I applied lipstick, and took a step back to regard myself. I might never pass for one of Millicent’s set, but I had banished the wan, harried, dowdy Ramona forever. I took a solemn oath that morning that I have, in fact, kept: as long as I lived, whenever possible, I would have my clothes made in France.
On my feed recently, someone quoted @goftyler’s tweet – “The dog’s got a butt funk and he’s been shunned from the couch” – and commented, “most grotesque tweet I’ve seen in a long time….also a poem?” Yes, according to Lerner’s definition.
I think about my own modern dressing, about the overalls my mother gave me when I was the same age as the boy in the painting. The metal hook-and-closures were easy, accessible to my tiny hands and their limited fine motor skills. I handed them down to my brother, who is three years my junior. Much of what we wore couldn’t be categorized by gender. They were garments intended for transfer.
Being a woman in any industry is tough, especially one that is typically dominated by men, like comics. Last year the Angloueme Comics Festival in France made a list of 30 "lifetime achievement" cartoonists which didn't include a single woman. On the extreme end you have to worry if the male strangers who are super-involved in your social media are stalking you, on the low end you have to hear your work compared to that show "Girls."
Stuffed birds, small cat; Ramona waits for news of Millicent’s looming trial, Lucy (Helvstead housekeeper) comes to London, and the mystery of the body in the cellar and ignominious truth of the story behind it are revealed; illegal production of cheese; the mystery of the postcard writer is discussed and remain tantalizingly insoluble; Millicent and Ramona meet.
The furry trout is the scapegoat, the victim, the source of all mysterious disappearances in Panini Shop. If a six-months aged Manchego goes missing, if a prosciutto is misplaced, if a bottle of organic cold-pressed extra-virgin olive oil discomfits, Julio tells Shanice it must have been the furry trout. It has magical powers, Shanice. Its fur can hypnotize you, Shanice. Stay away from the furry trout—cuidado señorita, el furry trout viene para comer te. And why do you think a girl wants to hear about a hairy fish? Lovely Shanice.
Humboldt was in awe of the city’s BIGness. No, its vastness. No, its peopleness. The city was a big, vast peoplefarm. Nooo, its pigeonness! The city was a big, vast pigeonfarm! New York City: the peoplepigeoncity. As Humboldt watched, the city transformed itself into a gigantic, concrete birdcage full of peoplepigeons. These strange creatures spent their days foraging for food and desirable reproductive qualities, while continually defecating on each other.
When my husband and I first reveal that we are booksellers, there are a few different responses that we may get. One of the most puzzling ones goes something like this: "It’s really too bad... "
Yet something has changed. I see love as the great leveller now.
I sleep well most nights because I’m worried most nights. Sometimes I worry about my marriage, sometimes I worry about my sickest patients, and sometimes I worry about the admittedly nebulous concept of “life.”
I'd known one other house that smelled like French vanilla coffee creamer. But this is the one that troubles me. Every house has a smell. But you can't smell your own house. You smell it, but it doesn't register. Garbage and roses and spoiled milk and curry and dirty diapers and bleach are smells in your house, but they aren't the house smell, which you don't know. If you think you know your house scent, you are mistaken.
It wasn't until the third of fourth day that I started to notice the change. No one told me that I was brave anymore. No one said I was bold. No one called me a whore, either, which was nice. In fact, no one really talked to me at all. People talked to Sam. They asked Sam where he was from and where he was going and then they smiled at me and made on their way. Now that I was traveling with a man everyone stopped making a fuss about me. It proved what I was only just beginning to grasp from my time on the road alone—a claimed woman was a safe woman.
“I’m lost,” I said. “I can’t even find the name of the road I’m on.”
Pretentiousness provides a justification for lying, which I do all the time as a doctor. I know that sounds awful, but it’s also entirely true, and not just about my doctoring but the doctoring of virtually every physician I know. If “lie” is too uncomfortable a word, then substitute “act,” as Fox does.
So much pleasure and winning of hair we’ll have, his hairpiece says while massaging its bulge, which may or may not be more hair.
With that, all the really important things all going on behind everything as he had told her, came from his eyes, and from the walls, all around them, and she saw it; lord God, he was so wise. Lord God!
Helen Macdonald mentions D.W. Winnicott in H is for Hawk, but she does not relay the pediatrician’s famous line, “It is a joy to be hidden but a disaster not to be found.” Training the goshawk is a way for her to go into isolation after her father’s death. Lisicky pores through his friend’s old emails. Alexander lies in bed, after her sons have left for school, and dreams of her husband. Eventually, they all want to be found, which is why they’ve written these books. Likewise, I suspect my patients feel the relief of being found when they unburden themselves to me in the safety of my consultation room.
In the backyard, the tree is bare and my father is still alive. The man is skeletal. His translucent skin hangs loose from his thin bones. Each of his ten fingers are crooked and bent, and he holds them in the air, above his sunken chest. He has little lung capacity left. He opens his mouth, his teeth are rotten, and he says, Help me. His voice is a whisper, and repeatedly, like a prayer, my father says, Help me.
This is an excerpt from a book about my grandmothers, Dick and Jani, both born during WWI before women could vote, but who cut very different paths through the 20th Century. Whereas Jani crashed through three violent marriages and became an activist feminist-teacher in the 1970s, Dick had wanted to be an artist but swallowed that dream in order to work in a factory to help her family during the Depression. Because of this violence Dick did to herself in order to survive, I wanted to give voice to a part of her that I believe existed - even if buried nuclear-bunker deep.
The kids are alright, and the feminist zine community is thriving, caring, full of information, funny AND has a sense of its own storied history. What's not to love?
I couldn’t picture Brighton futzing with the colored lights, laying the fir boughs gently along the planter box’s ledge. These were the doing of the wife, I supposed, like most things tedious and decorative.
The tree had never felt at home. Even as a sapling. Always on the edge of a clearing. Not in the forest. Not even in the middle of a field like some wise, powerful tree, holding its own.
“Do you wanna gulp helium with me?” asked Monkey point-blank.
I read dozens of year-end book lists in December, which forced me to reflect on my own, odd year of reading – odd in that nearly every book I read prompted me to watch corresponding video on YouTube.
2016 is going to be amazing!
But let me tell you about the time in my life I was taking care of these little puppies nobody wanted when I got the idea in my head to write a hit country record.
It was our street and everyone in the surrounding neighborhood knew so. Yet, every year during the first couple weeks of June we would have two or three people who would seem to forget this. Their miscalculation was in their failing to drive their car on through to the next block, avoiding our block altogether, past Alger to the south side of Raymond. And, when failing to do so, we would let them know, by refusing to move out of the street, muttering profanities, spitting on the cement, and hurling tennis balls at their car's headlights. They would all catch on after that.
It’s a treat in this month’s Trafika Europe Corner to hear, read, and see her work from the Faroe Islands in three media – with two short poems that she’s written and recorded in Faroese language, then translated for us into her native English, accompanied here by a couple of her photographs. Some clear essence of this very remote island life – situated between the Norwegian Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean – certainly comes through in these concentrated parcels.
I learned early on that if you’re going to care, like, truly care about something, you really just can’t let other people in. You have to create a sanctuary inside yourself, where you keep a tiny person who is what you would be like if the world were a different place. It’s your job to keep that person safe, and the internet can ruin that. Maybe you know about the new thing, where the providers of a service rate the consumers of that service? If you want to become a person who is the Pope in your field, you can’t read those reviews.
Speak in dripping, positive tones about everything. Thank everyone. Ask for money if you need to in a way which appeals to the richest or most influential person in the room.
Hey Jerry, are you ready for Winter? What's fashion forward this coming season?
And it isn’t clear at all, to me anyway, that talking about love helps us love better — especially if all we are doing is talking about sex as a proxy. Loving, as a sustained practice, is what makes us love better.