I Kissed a Door – Miranda July

Now that I know, it seems so obvious. Suddenly, there is nothing I remember that doesn’t contain a clue. I remember a beautiful blue wool coat with flat silver buttons. It fit her perfectly, it even gripped her.

I’m finding it more and more difficult to care about the short stories in No one belongs here more than you. That may, in part, be due to the large library of comic books I am currently building, but I suspect that the reppetition of July’s stories are also responsible. As I’ve stressed in almost every reflection I’ve written about July, she is a fantastic writer, and she knows the craft very well. In fact, even as I force my way through I Kiss a Door, I’m impressed with her effortless execution of sophisticated mechanics. Seriously, the girl can write.

That said, I think I Kissed a Door Illustrates something unexpected. The story is told, again, from an unnamed female narrator. Once more, this narrator seems fragile and insecure, sexually adventurous, and somewhat disillusioned. It’s the same character. Now, I’ve mentioned that July’s stories in this collection feel like studies, and I think that stays true in this piece. It feels likes she is trying to figure out a character for a larger work. Looking at it with that perspective makes the entier collection more impressive, but as a straight collection of shorts it tends to get, well, boring. And that’s what I mean when I say I Kissed a Door illustrates something unexpected: July has taken the creativity out of creative writing.

Though, somehow, I don’t think that’s fair. I don’t think it’s fair to judge July’s creativity based in these merits. Instead, I think it’s more appropriate to assume that these collected stories have been put together and presented inappropriately. From what I can tell, No one belongs here more than you. is presented as a collection of short stories, nothing more. However, in reading it, I don’t think that works. I think it’s unsuccessful in those terms.

In other terms, looking at it as a collection of studies, or having them included as supplements to larger works, I think it works a lot better. That makes it a matter of perspective, and I think that means something. It means that July is a talented writer, yes, and it means that these stories are all decent (at worst), and it means that there is a considerable talent at work. It also means, unfortunately, that talent without the proper presentation can fail.

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