IT CHOOSES YOU

Miranda July instantly became a favorite creator of mine since the day artist Jason Polan introduced me to her work, almost five years ago. She writes stories, makes movies and sculptures, and seems to have a grasp of humanity that few possess.

So, what’s so great about this Miranda July?

I just finished reading Miranda’s newest book, It Chooses You, and am left wondering. About life, about death, about my work. Most of all, I just want to finish the projects I’m involved in right now, but I feel a strange obligation to share my thoughts on this book.

While writing her script for The Future, Miranda encountered a bad case of writer’s block. When nothing else seemed to work, she noticed that her constant source of inspiration was coming from the classified ads. It Chooses You is a work of nonfiction in which Miranda contacts people who have posted items in the Pennysaver classifieds in Los Angeles. The items listed are small things, and the people are asking for little money: a leather jacket for $10, 50 Christmas card fronts for $1, photo albums for $10 apiece, bullfrog tadpoles for $2.50 each. Miranda can’t help but wonder about the people selling the items and what their lives are like, that they would be selling such seemingly insignificant objects for such little money. She asks people on the phone if she can go to their house to check out their item, and to interview them, with a camera and tape recorder. While most people don’t take on her offer, those that do are recorded in this book. People like Joe:

It’s an intimate look into the lives of people that we would otherwise never meet or know about. Like most of her work, Miranda reveals her own inner-workings, as well as our own. As I read, I couldn’t help but respond, in some way, to the stories and photos in the book. They demand attention, and yet, in the physical world, these people are most likely ignored by others just like the rest of us.

What started out as a distraction from a case of writer’s block has turned into a cure and Miranda’s newest work of beauty.

You can find out more about Miranda July on her website, and you can get her book, It Chooses You, from the great folks at McSweenys.

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