad always asks her on the phone is 'is everything alright?'

seems annoying

times when i ask someone if they're alright: when they fall down, if they're expressing having a bad time on drugs, when it seems like they want to be asked that and will resent me for not asking that (**don't like these people**), when it's clear the person isn't alright and doesn't want to talk about it but i feel sensitive/insecure/alone (**usually happens when romantic relationships become less satisfying**)

sometimes my mom asks me if i'm alright and apologizes for things that don't seem to matter

she did something like that on thanksgiving

i said 'you're ruining thanksgiving mom, i can't believe you'd put the corn in the fridge like that without telling me, how did you ever think i would find it without you telling me you moved it, you should be very sorry'

but i said it in such a way...she laughed at me, i was joking...my dad said something like 'goddamnit pam'...good memory...

rachel feels like she's liveblogging in an echo chamber

me too

also i sometimes feel like my brain is an echo chamber and am not well-equipped to 'get out of it.' i used to 'get out of it' with writing but i haven't wanted to write lately

rachel seems to have retreated to the more interesting surroundings of her dad's phone conversation

i'm sort of doing that by writing about other things

we seem to be losing interest in our reviews but pressing onward anyway

or maybe in an 'echo chamber' nothing is more interesting than anything else

rachel says meticulously cataloging insignificant stuff results in an understanding of someone's inner world, and this is valuable to her


she closes with a detail about the thunder and 'i probably love you / goodbye'

probably will not rain in baltimore today

i just peed and the pee was really hot

like it when that happens

going to add rachel on facebook now


Justin said...

i really enjoyed reading this

thank you for reviewing rachel's review :)

Shaun Gannon said...

this is good i like your book what is your opinion of children of dune

Anonymous said...

This is ace. Will you review the comments section of your review of Rachel's review?

Nandikesha said...

reading rachel hyman's review and your review of her review reminded me of the one time when i was a kid and i sleepwalked into the hall and tried to unscrew the light switch plate with my finger. i wonder if i've sleepwalked other times. i wonder why reading her review and your review of her review made me think of sleepwalking. anyway, it was fun.

Stephen Tully Dierks said...

was interested reading this. liked thinking about the part re minutiae. this zen bro maezumi has a quote: "details are all there are"

tomhanks said...

@justin happy you enjoyed, thanks :). it was fun to do

@shaun sweet, glad you like my book. 'children of dune' was slow in the beginning. started liking it more around p. 200. frank herbert says 'presently' more than any author i've read, i think. i like the philosophical things about the universe and consciousness the most, then the relationships between characters, and the military/royal strategy stuff the least. also don't like it when i can tell he's trying to have a message about the environment. i like his style of writing. you into 'dune?'

@anonymous made a space between my last response and '@anonymous.' mom said 'thanks for making the coffee meggie' while i was typing and i said 'sweet' reflexively and with force, like i was trying to 'quickly respond to her comment,' then i said 'thanks.' typed this. read it and thought 'i responded to my mom crazily.' heard wind outside. tongued spot i like to chew inside my mouth. felt 'wry grin' emerge. deleted the words 'on face.' thought 'anonymous wants me to liveblog more than just his/her comment but i don't remember other stuff.' reached for coffee cup. retracted hand. smiled and thought 'you shithead' at myself. reached for coffee and drank. sat in cross-legged position and put hair behind ears. thought 'this could go on forever, what if i just wrote a novel starting now' and scrolled to beginning of this text box. thought 'should i make a space between justin's and shaun's comments to be consistent with space between shaun's and anonymous' comments?' made space between justin's and shaun's comments

@nandikesha damn...interesting. read your comment 3x before deducing a light switch plate is not on a ceiling

@stephen sweet :). first read quote as 'details are all there bro,' hehe. i like that quote

Nandikesha said...

oh that night was the night the light switch plate was on the ceiling and i had grown inspector gadget arms. if i still had them maybe i think i'd find a job. reading yr book right now makes me feel like i'll find one even though i feel like i never ever will with medium sized arms. it's cool that you write and i get to read some of it and feel better.

Nandikesha said...

i read yr book some more and wrote some words for a while and then my phone buzzed and the voice said the job is mine! and this tab is still open and i'm happy and thank you because yr as much a part of it as anything.

JESS!CA said...

Very much enjoyed reading, hope this signals a return to blogging! I dig the 'inner-world'ness of it quite a lot.

Anonymous said...

did i just get incepted? it's a blog responding to a blog about a book structured as a blog...in real time? i think my brain just got hard. everything about this post is superb. and i loved your book. you rock.

Emory Nichols said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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