when you get starstruck seeing the very pretty bookstore maven Sarah McNally at a Park Slope eatery. SARAH I LOVE YOU!
Archive for March, 2014
Sometimes when you’re a freelancer, you write two essays a day. Sometimes you talk to 70 high school kids for three hours. Sometimes you peruse Amazon.com for “fridge magnets” (yes, I am currently obsessed with fridge magnets) and find yourself cackling to yourself on your couch, your hands covered in Cheez-It dust, when you find this:
“In France one realizes immediately that one is living in a world of adults; the children take second place. With us, as everyone knows, the children seem to come first. As a result we have men and women who have never matured, who are eternally dissatisfied, and who have no real respect for anything, least of all for one another. Is not much of the morbid, frenetic activity of the American traceable to the restlessness and discontent of childhood? The needless destruction and reconstruction which is constantly going on, presumably in the name of progress, is of a pattern with the behavior of the spoiled child who, weary of his building blocks, destroys with a sweep of the hand what he has struggled for hours to create. The only valid reality with us seems to be that of kindergarten.”
A) Hanna Rosin
B) Anais Nin
C) Pamela Druckerman
D) Mireille Guiliano
E) Adam Gopnik
F) Other (Name: ________)
When I was a child, I used to pour over the catalogs that came into our house and carefully note the items I wanted to purchase. I’ve always been meticulous in charting my desires, and though my parents and boyfriend (this one’s for you, sweetheart!) make fun of me for obsessively making lists (my book wish list is divided into need to buy and have purchased but not read) I find a great, though empty, comfort in it. Herewith, thirty things you, my loyal readers, are welcome to give me for my 30th birthday, a bit more than one month away:
2. P-Touch labelmaker
3. Bensimon sneakers
4. An old school Gameboy with Tetris and ONLY TETRIS
5. Popover tin
6. This mug
7. Tiny sheepskin rug
8. Any piece of jewelry that has a human body part on it (like a hand or an eye.) This sounds cryptic, but examples abound.
9. Gold mascara
10. Any patterned turban
11. A laminating machine
12. Any lounge pants that can be worn on the couch or outside, to fit my freelancer’s lifestyle
13. Mini stairs!!!
14. Dorothy Parker doll
15. The Tenant on DVD (yes, I still want to own physical DVDs)
16. Cool frum skirts
17. Anything from the Evolution Store
18. Le Creuset anything
19. This is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen:
20. Illustrated Tender Buttons, as featured on this website
21. New bathing suits (athletic and not)
22. A tray made by my friend EM, mosaic artist
23. an endless supply of Meyer’s candles
24. Bunny chair, also featured on this site
25. A keychain (lame, I know, but you have the potential to get creative with this one!)
26. Chanel pearl bobby pins
27. An assistant (for just one day a week)
28. Millions of pairs of black opaque tights
29. File cabinet
30. A $500 gift certificate to a cool independent bookstore… OH WAIT…
Grace’s rough-hewn father, John B. Kelly Sr., was already well on his way to parlaying a $7,000 stake into a multimillion-dollar masonry empire when he married a photographer’s model, Margaret Majer. It was “Ma” Kelly who established a set of rules that Grace would live by: “Be just, be punctual, buy only what you need and pay cash.”
Seemingly aloof and withdrawn, Grace grew up under the shadow of achievement (though John B. Kelly’s financial success—he built Philly’s Packard Building—could not buy him Main Line social acceptance). Grace’s father was a superb athlete who had given up boxing to take up rowing and in 1920 won the Olympic single sculls championship at Antwerp. When he wasn’t allowed to compete in England’s prestigious Diamond Sculls at Henley because he “worked with his hands,” he found an avenger: his own son. Kell vindicated his father by becoming a championship rower himself, winning not only the Diamond Sculls but almost every other single sculls championship in the world.
Friends now say John B.’s single-minded determination was not always healthy. “John expected a great deal from his kids,” says Gam. (Years later, his son Kell’s self-confessed philandering helped shatter his first marriage and caused the mother of his six children to remarry and leave Philadelphia. In 1975 Kell’s well-publicized fling with a striking transsexual named Rachel Harlow—formerly Richard Finocchio—was a factor in his decision to drop out of the mayoral contest in Philadelphia when the opposition threatened to campaign with the slogan “Do you want Rachel Harlow as First Lady of Philadelphia?”)
Grace had her own problems with her demanding father(who died in 1960). She did play hockey and swim, if only to please her dad, but with some trepidation. “Poor Grace was something of an outsider at home,” said a friend. “John wasn’t interested in anyone unathletic. He had no appreciation of culture.” From the beginning Grace preferred solitude. She wore heavy-rimmed glasses to read, danced barefoot with her tomboy older sister Peggy (who often went without stockings or shoes) and would daydream about becoming a dancer, an actress, a nurse or an FBI agent. “Grace wasn’t shy like you read everywhere,” insists Peggy, Daddy’s favorite, “she was just quiet.” Still, Lizanne recalls the day “I hid Grace in the closet—and nobody missed her.”
(From People Magazine’s Tribute Piece)
I had grand plans to write something here––a Q&A Fran Lebowitz style, a dissection of a recent funny encounter I had with a child actress, a poem by Elise Cowen (come to think of it, I should have gone that route)––BUT I just spoke to high schoolers for THREE HOURS about my book, life, etc., and I’m totally wiped. All I want right now is meat and a nap. So, with that in mind, the coolest thing I’ve seen in ages:
The other night at dinner, my dad mentioned Chris McCandless, the wanderer whose death in the Alaskan woods was the subject of the terrifying book Into the Wild. For reasons unknown to me––not particularly interested in the outdoors, nor the youthful idealism that comes from reading too much Kerouac––the book gripped me from the first sentence, and haunts me though I’m not at all at risk for succumbing to the same misanthropy that McCandless did. In any case, my dad told me that that every year, numerous people die trying to hike the same trail McCandless did, and there is a subculture of people devoted to the deceased’s specific brand of sustainability. Of course I thought, “What a great idea for a story!” But of course, it’s been covered––quite well, in fact, by a writer for Outside.
“[Claire] Ackermann, who was from Switzerland, and [her boyfriend Etienne] Gros, a Frenchman, had been hiking the Stampede Trail, a route made famous by Christopher McCandless, who walked it in April 1992. Many people now know about McCandless and how the 24-year-old idealist bailed out of his middle-class suburban life, donated his $24,000 in savings to charity, and embarked on a two-year hitchhiking odyssey that led him to Alaska and the deserted Fairbanks City Transit bus number 142, which still sits, busted and rusting, 20 miles down the Stampede Trail. For 67 days, he ate mostly squirrel, ptarmigan, and porcupine, then he shaved his beard, packed his bag, and started walking back toward the highway. But a raging Teklanika prevented him from crossing, so he returned to the bus and hunkered down. More than a month later, a moose hunter found McCandless’s decomposed body in a sleeping bag inside the bus, where he had starved to death.
“This tragic story was told by Jon Krakauer in the January 1993 issue of Outside and later in his bestselling 1997 book, Into the Wild. The book, and a 2007 film directed by Sean Penn, helped elevate the McCandless saga to the status of modern myth. And that, in turn, has given rise to a unique and curious phenomenon in Alaska: McCandless pilgrims, inspired by his story, who are determined to see the bus for themselves. Each year, scores of trekkers journey down the Stampede Trail to visit it. They camp at the bus for days, sometimes weeks, write essays in the various logbooks stowed inside, and ponder the impact that McCandless’s antimaterialist ethic, free-spirited travels, and time in the Alaskan wild has had on how they perceive the world.”
Welp. There goes that idea.
You know you’re getting older when you no longer want cocaine to go clubbing, but rather to have the energy to clean your house after a long work day.
“What the really great artists do is they’re entirely themselves. They’re entirely themselves, they’ve got their own vision, they have their own way of fracturing reality, and if it’s authentic and true, you will feel it in your nerve endings.”
ID: I pitched an essay connecting alcohol abuse, David Foster Wallace and True Detective. The second it was accepted I began to SEVERELY REGRET SUGGESTING IT.