It Chooses You
Miranda July, with photographs by Brigitte Sire, It Chooses You (San Francisco: McSweeney’s, 2011)
Fiction writers often believe that their craft is a method of communicating a truth that is deeper than can be told on the surface. As Elie Wiesel once wrote of his novel, Night, “Sometimes you have to tell a story to tell the truth.” This book is Miranda July’s nonfiction story of how she was able to finish a nonfiction project. She was procrastinating finishing a screenplay when she chanced upon the idea of interviewing the people who placed ads in The PennySaver, a booklet of free want ads and coupons that was delivered by junk mail to her home.
What she discovered in her interviews was a view of real people trying to make it in a real world that is vastly different from that of a screenwriter trying to find the right words for a script. The book contains verbatim reports of the interviews along with provocative and often humorous commentary about each. The result is the story of how connections have been made in unexpected ways and how real life can provide the energy to tell a story.
The result is a glimpse at a world that the readers would never have seen were it not for Miranda’s process of working through her procrastination.