Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Literary Fashion: Kiss the Pages

My dear co-grad assistant Heather graduated this spring, and as a gift I wrote her the first chapter of a novel, Kiss the Pages (she added the subtitle Or, How I Saved the World in Just One Summer). Intended to be a send up of the four-girls-with-a-schtick YA novel set in a library as well as a pastiche of the writers we like in general, I made her promise to write me a second chapter for my birthday.

She did, and it was amazing, and I have chapter three in progress as we speak. It's a novel about the quirks of the library system, dealing with broken hearts and weird families, and why you don't piss off the Fae at any cost. Since so many of you guys enjoy literary fashion, I thought I'd share some sets that I've made for the main characters.

Romance outside of ancient myths wasn't exactly a forte of mine. Hell, romance inside ancient myths usually didn't end well, either; someone was always getting cursed by the gods or stolen by enemy troops or sold to the highest bidder or lost to the underworld. Give me books any day--they were safe enough, if you had enough sense not to pick the glowing, whispering, or writing-a-story-with-your-name-in kind

Zoe is based on the work of Neil Gaiman. The Zoe type delights in writing their life story as a folktale, teaching kids how to make origami stars , and researching the best sugar skull recipes, to be prepared for Dia De Los Muertos. She is never without a notebook to jot it all down and a set of markers to illustrate.

I am the girl who wears high-necked lace blouses and corset tops with jeans.

I am the girl who accidentally yanked out one of the meticulously hand-cataloged folklore drawers, scattering stories all over the floor of the research room.

I am also the girl who figured out how to get the Faery Brigade the fuck out of our library.

Juliet is based on the work of Libba Bray, specifically A Great and Terrible Beauty and its sequels. You can find the Juliet type sighing over the Victorian Trading Company catalogue, defrauding the local table-tipper, or searching for a bauble that speaks to her (literally) at the local antique shop. Those quill pens and leather-bound journals that well-meaning relatives like to intimidate you with at gifting times are just right for Juliet's thoughts.

See that girl riding by the book cart, singing "Diamonds are a Girl's Best Friend"? That's Fantine. Her parents were hoping for the next Rita Moreno, but they got Ethel Merman in Dita Von Teese's wrappings.

Fantine is based on the work of Rachel Cohn, Gingerbread and its sequels in particular. The Fantine sort of girl stages guerilla theatre performances, cries over black and white films in the local arthouse theater, and holds long debates over whether who would make a better husband, Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton. Once she's of age, you'll find her belting out obscure showtunes at the local piano bar. (The name of the closest in NYC amuses the heck out of me, by the by. I think it might be the bar that the one in How I Paid For College was based on.)

I usually work in the children’s section, so me and Emma work together a lot. I envy her – she’s got this sense of who she is and what she really wants that I can’t even imagine, even if what she really wants is taken by someone else, and all the confidence she’s got when she’s with us seems to fall away whenever Vassar Girl walks through the room.

Emma is based on the work of David Levithan, especially Boy Meets Boy. Emmas of the world can be found quietly writing postcards to stick in books that they like, knitting sweaters for penguins, and painting landscapes inspired by acid jazz and punk cabaret tunes. She is never without a pocket watercolor palette, tucked into a CD case.

Inquiring minds want to know, which Page are you? Are you a Zoe, a Juliet, a Fantine, or an Emma?

(And now I want to make a quiz, just like the Chicks with Sticks one...)


carey said...

i would take that quiz...i can't decide which one i would be.

Lisa Clark said...

I think I am closest to a Zoe, but that might just be because I have a HUGE crush on Neil Gaiman but I REALLY want to be Fantine! One, because that name is the best name I've EVER heard and two, well, she just sounds so freakin' cool...

Lovin' your work missy...

L x

Callan's Sketchblog said...

hmmm I think I know which one you are ^_~ I think I fall somewhere between zoe and fantine (when I'm in the right environment for my ethel mermanesque flamboyance). Also, I'd have to go with Buster Keaton- I know Chaplin's track record.
But thank you for posting this! I hadn't twigged which authors the girls represented, so it makes a bit more sense now.

Britas said...

I'm a total Juliet :). Great ideas here, I would LOVE to read this story!

I think I've commented here before, but let me say again how much your blog utterly enchants me. We have such similar taste, it's really amazing! You are so inspiring.

I'm hoping to start my own, more public blog, sometime soon. I'd love to get to know you better when that happens! :).

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