”Roy Spivey” by Miranda July Sofie 3. b A) Media, music, movies and gossip have a huge impact on the Western world. We know our celebrities, and not just a little bit. We know their addresses, how their bedrooms look and even their dogs’ names. Even the most down-to-earth person would be stunned and star struck if they met Jennifer Anniston, Brad Pitt or any other celebrity. But why do we worry so much about them? Their lives are apparently extremely interesting compared to our own and we would do anything to look the slightest bit like them. Roy Spivey” is written by Miranda July and it deals with this euphoria of meeting a famous person. “Roy Spivey” takes place in an airplane for most of the time. The completely normal main character kindly gives her seat away in an overcrowded airplane and is upgraded to first class. As it occurs to her that “Roy Spivey”, which is an anagram for the name of the actual celebrity, is sitting in the seat next to her, she is startled. She looks at him while he is sleeping and can’t believe that such an amazing person can seem so vulnerable and normal.
When he is about to wake up she hurries to close her eyes, she wouldn’t want him to discover that she has been watching over him and protecting him. This is what she imagines she is doing. He is not fully awake though, and when she opens her eyes for the second time she thinks: “(…) it seemed as if we had woken from a single sleep” (p. 2 l. 16). During the flight they connect and he tells her a whole bunch of intimate things about his life. “ We talked ceaselessly for the next two hours (…)” (p. 2 l. 8) She feels as if she had been enlightened. She tries not to think about her life at home. “It seemed as though I might never have to return to it not” (p. 3 l. 76) At one point she goes to the bathroom to wash her armpits. She accidently spills water on her skirt and makes the whole thing wet, as it is a fabric that changes colour when getting wet. When she gets back to her seat he ask what has happened and she explains the situation. He gets a deodorant from his bag and sprays her with it as if they had been friends forever.
When the airplane starts to decent he gives her his number, except the last digit, to prevent that the number might get in the wrong hands. The last digit is four. He tells her that he has had a great time with her and that she should call him. Even though he tells her to call him she returns to her completely regular life without calling him. Several years after the flight she finds the number in her jewellery box. She feels downhearted that she never seized the moment and called him. “It occurred to me now that I had missed the point entirely” (p. l. 149). She pulls her self together and dials the digits. She remembers the secret digit without problems. She thinks about the number four for a moment and finds it kind of ironic that this particular number was the last digit. “My husband jokes about my lucky number (…) (p. 5 l. 140). She had been using this number when something bad happened to calm himself down. And now this number will help her to get in touch with the man she had enjoyed the best flight in her life with. Unfortunately the number is out of service. I looked down at the number and felt a tidal swell of loss. It was too late” (p. 5 l. 155). The last magic disappears from her life. Before knowing that the number is out of service she at least had the idea of a tiny bit of magic. Immediately her life turns completely normal again. “Our ancient cat pressed itself against my legs, wanting food. But I couldn’t seem to stand up. Minutes passed, almost an hour. Now it was starting to get dark. My husband was downstairs making a drink and I was about to stand up” (p. 5 l. 59).
The disappearance of the magic in her life shows the fascination of celebrities very well. She had always had this feeling of her being a little bit more important because she had this telephone number. Had she only called him she could have had that feeling forever. Reading “Elvis kissed me” by T. S. Kerrigan it seems that the lady in the poem has the exact same feeling. Only she seized the moment a bit more, and that moment is what she lives on. ““Call me cheap,” she sobs”, “or bad, say that decent men dismissed me, say I’ve lost my looks, but add, Elvis kissed me”” (p. 0 l. 11-14). She might not have anything else unordinary but she has the kiss from Elvis, even though it has disappeared from her mouth years ago. But how can something as simple as a kiss mean this much to her? In “Divine trash: the psychology of celebrity obsession” by Erica Harrison she discusses, as described in the title, why we are so obsessed with celebrities. One of the things she claims is that “They play out our collective dreams (…) (p. 8 l. 3). We search for our own identity by comparing us to them, and they make our lives less boring.
I believe that this is well shown in “Roy Spivey” and “Elvis kissed me”, and maybe it is okay to try to make our lives more interesting? As long as we don’t start living in a fantasy world. B) When we read poetry we might not realize how details affect the expression of the poem. Poets and writers invest tons of time in the details. Which type of rhymes should be used, how long or short should the stanzas and verse lines be, which rhythm would fit the story best. Reading “The Ballad of Lucy Jordan” by Shel Siverstein, you see that the rhymes are A, B, C, B in all three stanzas.
This kind of rhyming automatically makes us read two lines as if was one single line, we call this enjambment. It makes the story more fluid and no rhythm is forced to come through. Another way of rhyming could be A, A, B, B. An example could be some lines from the play “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” by William Shakespeare. The first four verse lines goes like this: “If we shadows have offended, Think but this, and all is mended, That you have but slumber’d here, While these visions did appear. “ This type of rhyming forces you to read the poems rhythmically and creates a more narrow form of the poem.
If we take a look at the poem “Elvis kissed me” by T. S. Kerrigan we have these two types of rhyme mixed with each other. The stanzas are only three verse lines and the rhymes are A, B, A. The first stanza is ““Elves kissed me once,” she swears, sitting in a neon dive, ordering her drinks in pairs”. This gives a firm, but still adaptable form of the poem. The reader decides him- or herself how she wants to read the middle line, and the rhythm isn’t that forced. So if you want to write to write a poem yourself one day, think carefully of how you write it