You can conclude from the glossy surfaces of 'The L Word' that L stands for latte or Lexus and stop there. Or you can notice that in some of its less flashy moments, the show has staked a claim on Large - as in a larger, denser, more ambivalent imaginary world, populated by imperfect and riveting citizens of all sexual stripes.
You can get anything online, including things that don't even exist. We've invented our own collective unconscious. The normal rules of time and space don't apply. It's held together by some other force than gravity. It's endless. It's like some unimaginably huge, messy novel that's writing itself both with and without us.
The ambition of 'Ten Thousand Saints', Eleanor Henderson's debut novel about a group of unambitious lost souls, is beautiful. In nearly 400 pages, Henderson does not hold back once: she writes the hell out of every moment, every scene, every perspective, every fleeting impression, every impulse and desire and bit of emotional detritus.
As readers, we sense when the game is being played for real and when something else is afoot: pride, showmanship, the pursuit of power, self-aggrandizement, revenge, making money. Not that there's anything wrong with any of that, but I dislike closing a book with the sense that I've been had.
'The Girls' tells the story of Rose and Ruby Darlen, who are not only literally but spiritually attached for eternity. Born joined at the head in 1974 to a feckless teenage mother who abandons them, and reared by a delightfully open-minded adoptive couple, the Darlen girls are darling girls, indeed.
Emotional grandeur, rendered in the vernacular, has been Mona Simpson's forte. In her novels, 'Anywhere but Here', 'The Lost Father' and 'A Regular Guy', Simpson wrote wide and long and high about the most profound human bonds: parents and children lost each other, found each other, lost each other again, but differently.
The railroads needed standardized time; as a result, the technology of train travel shaped the way everyone gets up, eats, goes to sleep, calculates age, and, perhaps of no small importance, imagine the world as a whole, ticking reliably, with reliable deviations, according to the beat of one central clock in a physical location.
Writers and musicians are very similar in that the chances of making a life in either field are so infinitesimal. And once you're in, the chances of staying viable are difficult. But there is something incredibly different about performing in front of a live audience, as opposed to sitting at your desk typing.