Feeling displaced and shaken from birth
I am not surprised this author has never exactly seemed to fit in. Being the weirdo in the room
is what she says she is used to. But she defiantly prefers to reject them before they rejected you
. But this sophisticated and crazy spinster outsider manages to make me want to be led on a walk with her like a cat on a leash.
Jessa Crispin, in just one published book, has surpassed Geoff Dyer on my favorite memoir/travelogue/litcrit list. Her fabulous courage to attack and gallantly face her fears head-on far exceeds anything my previous hero Dyer ever managed so far, himself, to do. Crispin may even be funnier than Dyer; she is at least as clever. The prose in this book is steady and clear, a comfortable stream, relaxed with no pretentious outbursts meant to impress us into believing how brilliant a writer she truly is. She adroitly presents appropriate examples of literary icons she chose to follow to their deaths and why. Except Crispin isn’t really following anybody. She is leading her pack of one, which by my guess has to now number at least hundreds. But I wouldn’t follow her just anywhere, as I have already suffered enough throughout my own many journeys. However, I would be more than interested in reading about hers. Anytime. And if Crispin is a feminist, as some have already classified her, then I am one too. She takes no prisoners in her every criticism, and that includes the women as much as any man she used to find these interesting dead ladies.
Crispin claims she is herself not beautiful, but I take umbrage in her assessment. And perhaps that is too strong a word for what I mean. But I know that to be afforded the opportunity to casually sit across from her, even in a lousy cafe, would be a pleasure few of us can say we ever had. I found her writing, her conversation, remarkable for several reasons, but most of all because she is so damn interesting. And honest. Sometimes brutally, which is refreshing to me. And she is not mean-spirited in her assessments of others, but she is not reserved at all in her commentary. Her studies and experiments in travel support a life now-deemed worth living, and even in its precarious difficulties is better than her killing herself in Chicago. And that is not to say she won’t at some future time. As imperfect as she and her life might be at times, she is undoubtedly brave and willing to take the necessary risks in order to live. She follows her heart, or is at least determined to learn how to. But picture this: She resorts to carrying her own unwieldy bags simply because she can, and thus appears in my mind, and is perceived, far sexier than she affirms as homely. She is a beautiful person, and made obvious in this important book.