Mostly (not) on McSweeney's!

A blog for my academic ideas, more or less.

Franco Franco

James Franco is interviewed in The Panorama Book Review in McSweeney’s 33.

James Franco has a short story in The Panorama Book Review in McSweeney’s 33.

In case you didn’t know, James Franco is doing an MFA in fiction. He has been popping up in ‘literary circles’ and this is an example of this. Does this seem fair or unfair? I don’t think this a question I care about that much.

In the Pabst Blue Ribbon he is ‘in conversation’ with Miranda July. I like Miranda July.

Franco and July talk about crossing the boundary between film and writing. Both have made films. Both consider themselves at least to some extent writers. Franco talks a bit about his writing activity in relation to his acting work.

I did some awful movies that I wish I hadn’t done. But they made me realize that acting wasn’t my main interest. So I decided to put time into the other things that I love and do it in a serious way. There’s little more I can do. I can’t control how people are going to read what I write, but at least they can’t say that I’m moonlighting.

It seems like a problem he comes across a lot. Or thinks about a lot. That he is in a privileged position of not having to work full-time for his living and so can ‘indulge’ himself in writing. I don’t think he should worry so much but I guess I can understand it comes with a lot of baggage to be a famous actor in a writing class.

I had been curious about his writing since I heard he was doing an MFA.

He has a story called ‘The Actor Prepares’ in the PBR. It is enjoyable to read. It has a pleasing mix of short and long sentences. It has a nice doubling effect of the protagonist drawing on his experience to create his art and (presumably) the author drawing on his experience to create his art.

The Actor prepares. It is hard to prepare. He has had a good life. Except for a few DUIs, he can’t think of any painful memories. The power of his grandfather’s death has faded. He feels nothing for his dead cat. He needs to feel bad. He uses his imagination. He thinks of little Caleb standing in the road. Caleb gets his by a car. His head comes off. The little head with blond hair rests on the pavement. The Actor cries.

It is strange to think about the story without knowing it is by ‘James Franco’. But it is by James Franco.

The McSweeney’s newspaper issue is very big. I have not yet read all of it. I will do so soon.

I am currently reading Penelope Fitzgerald’s The Blue Flower for a book group. It reminds me of the sitcom Arrested Development.


Filed under: reading

4 Responses

  1. Tanya says:

    You know, I have always liked James Franco – he seems approachable (whatever that means), human, aware? I continue to like him, or respect him, maybe more so because he is aware of his privilege. I find that refreshing and honorable.

  2. Nikita says:

    Just finished his book “Palo Alto” and realized “you have to write what you know”. He knows and has lived: harsh, blunt, in your face, direct, no bullshit slam into you prose. After viewing his art work on-line I have mixed feelings. I’m thinking like a psychiatrist saying wow what a messed up childhood what kind of parental upbringing and environment was he exposed to growing up. No wonder he chose these items as artistic resources to heal past trauma. Because thats what I see in his artwork. Trauma, coming to terms with, acknowledging and releasing pent up emotions/feelings and shame. My question to you is (especially the women) would you think his writing and artwork were good if he was ugly? Now if only I could find a man like him with a less hectic schedule, that doesn’t get paid every 4-6 months to perform with, kiss and fondle the most beautiful women in hollywood at a theater near you.

  3. Nikita says:

    All comments/feedback welcomed.

  4. Mark Jones says:

    Hey Nikita, you do know he asked for other people’s experiences for material? Most likely a good deal of the book isn’t even from his own past, just appropriated from some other dude. Check Wikipedia.

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