Monday, August 23, 2010
I am oddly fascinated by the idea and greedily read the entire article this morning before work upon its discovery. Sacks writes about his ailment with a deft clarity and lets us into his tricky world with an empathetic voice that understands our confusion.
Again, the links:
Radio Lab episode: Strangers in the Mirror
New Yorker article: Face-Blind
Friday, August 20, 2010
Thursday, August 19, 2010
-Joan Didion, Slouching towards Bethlehem
What Didion is suggesting is a net. When I first came across this bit of Slouching Towards Bethlehem, I read it in terms of past failures, past embarrassments. 'Do not forget to acknowledge the error of your ways' I could hear her preaching through those thick rimmed glasses and that strict black turtleneck. (I always picture her looking down at me, although I'm sure I stand two feet dominant.)
But it wasn't until reading this chapter for the gazillionth time last night that I realized that Didion is in fact commenting on our innocence. In addition to our embarrassments, or mistakes, and our demons, Didion is referring to our Best Selves. (I realize that this may sound a little GOOPy,--goopy! ha!-- but let's try to think of it as literary and maintain some dignity, shall we?)
You see, I can scroll through this blog-- my notebook of sorts-- and tell just by my confidence in prose who I was at the time. I can tell when I felt beat down and I can tell when I was being built up. I can tell when I was happy and excited and bursting at the seams to share and I can tell when I was dark and trying to shroud it in excuses. Yes, I can get dark. You've yet to see it here, on these pages, but I can get dark and it isn't fun for anyone.
I just entered my fourth year in this city and while I bask at the knowledge I've gained in the past three years, I cower at the harshness that all too quickly leaves my lips. I will call out that cab driver for taking the wrong exit and I'll aggressively lurch at the rudeness of waitstaff. My blood boils over slow walkers on Broadway and I despise loud teenagers on the train. I didn't used to be that way.
The point is this: New York can make you hard. And without acknowledging the people we used to be, we will not only forget who we were, but who we are.
If you're familiar with her more famous essay in Slouching Towards Bethlehem, 'Goodbye To All That', you know to what I'm referring. It's a mean essay, a hard one, especially for young girls who are new to New York. It was a mean thing for me to read my first week here, sitting at the reception desk of my new job as an assistant at an important publishing house (or so I decided to believe.) I read the essay with a knot in my stomach, scared to death that one day I wouldn't be the girl in love anymore. That one day I would turn into a girl locked in my apartment with a paralyzing fear of the city. But even amidst her harshness, Didion gives us a nodding glance at her past self:
Happy weekend, New York. I'm off to eat a peach.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
This poem was recently featured on Garrison Keillor's Writers' Almanac (which I usually listen to in the morning between my shower and my coffee. It only takes a minute!). I've written many times about love in it's many forms-- the vastness of love beyond Eros-- and Addonizio nails its impact. The seventh 'I love you' is my favorite. Enjoy.
Forms of Love
I love you but I'm married.
I love you but I wish you had more hair.
I love you more.
I love you more like a friend.
I love your friends more than you.
I love how when we go into a mall and classical muzak is playing,
you can always name the composer.
I love you, but one or both of us is/are fictional.
I love you but "I" am an unstable signifier.
I love you saying, "I understand the semiotics of that" when I said, "I
had a little personal business to take care of."
I love you as long as you love me back.
I love you in spite of the restraining order.
I love you from the coma you put me in.
I love you more than I've ever loved anyone, except for this one
I love you when you're not getting drunk and stupid.
I love how you get me.
I love your pain, it's so competitive.
I love how emotionally unavailable you are.
I love you like I'm a strange backyard and you're running from the
cops, looking for a place to stash your gun.
I love your hair.
I love you but I'm just not that into you.
I love you secretly.
I love how you make me feel like I'm a monastery in the desert.
I love how you defined grace as the little turn the blood in the
syringe takes when you're shooting heroin, after you pull back
the plunger slightly to make sure you hit the vein.
I love your mother, she's the opposite of mine.
I love you and feel a powerful spiritual connection to you, even
though we've never met.
I love your tacos! I love your stick deodorant!
I love it when you tie me up with ropes using the knots you
learned in Boy Scouts, and when you do the stoned Dennis
Hopper rap from Apocalypse Now!
I love your extravagant double takes!
I love your mother, even though I'm nearly her age!
I love everything about you except your hair.
If it weren't for that I know I could really, really love you.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Sloane Crosley (I know.) said it best in her recent compilation of essays, How Did You Get This Number:
What I want to say is this: Here is a country that is ours but not ours. A crazed landscape of death and marriage with bells to acknowledge both. Here is the longest breath of fresh air you will ever take, the bluest stream you will ever dip your hand in, the humane thing to do. Why does none of it show up on film? Maybe I need a better camera."
With his typical passion and verve, Saltz gets us excited about paintings, makes us want to dip into the Brooklyn Museum, MoMA, The Met, The Frick. Not an easy task, with rooftop bars calling our names. I also like that he narrowed the category to Western paintings and didn't attempt to appease everyone across the spectrum. I mean, genius Jerry, genius.
I'm going to go out on a limb here, by asking for comments, but what are your favorite paintings, in New York, or elsewhere? The first one that pops into my head is this piece by Tiepolo on display at the Met, at the top of that white marble staircase right when you enter. Refreshing, indeed.