currently reading, musings on art, quotes

currently reading: “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.”

“With an unprecedented degree of leisure time, and more media access than ever before, the fifties woman was the single most vulnerable woman in American history to the grasp of prefab wholesale thought, and by extension, to the men who made it.”
– Sam Wasson, “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.”

In a fascinating study of how the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and, by extension, Audrey Hepburn changed the face of multifaceted women in film, Sam Wasson lays out the history of the short novel by Truman Capote and the backgrounds of the men who were up against the Code and each other to make a smart, funny, truthful film about people who have sex, as people do.

By taking the reader through the back story of Hepburn’s career and how the American public had {have} been forced to view life through the camera lenses of Hollywood, Wasson provides some insight that still resonates today on how people in general and women in particular are often at the mercy of the men who decide what we watch.

The quoted line could just as easily include today’s women, though I’d suggest we, perhaps, have less leisure time and at the very least more methods of media consumption, though whether our choices aren’t as neatly made by prefab wholesale though is up for debate..

fantastical friday

fantastical Friday: March 28, 2014

have completed the chopping of my hair, after finding super long bangs to lack enough change for my current taste. Though I want to stop feeling boring, and I’m sure a Jean Seberg pixie will help, changes in real life and not just outward appearances are likely necessary to do so.

I’m in a Book Club. You probably are, too.

a series of haunting and mesmerizing photographs from World War I that were, in all reality, relegated to the garbage.

dogs. in a photo booth.

an interview with Robert Penn Warren  from the Spring/Summer 1957 issue of The Paris Review includes this delicious phrase, “Such a man didn’t look “historical” thirty years ago. Now he looks like the thighbone of a mastodon.”
He also noted, ” Once you are engaged by a subject, are in your book, have your idea, you may or may not want to do some investigating. But you ought to do it in the same spirit in which you’d take a walk in the evening air to think things over. ”
One final phrase that truly struck me, especially as I plug away at the book, as an excellent reminder, “Your business as a writer is not to illustrate virtue, but to show how a fellow may move toward it—or away from it.”

6% of Americans do not want former Secretary of State, Senator, and First Lady Hilliary Clinton to be President of hte United States because they view her as unqualified for the position. 4% do not want a woman President at all.

currently reading, musings on art, quotes

currently reading: “Riding the Rap”

“Raylan…did something every lawman knew guaranteed attention and respect. He racked the pump on the shotgun, back and forward, and that hard metallic sound, better than blowing a whistle, brought the two guys around to see they were out of business.”
– Elmore Leonard, “Riding the Rap”

Leonard knew just how to set the tone for a story and to explain the actions and motivations of a character in the quickest of ways. I think I”ll go want the pilot episode of Justified {the FX series based on a short story Leonard wrote about Raylan Givens, which incorporated parts of the story of “Riding the Rap” in the third episode of the first season} now.

fiction, new from the book

new from the book #7

it isn’t seemly to be so excited by progress, yet I am.

“Moments passed. The men tried to exchange covert glances. The plan had not detailed what to do between finding and digging open the grave and carting the body back to town. There was no rope to haul up the coffin, no space to tear off the lid if it remained in the grave.

McKnight took action, stepping across the gap and hacking a couple of steps into the sides of the hole. The basis was there already, drunken men not being the best at neat shoveling. His own shovel had a square edge, instead of the borrowed spades most of the men had brought.”

fantastical friday

fantastical Friday: March 21, 2014

for once, the fact that it is Friday hasn’t completely slipped my mind.

In a shout out to one of my favorite Supreme Court Justices {yes, I’ve more than one. blame law school}, Garrett Epps takes to The Atlantic to tell people to stop telling Ruth Bader Ginsberg to retire.

Garance Dorẻ has been working on a series on Parisian style and attitude, and this quote from Catherine Deneuve particularly resonated, though not because I am French. “If I’m not interested in the person that’s in front of me, I don’t go out of my way. And because I am a pretty quiet person, I can look totally cold. Too bad, but I’m not going to change now. I’ve never been able to pretend. That’s the way it is.”

Speaking of style, this article from The Telegraph on the women who divide style opinion between men and women is absolutely true, and an excellent example of the modern woman’s dressing for herself or other women instead of men.

My sister and her husband are due to have their first child in June. I think I might just pre-order Dinner: The Playbook for them, in an effort to help two busy working people keep on top of the whole cooking dinner thing.

Due to that first child {a nephew. so excited}, I’ve also been hearing a lot about parenting guides. While I do think my sister and brother-in-law will do just dandy at the whole parenting thing, there has been a huge change in childhood play. Children do not explore as they used to, and while, “one common concern of parents these days is that children grow up too fast…sometimes it seems as if children don’t get the space to grow up at all; they just become adept at mimicking the habits of adulthood. As Hart’s research shows, children used to gradually take on responsibilities, year by year. They crossed the road, went to the store; eventually some of them got small neighborhood jobs. Their pride was wrapped up in competence and independence, which grew as they tried and mastered activities they hadn’t known how to do the previous year. But these days, middle-class children, at least, skip these milestones. They spend a lot of time in the company of adults, so they can talk and think like them, but they never build up the confidence to be truly independent and self-reliant,” writes Hanna Rosin in The Atlantic, in a study of “The Overprotected Kid.”

Finally, The Smithsonian is telling us The 20 Best Small Towns to Visit in 2014.

Some excellent reminders of life lessons from a thirty-year-old, at least for this person turning thirty in August. Also, I’d rather enjoy a 30th party of dear friends & family, Champagne, gowns, and chocolate cake.

musings, musings on creating

writing delusions

In my head, in my fantasies, in my deluded thoughts, I can write easily and beautifully, but only under a certain set of circumstances. I am alone, but people are near enough to seek out when I need a break. I have tea or wine or whiskey or water or snacks, but am not distracted by them. There is silence, or maybe music. The scene is in an apartment in a beautiful small city, maybe the pretend Radio City that a character thinks exists near New York City in “Company.”

I have traveled to get there, and arrive in an entirely new place refreshed and ready to sit down and write. I do so at a refurbished desk, or maybe am roosted to perfection on a couch, or perhaps a divan. There is natural light, and a view, but not one so extraordinary that I am distracted from writing. In this scene playing out in my head, I am famous. Not the sort of famous that does not allow for public travel, but famous enough that NPR’s bookers call me. Famous enough that I run into famous people, and they have enjoyed what I have written, have been moved to thought by it.

No matter what, in this delusion, I write. I write easily. The thoughts flow and fill pages. I do not stop to check Pinterest. I do not look at Facebook or Twitter, my email alerts are silenced, I do not wonder if I am missing a text. In this fantasy I write.

Though this fantasy is entirely in my head, it also comes true. I do not need to imagine myself in a new place, at a special desk. I have a perfectly serviceable corner of the spare sitting room at my parents’ home with a lamp and a desk and natural light coming from a window I cannot easily see out and be distracted. Once I put my mind to it, stop checking Pinterest and Twitter and Facebook, stop worrying about my phone, and stop distracting myself by blogging, I do write. If I manage to distract myself from worries and concerns and turn off all of the bits of my brain but the writing bit, I do write.

I do write easily, and while time will tell if it is beautifully, I do produce pages of work. I just need to turn off the bit of my head that would rather focus on delusions. In the real world, in this world, right now, I write.