Saturday, September 23, 2017

music of the week

Goldfrapp was in town this week. I don't understand most (okay, any) of the lyrics but I love their pure electro-disco escapism and strange, naughty videos.

My city is heartlessly and yet somehow heartily demolishing its musical past, so I feel an urgency to see as many musical performances as I can while I can, especially in the venues that seem vulnerable--the Blue Moon and the Kraken and Re-Bar. And now I guess, the Highline.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

and more new construction

In other news, this charming structure is now under my care. I have a lot of waterproofing, insulating and installing to do yet, but the bones are there and I couldn't be more excited to get started.
And, we have had rain the past few days. After a summer of prolonged heat and fires and smoke, it is most welcome. The air is fresh again. The trees breathe. And I relax into the gentle thrumming.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

new construction

I've been reading memoirs in preparation for--well, I don't like to say what for, so suffice to say I'm delving deep into the world of memoir. It's a genre I've mostly avoided, in part because the form reminds me of testimony time at church, back when I was a kid, and as a born-and-raised p.k. let me tell you, I've heard puh-lenty of maudlin tales. I'm also no fan of sappy endings, everything has a reason narratives, or true-love-conquers-all kind of quatsch.
Exceptions to my strict no-memoir rule have been: Katharine Hepburn's Me, and Agatha Christie's An Autobiography, both life stories related by iconoclastic females who succeeded by being themselves, ignoring or subverting the male gaze, and looking, as far as I can tell, to impress no one. So I'll definitely re-read those.
In service to research I've read, mainly courtesy of the SPL in the past couple of weeks:
The first three books had forewords, which I usually skip but in light of this being a research effort, I read. I still don't get the point. Why write a foreword to say: "I wrote this book." I mean, obvs! Let's get on with it! Skip.
I couldn't finish the Rick Bragg book. The dialect, or more precisely, the good-old-boy prose rhythms, really bothered me. His mom sounded courageous but a whole book? Not for me.
Boy I've read many times, and it's more a collection of anecdotes, than a proper memoir, but I enjoyed Dahl's easy prose and vivid scenes. For me it added up to a tale of a European childhood no longer possible, the genesis of so many classic and beloved books. And yet I remembered as I read that, per his daughter and ex-wife, Roald Dahl grew up to be a less than kind and generous human being.
Didion's book is a real gut punch, beautifully written of course and a perhaps unintended window into the Writerly Classes I've always feared and yet somehow envied their LA/Upper East Side/Hawaii circuit.
So, the reading continues.
Also, keep an eye here for fiction news in a couple of weeks. A story I've loved and been shopping around has finally found a home.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

superfluous children

Hilary Mantel's piece in the Guardian on Princess Diana ruthlessly lays bare deep truths about the blushing blond princess. In doing so, Mantel also has a lot to say about the public's--our combined--ok my own!--projections and fantasies. Without quite knowing why, I examined every page, pored over every deliciously airbrushed photo in the 1997 Vanity Fair cover story, Diana Reborn. I wasn't a romantic, I didn't believe in fairtales or happyily-ever-afters. And yet, I was dazzled too. I too could not look away. "Was she complicit," Mantel writes, "or was she an innocent, garlanded for the slab and the knife?"
As the third daughter, was she, a third girl child, a disappointment to her aristocratic parents, desperate for an heir? I hadn't known that Diana's older brother died as a child, or that her mother deserted the family. Quoting a Jungian: "Unwanted or superfluous children have difficulty in becoming embodied; they remain airy, available to fate, as if no one has signed them out of the soul store."
And the real kicker:
When people described Diana as a “fairytale princess," were they thinking of the cleaned-up versions? Fairytales are not about gauzy frocks and ego gratification. They are about child murder, cannibalism, starvation, deformity, desperate human creatures cast into the form of beasts, or chained by spells, or immured alive in thorns. The caged child is milk-fed, finger felt for plumpness by the witch, and if there is a happy-ever-after, it is usually written on someone’s skin.
 Read the entire piece, if you dare.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

aesthetic ghosts

Watching Yves Saint Laurent's 2002 retirement speech gave me life this week. Quoting Proust and Rimbaud, this remarkable artist said, among other things:
  • I have lived for my work and through my work
  • Fashion's role was to...reassure them (women), give them confidence and allow them to assert themselves
  • Every man needs aesthetic ghosts in order to live. I have pursued them, sought them, hunted them down
  • I have known...anxiety, fear and terrible solitude...I emerged, dazzled but sober
  • The most important encounter in life is the encounter with oneself

Yves Saint Laurent's Retirement Speech, January 7, 2002 from ketty mora on Vimeo.

Saturday, August 26, 2017


I haven't done much writing lately and it's weighing on me.
I have done a lot of thinking, though.
There's a story I've been wanting to tell for so long, and each time I start to write it, I lose my way, lose my confidence, the writing of it feels so icky and bad, that I quit.
But, I think I have a new way in.
Inspiration galore the past few days:
  • I watched The Incredible Jessica James movie on Netflix. What I loved: her character's passion for the stage and plays and drama, the alienation of being at home with family, her joyful dorkiness, fan-girling over the playwright at her drama school workshop
  • I re-watched a few series, including Master of None--do not sleep on this show, it will change your life. Also, Fleabag, Atlanta, Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl
  • And this tweet from Mr. L-MM:

Saturday, August 12, 2017

a breather

The smoky haze blanketing my town is finally blowing away. Enough with the sweltering days and muggy nights, please! Everyone has kennel cough and crusty eyes. We need a break.
Also, enjoy this semi-natural creation. This is not my usual shtick. Consider it a breather from the overstuffed ottoman and all of the above.

music of the week

Goldfrapp was in town this week. I don't understand most (okay, any) of the lyrics but I love their pure electro-disco escapism and stra...