Archive for December, 2011

Teeny Tiny Stories

December 30, 2011

I recently read a book that I picked out because it was rated as “Highbrow” and “Brilliant” in  New York Magazine‘s Approval Matrix, which is super embarrassing and would likely lead to this blog post and perhaps even me, as a Cultural Figure, being labeled Highbrow/Despicable (because let’s face it, while I may certainly be a twat much of the time, I am by no means “lowbrow.”)  This book, entitled 420 Characters by author and illustrator Lou Beach, contains a bunch of mini-“stories” that Beach originally posted as Facebook statuses.  This book will certainly be touted as one of the early examples of the genre that yours truly has dubbed “Twitterature.”  The Twitterature genre will continue to grow –– of course, only a matter of speaking –– now that the seedlings of Six Word Memoirs (Smith Mag, beloved by gift book publishers) and seven word stories (Opium Magazine) have been planted.

What do I think of Twitterature, though?  Glad you asked my opinion –– I love to give it.  Sometimes the tiny pieces can incite intrigue and imaginative wanderings, but many times they fall flat to me, as they seem born of a writer’s laziness to refuse to construct a plausible and/or poetic ending.  In other words, the writers give in to their natural human predilection to indecision, a micro-sin under the “sloth” umbrella.

So, while Beach’s book was meh entertaining sure whatever, there were only two pieces that I found memorable, both of the slap-my-thigh-and-call-me-Sally funny variety.  Here we go:

“I don’t care much for plucky heroines.  I do have a soft spot for hard types and waitresses and divorcees.  Which is why I like Reno, I guess.  I can hopscotch and hobnob, bourbon in hand, from lounge to coffee shop to poolside.  The Rogaine is saying, ‘Harvest time!’ and the Viagra fills me with that can-do spirit.  I’m on fire, baby!”

Okay so maybe there was only one that stuck with me that way.  Here’s another I liked, though, also sort of funny:

“Ann O’Dyne, nurse, had healing hands, wee mitts sprung from the cuffs of her crisp white tunic.  Her voice was gold, a brook in the meadow.  It washed away fear and anger, discomfort and pain.  She was the pride of the ward, the whole hospital, the surgeon’s pal, the patient’s savior.  At home, her feet hurt, she drank, slept with a butcher, called talk-radio programs, ranted about illegal immigrants and the Jew-run media.”

And another I sort of like although it’s a bit cheesy:

“Kiss me a question, ask me again with your eyes and I”ll answer with my fingers, trailing reasons down your spine.  There’s a theory behind your knees and a postulate in that sweet spot on your neck, and I’ll respond to your query with a smooch and a holler, roll you up against the sink and wash your hair, make love till the plates fall of the shelf.”

Now, here is me, wishing I were Lou Beach (subtitle: resisting making fun of the trend by declaring the new hot thing ONE WORD LIT and writing my masterpiece THE, and waiting for all the critics and readers to declare it “eerie” and “expansive”):

Me, Wishing I Were Lou Beach

Timmy Simons tried to brush the gravel off his scraped knee but some of it stuck in the puss.  He winced when he looked down at the raw, red patch.  Crouched on the ground, Jimmy glared at Leland as his neighbor rounded third and lifted his arms above his head triumphantly.  Leland who could do a back dive without flinching and who third grade girls thought was cute even though Leland was in second grade.  One day Jimmy would get Leland.  Jimmy had seen Leland’s mother undressing at night.  He knew the secret.

And finally, my TOUR DE FORCE!
SHINE.
The end.
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Ack!

December 28, 2011

I’ve been too tired from eating too much peanut butter honeycomb pie (ridiculously amazing) and so I have dropped the posting ball!  I have about a billion ideas, though, so here’s a funny face (from my 25th birthday party) to tide you over:

Happy mustache!

OOPS

December 20, 2011

I actually meant I forgot to post my snippets of dreams “poem” in the first place!

Snippets of weekend dreams: packing up fur coats, Vaclav Havel, a waifish former friend, a drive to Michigan, a new job at The New Yorker, a meditation on dreams versus fantasies (this is after watching Inception.)  Also Paris with waterslides, and… see below.

Not too shabby, subconscious.

TWO THINGS

December 20, 2011

1. I forgot in my dream snippets “poem” to include:

Back in Paris,  which had WATERSLIDES!

My own studio there –– teeny tiny, containing one big bed and seven fluffy armchairs

Sneaking into a gorgeous apartment and finding a lamp made from butterfly wings

2. Reaction to Last Week’s (?  I don’t even know what my name is anymore) Article in the Times about Facebook:

MT: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/14/technology/shunning-facebook-and-living-to-tell-about-it.html?hp

kind of a weird article, like the angle it takes

me: i don’t feel like i miss shit

from not being on facebook

MT: yeah neither do i

doesn’t mention the kind of stigma experience ive had

me: oh like

too cool for facebook?

MT: at a bar, was very well hitting it off with this girl who was a friend of a friend

when she was heading out

i was like, can i have your number

she said she would just look me up on facebook

i said i didnt have facebook, and she gave me a look like i had a rap sheet or something

me: what!?

that’s crazy!

MT: like i must be somehow untrustworthy that she can’t look to see if im not crazy

i feel like its become this weird semi social litmus test for people, being able to survey facebook before gearing up actual interpersonal relationships

its like “nope, i want to find out everything about you before i actually have a conversation”

me: yeah

it’s socially sanitizing in a way

i’m pissed someone wrote this article before me

MT: haha

i think you may take a little different route though

and its been written before

maybe not in a major publication though

me: totes

i’ll think of my own spin maybe

?

MT: yeah

well, you’d also have to include the fact that you wanted to get rid of your cell phone and replace it with a landline that can’t dial out

me:  yes

i would certainly include that

that is good info

MT: yep

 

 

 

*As always, Gchat conversations are edited for clarity and content, aka to make me — and occasionally the other chatter — look better/smarter than is the case.

Overheard on the Subway

December 16, 2011

“I mean, we need real celebrities, not WAYNE BRADY and former bachelors…”

The Worst Sales Pitch Ever

December 15, 2011

Not surprisingly, I am not on LinkedIn, but of course they send me tons of emails asking me to join (or suggesting that, without my knowing it, I am already a part of it.)

Here is one they sent me this morning, with possibly the least enticing hook line of all time:

“ID, see who you already know on LinkedIn.”

But… I already know them.  So… why do I need LinkedIn?  Well, lovers of social networking would say, perhaps it’s an easier way to keep in touch?  But LinkedIn digs its grave even deeper!  It continues on to say:

Now it’s easy to connect with people you email.

But… I ALREADY EMAIL THEM.  WE’RE ALREADY CONNECTED.  So if LinkedIn knows that I already know these people and also that I already email with them… then what exactly are they offering me?

PSA announcement to, oh, everyone: Just try harder, okay?

Good night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest

December 14, 2011

George and little Sylvia!

Listen, I’m pretty cynical, I swear.  I don’t read self-help, try not to use the word “vibes,” and never take intellectually serious anyone who asks me what my sign is.  So I’ll get it if you don’t believe me on this, but hear me out…

Last night I had a dream I was back at Shakespeare & Co., the storied bookstore (pun intended) where I stayed in Paris a month ago.  There were a number of us “tumbleweeds,” all pale girls with long hair wearing ethereal, long white dresses.  It was very sunny outside.  The staff told us all to come upstairs because they wanted to talk to us.  My first thought was, “Oh no, we’re in trouble because we forgot to lock the door or weren’t on time for our shifts or something or other.”  When we got upstairs, we paired off and held hands, for some reason, and then they told us that George Whitman had died.  I remember a wail, and me bending at the waist and beginning to sob.

And then this afternoon, my dad send me this:

Founder of Paris Bookstore Shakespeare & Co. Dies

By JENNY BARCHFIELD

Paris (AP) — George Whitman, the American bibliophile whose iconic English-language Paris bookshop, Shakespeare and Company, has been a haven for book lovers for more than half a century, died Wednesday, the store announced on its website. He was 98 years old.

Whitman “died peacefully at home in the apartment above his bookshop,” two months after having suffered a stroke, a posting on the store’s site said. Whitman “showed incredible strength and determination up to the end” and read every day with his daughter, Sylvia, his friends and his cat and dog, it said.

“Nicknamed the Don Quixote of the Latin Quarter, George will be remembered for his free spirit, his eccentricity and his generosity – all three summarized in the Yeats verses written on the walls of his open, much-visited library: ‘Be not inhospitable to strangers / Lest they be angels in disguise’,” it said.

Nestled on the left bank of the Seine River, Shakespeare & Company is a veritable warren of books, stacked with volumes from floor to ceiling. Since its founding in 1951, the shop has been a beacon for writers and would-be writers, whom Whitman allowed to crash in the store in exchange for help around the shop. Boarders, browsers and Whitman’s beloved pets could be seen snoozing among the stacks. Any visitor is welcome to curlup to read in the comfy chairs that dot the store.

In an interview this year with The Associated Press, Whitman’s daughter and the store’s manager, Sylvia Whitman, said “My father says it’s a Socialist utopia masquerading as a bookstore.”

Whitman was born on December 12, 1913, in East Orange, New Jersey. His twin loves of the written word and foreign travel were nurtured early on, when his father, a physics professor who authored several books on science, took the family along for a yearlong sabbatical at a university in China in 1925.

After a host of adventures abroad in his early 20s, Whitman enlisted in the U.S. Army. During World War II, he was trained as a Medical Warrant Officer and treated the wounded at hospitals across Europe, the posting said.

Whitman moved to Paris permanently under the GI Bill in 1948. Three years later, he founded his bookshop in a rickety old building directly across the Seine River from Notre Dame cathedral. Initially baptized “Le Mistral” after the blustering winds that blow in off the Mediterranean, the shop’s name was later changed.

Regarded as an institution of Paris’ cultural scene, Whitman was made an officer of arts and letters by the French Culture Ministry in 2006. Whitman is to be buried in Paris’ venerable Pere Lachaise cemetery, where the remains of giants of literature including Oscar Wilde, Balzac and French poet Guillaume Apollinaire rest, the posting said. The date of the funeral has not yet been set.

Whitman is survived by his daughter, who will continue to run the bookstore.

Texts from the Past Few Days

December 12, 2011

IS/PS: I’m stuck in traffic adjacent to a store called interior illusions.  I thought you would appreciate this.

—-

Me: I want to be a stand-up comedian.  Thoughts?
LB: id come.

and i wouldn’t heckle.

Me: Good enough for me.

——

HW: Hav tmporary phon but it is missing th lttrs btwn c an g.  How phun phor mi.  Gt any sliip last night?

—–

LB: I’m reading about being a Taurus, as if it will help explain the way I am.

Me: Ha!  I’ve never felt like a typical Taurun.  What does it say about us?

LB: Hard-headed pragmatists

Yet inhumanly flexible

Ha.  And we’re susceptible to charm.

Sorry, but this is good.  We enjoy the pleasure of the table and bed.

And, when things aren’t going well, we may sink into an emotional slump for long periods of time.

Me: This all sounds familiar.

A Weekend Inside, Working

December 11, 2011

“It is not necessary that you leave the house. Remain at your table and listen … The world will present itself to you for its unmasking.”

Thanks for the support, Kafka.

Another Book in the Wall

December 9, 2011

I would be probably the 8 millionth person to praise the practice of using books as decoration objects, so I won’t.  Instead, I will present you with a small anecdote and then a few images.

When I was living at the bookstore in Paris (“living” used lightly, as I was there for only nine days) the owner, Sylvia Whitman, said that the reason they prohibited customers from taking pictures downstairs was because, among privacy reasons, one woman took a picture of the books, made a wallpaper of the image, and then sold it to Philippe Starck (or something like that… somehow this wallpaper ended up in Philippe Starck hotels.)

I was wondering if perhaps this was the same wallpaper I found the other day on Anthropologie.com…

I really like it!

… which I must admit I really like!   I even like the use of it in this fake catalog room:

= SUBTLE

Here is a picture I took at S & Co., which I now use as my desktop background.  Looks almost as cool as the catalog room.

Taken UPSTAIRS!

Go ahead, steal it.  If you manage to make some profit off it, just take me out for a glass of wine.