Friday, March 26, 2010

Happy 80th Stephen Sondheim!

Stephen Sondheim, a man responsible for writing lyrics to and composing some of the greatest musicals of all time, (including the lyrics to West Side Story) celebrated his 80th birthday this week. But that wasn't all he was celebrating. In honor of Sondheim and his musical career The Henry Miller theater in New York was renamed The Stephen Sondheim Theatre. While I'd argue Henry Miller still deserves the title as well, it is nothing short of a miracle when an artist of such epic proportions actually lives long enough to see the success of his achievements...

More on this at cute is he in this pic? When the Broadway marquee was revealed...

Interview with Frank Conroy

I like what he says about reading to write...

“I don’t believe in the natural writer. I believe in the natural reader who gradually begins to write. You can’t write independent of literature, so you read, you read, you read, you read, you read, and then you begin to write. A lot of it is mysterious." - Frank Conroy

Agreed. :)

For more of the interview:

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A note on non-fiction...

a brief quote from David Shields, during his interview with the LA Times about the ideas and writing of non-fiction, that I really like...

"Memory is a dream machine. Nonfiction isn’t “true.” It’s a framing device to foreground contemplation, or at least it is in the nonfiction I love the most — nonfiction at the highest reaches of literary art. I want to redefine nonfiction upward — taking nonfiction’s limits and reframing them so that nonfiction can be a serious investigation of what’s “true,” what’s knowledge, what’s “fact,” what’s memory, what’s self, what’s other. I don’t want a nonfiction full of “lies.” I want a nonfiction that explores our shifting, unstable, multiform, evanescent experience in and of the world."


Ps- I also want his new book:

Monday, March 22, 2010


Is it sad that I'm already looking forward to this movie? August 13th feels like a long ways away, but I can already guarantee I will be there opening weekend for this one. The movie is based on a non-fiction novel written by Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman in her late thirties who has found herself divorced and alone. (Well not alone exactly. There is her hot younger boyfriend, (played by James Franco in the movie!) but still. She is discontent, as so many of us are, and so she sets out for a little adventure.

Not only is Eat.Pray.Love one of my all time favorite books, I've also recommended it to just about every one of my friends. If you haven't read it, I suggest you do before the movie comes out this summer. I just hope they get it right. 

I read the book on a flight to New York last summer, a trip to visit one of my best friends. I desperately needed a vacation, an escape from anyway, I have the absolute worst luck ever when it comes to traveling. My flight, which was supposed to leave at 7 a.m. that morning, got delayed and then cancelled. At which point I had to spend the day at the airport standing by for the next available flight. 10 a.m. Nope. Full flight. 12 p.m. sorry, full again. 1:30 p.m…Better luck next time.

I finally made it on the flight leaving at around 2:30 in the afternoon only to sit on the runway for almost another two hours. Needless to say I had plenty of reading time. The book put a lot of things into perspective. It's shockingly honest at times, but let's face it; it was exactly what I needed to hear back then. 

So when I finally arrived in New York it was late and my friend had to work the next day, but we decided to go for a quick night cap. We ended up meeting a couple of production guys who were working on the set of; you guessed it, Eat.Pray.Love. How ironic that this was the same story that had been keeping me company all day. We walked over to the little stone street where they were filming hoping to get a glimpse of Julia Roberts; we were told we missed her by about two minutes. Basically I’ve been waiting for the movie to come out ever since.

But back to the book; when I really love what a writer has said or written I like to dog ear the pages, (I think half the pages in this book are dog eared by the way) just in case I ever want to go back and look. You know, like little reminders to myself.

So I thought I would share a few of my favorite words of wisdom from Liz:

"But it wasn't all bad, those few years...because God never slams a door in your face without opening a box of Girl Scout cookies (or however the old adage goes)."

"The ancient Indian Yogic text says...It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly than to live an imitation of somebody else's life with perfection. So now I have started living my own life. Imperfect and clumsy as it may look, it is resembling me now, thoroughly."

"Love is always complicated. But still humans must try to love each other, darling. We must get our hearts broken sometimes. This is a good sign, having a broken heart. It means we have tried for something." (okay so this one is actually her Brazilian lover talking to her, but it's still a good one). 

"People universally tend to think that happiness is a stoke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you're fortunate enough. But that's not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it." 

…And there are so many more, but really, just read the book. See the movie. She is amazing and basically I want her life...

Now if I could just get someone to send me away to three diverse, incredible, wonderfully beautiful countries and pay me to write about it...I was going to say "maybe someday", but I'm kind of sick of someday...

Well, until next time.

For an update on this and a review of the movie...see my essay on Thought Catalog

Monday, March 8, 2010

Am I completely mad?

Mad Hatter: Am I mad?
Alice: 'fraid're completely mad. You're absolutely bonkers...but I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are...

LOVED this movie! Do yourself a favor and go see it NOW.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pretty Books

This is my friend Sara's blog...funny that she posted these book covers because we were just talking about this in class the other day. To most people a book cover may just be a book cover, but to the artists that design them they are a work of art. A lot of time and thought get's put into the cover to give the prospective reader a sneak peak into the words that lie beneath the surface. After all, we all tend to judge a book by it's cover, in spite of our best attempts not to...

This particular book is on my list of MUST reads...

I can't wait to have Sara design MY book cover. Someday...

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

So I'm actually kind of shy and awkward...

But sometimes this happens...


Vodka Models? Maybe...

Full Moon

Today there is a full moon. I know its probably silly and superstition but I can't help but believe that this has some kind of effect on life's little happenings down here on earth. Full moons make people act crazy. They make us do things we wouldn't normally do and they mess with our heads. As I'm writing this I'm thinking I may have done something I shouldn't have done. I blame the moon.

But that's not what I wanted to talk about. Today was a weird day. I woke up not to my rude alarm clock at 5:30 a.m., as I have unfortunately become accustomed to, but to something resembling the sound of a helicopter. I quickly brushed this thought aside seeing as it seemed highly unlikely there was a giant helicopter outside my window. I got up to investigate. It was 5:45. (I should have been up 15 minutes ago anyway). Imagine the shock I felt when opening my back door to let my dog outside and finding a very large, very loud helicopter souring over my neighborhood. Now, I am not a morning person. So while you may think this would have enticed me to investigate further. It did not. I was tired and my dog was not cooperating. It's just a helicopter Cooper, it's okay to go outside...apparently he didn't think so.

As I stepped out of the doorway and down the stairs to accompany my dog and hurry up this daily process, I couldn't help but notice the bright lights out of the corner of my eye. It took my brain a few seconds to register exactly what was going on...bright Yes, there was definitely an extremely large fire spreading across the top of the street. I can honestly say I have never seen flames that big, that close and it was rather terrifying.

With the power in our house out and my brain still only half functioning in its non-caffeinated state, I woke up my roommates and we quickly used our phones to send pictures to our parents to ask them what to do. (It's okay, you can laugh). Living in a house of three single girls, with no boys to speak of in close proximity, aside from my 7 lb. maltese puppy, we have no choice but to call for reinforcements every once in awhile. I'm not saying its the most practical solution, but it has proven to produce results in the past. For example, the parents were also notified when we first moved in and didn't know we had to call to have our water and heat turned on; lucky for us the 'rents pulled through and we figured it out before the water actually got turned off, but it did result in some very cold showers. Another time we enlisted the parents expertise was when we thought we broke our garbage disposal. It's kind of a sensitive devise in terms of appliances and it had decided to stop draining. We let this go on for, well to be honest, entirely too long. One day, when I could no longer ignore the fact that our kitchen was beginning to smell a bit like left over gravy gone bad, the parents pulled through by informing us that garbage disposals come with a reset button. I think you get the point. Needless to say I was very proud of my new found plumbing skills.

Now, where was I. Oh yes, so while our parents assured us, via the local morning news, that the fire was contained; we decided to confirm their reports by stepping outside the front door and into the yard to see for ourselves. (I know what you're thinking). The police officers surrounding the street solidified the reports from our parents and we made our way back inside to sit in our dark house with no TV, no internet and no lights to speak of aside from a few candles. And really, this would happen on the one day of the week I leave the house at 6:30 in the morning and don't return until after 10 p.m. Getting ready in the dark is not my forte. This actually makes me think of another funny story that involves me and zippers, but I'll save that one for later.

So off to work I went with half straightened/half curled hair plastered to my head in the best side pony I could manage for what I had to work with; all the while thinking to myself that at least today would be an easy day at work. But alas, I did not take into account the full moon. Within the first 30 minutes of being there, before I could even get my second cup of coffee for the day, my boss called to inform me there was a massive wreck on 35 and he was going to miss his flight to Mexico. Normally this wouldn't be such a big deal except for the fact that ground transportation had already been arranged to pick him up upon his arrival, arranged by someone that spoke Spanish; someone that was not me. Nor did I have the contact information to the transportation services. (Probably a good thing as I'm not entirely sure my Spanglish would have gone over all that well). On top of that he had also managed to pull his achilles' tendon at some point between the car and the airport. This meant I would have to change his flight and hotel for the next day, so he could get home early and get into a doctor. (At least I know the moon gods do not discriminate). On top of my travel agent duties I also had to somehow manage to do may actual job. I don't think I looked up from my desk or away from my computer until around 2. At least the madness was half way over.

Aside from a few glitches here and there, the rest of the day proceeded with somewhat normalcy. In class we discussed Severance, the book we had been reading. A book that fictionalizes the final thoughts of mostly famous, sometimes made up, figures throughout history who all had one thing in common. Death by decapitation. Usually these were done by guillotine, but there was also the occasional ax or accidental decapitation by elevator, car crash, etc.  An appropriate novel for a full moon.

Then comes the thing I did that I shouldn't have done that I'm not going to talk about. So I guess that concludes this day, although the full moon will be out for a few more hours. You never know what could happen.

Until next time...