The Discomfort Zone, Jonathan Franzen


Short stories on his life as a child to an adult that weave back and forth. Two Ponies on the life of Charles Schulz, creator of ‘Peanuts’. Schulz wrote Peanuts as a way to forgive himself, his family, his faults. He wasn’t an artist because he suffered, he suffered because he was an artist.. and chose his art over the comforts of a normal life grinding out a strip every day for 50 years. A choice only a tower of strength and sanity can make. Franzen relates this to his father and his own relationship..” a few times he ever played catch with me, he threw the ball like a thing he wanted to get rid of… the few childhood stories he told were only about his dog, Spider and gang of friends in this little town where they lived.” Centrally Located focuses on his own gang of friends growing up, doing mischievous, yet highly sensible and thoughtful pranks on the high school where they habited. Their pretends of feelings they were never going to die as we all do growing up. The problem of consciousness mixed with nothingness that never goes away. You never stop waiting for the real story to start, because the only real story, in the end, is that you die. My Bird Problem is Franzen’s thoughts on climate change, bird watching (which is a passion of his). The birds plight to be needed help. And realizing this was the true disaster for a comfortable modern America – not the world’s falling apart in the future, but his feeling inconveniently obliged to care about it in the present. His divorce from his first wife and the mutually need to radically change themselves for the other, and how unappetizing that is. As he took whole days, weeks for birding throughout the country realizing these solitary trips his affair with birds began to compound the very grief he was seeking refuge from – his family, girlfriends, life. Refuge cannot be obtained by experiences… rather they can be enhanced.