Archive for June, 2012

Sparks: Welcome to Female Trainwreck Week

I’ve always been oddly secretive about what I read on the Internet. (I’m one of those people that think that what you read in some way will come to define you at some point — which is scary considering how much sci-fi/fantasy, business development and fusty classical fiction I read.) I originally posted a list of “What I’m Reading on the Internets” on my monthly mailing list missive, but then thought that public sharing was a better way to spark discussion and at least pay tribute to other Internet writers out there!

So here you go…this week I was fascinated by maybe-crazy ladies, inside guff on how people dealt with social media, a bunch of movie geekiness and had a love/hate relationship with an article written by a writer I generally loathe. So, if I were to concoct a new personality out of this week’s Internet reading I’d be…a lady driven to craziness by Twitter and anti-feminism who drowns her sorrows in a major drug habit while watching “JFK”? I don’t know!

+ Evolution of a Feisty Pixar Princess – Did you see Brave? I thought the animation was stunning but the story a bit underdeveloped — but I will always enjoy learning about the collective creative process at Pixar.

+ Cat Marnell on Jane Pratt, Her Book, and Splitting From xoJane.com – Duuuuuuude, Cat Marnell is legit smart, and legit bananas. I’ve always admired people who are brutally honest and incisive, but frankly my respect is lessened by the self-destructiveness. I think it’s maybe a mark of getting older, but my fascination with people trainwrecks is lot less starry-eyed and romantic. Once drugs have used up her beauty and youth, will there be much fascination left? What do you think?

+ ‘I Just Want to Feel Everything’: Hiding Out With Fiona Apple, Musical Hermit – In many ways this interview kind of upends all the conventions of typical celebrity interviews, and yet upholds them utterly as well. And her new record = so good.

+ Cheap, Chic, And Made For All: How Uniqlo Plans To Take Over Casual Fashion – I enjoyed reading this mostly because I love Uniqlo. I really do love their cheerful, democratic approach to fashion, I wear their jeans and underwear religiously, and never regret my purchases from there.

+ are you feeling social media-obliged? – I loved reading how Sarah Wilson lays out all her social media outlets and how she uses them. It’s a valuable practice in this age when everyone’s doing everything and it’s so easy to fritter away your time and energy on social media, thinking you are doing “work” when you’re really not.

+ Why the 21st Century Author is an Internet Entrepreneur – Reading this left me with mixed feelings and a slight sense of indignation, like, “Did Marguerite Duras or Joan Didion ever have to worry about ‘building a platform’ and getting Twitter followers? Whatever happened to having superlative craft and intensely beautiful imagination and humanity?” But you know, this is just the truth these days, at least if you aim to publish and you’re not Duras or Didion!

+ Spin’s “Girl Issue” from 1997 – Reading the Fiona Apple article above made me remember she was on the cover of the “Girl Issue” that Spin published way back in the day, which was one of my most favorite issues of a magazine ever. I remember keeping my copy of it forevs, though I don’t remember where it is. Oh, my sorrows!

+ Jackie and the Girls – Truth: I really hate Caitlin Flanagan. Okay, not her, but her ideas. But she’s such a good writer that she almost seduces you to her point of view, till you remember how utterly and deeply you are at odds with her ideologically. But in this article she captures in some way both the repulsion and the allure of the whole Kennedy mystique in a way that helps me to get it, having never really been captivated by it in the first place.

+ Rounding Up Iceland’s Horses – Just lovely pictures of nature in Iceland and Icelandic ponies! I have always loved them for their sweet faces.

+ What’s the story with your budget? – The lovely Eleanor over at killerfemme.com is writing about money management, planning and artists, a topic I’m much interested in. If you are a creative who has ever been flummoxed by the financial side of your work, Eleanor’s column is for you!

+ Why Women Still Can’t Have It All – I have soooooo much to say about this article that I find it hard to sum up here, but I’ll try just a little: No, women can’t have it all without something suffering (usually their health and sanity). I don’t think anyone can have it all, actually, though the “not having it” is different for each gender. I think we need to talk about the constant expectation of women being primary caretakers of the house and hearth. I also think what we really need to talk about here is a system that fails to support both men and women in helping to care and educate their children. I also think we need to unpack the entitledness and classist dimensions on “having it all” in the first place, too. I told you, so much to think about!

Birthday Letters: 36 Things I Learned Last Year

Tomorrow is my birthday, which I feel so many things about. Happy, because I like celebrations and commemorations. And excited, because my birthday means cake and ice cream, and fireworks are coming soon! But also introspective, because I’m older and supposedly wiser, but sometimes I wonder exactly how. And maybe even a little weighed down upon, because, you know: the march of time and the press of mortality. The endgame approaches.

I like the idea of years building upon each other, like pieces of puzzles revealing just a bit more of a bigger picture — and at the end you see what a beautiful portrait you’ve lived with your time on earth. I like themes, lessons, the sense that I’m progressing. Maybe these are illusions wrought by the ability of human beings to occupy different existential time zones at once: to be in the past, present and future, often in the same moment. If these are illusions, then I appreciate how beautiful and comforting they are.

Here I am in another year: sitting on a cloudy day at my favorite coffeeshop, typing away on the small, tiny netbook I favor now over my more robust laptop. I am drinking an iced chai as usual, and I’m feeling hungry, craving fresh fruit and cheese. The coffeeshop, the beverage, the writing and thinking and even the hunger: I do this a lot, and I anticipate I’ll be doing this more in the future, which makes the moment seem not so special.

But there’s the way the light streams through the window, the magic hour making everything seem enchanted, even a weird symphonic version of “Scarsborough Fair” on the stereo. The conversations surrounding me: what books people are reading, a Tarot card consultation, a Bible study group, a family planning a wedding. There’s the smell of orange blossom white tea floating in their air and the sound of quiet love songs played on harps in my ears. There’s something lovely in every moment, and today I like to pretend they are all gifts for me.

These are the things I’ve learned in the past year. One for each year I was. I did a teeny version of this last year; this year felt like such a huge growing and learning and loving kind of year, I felt the urge to get epic.


When Fashion Editorials Become Fairy Tales

I’ve been a Yelena Yumchuk fan for awhile. Her photography is dreamy, a little surreal — perfect for visual inspiration, especially if you’re of the magical-realism/supernatural school. I don’t know what’s more lovely in this Vogue Italia photos: the gorgeous natural settings, Kirsten Dunst’s luminous light and coloring or some of these frocks. I want to experience and make stories that feel like these images. Gorgeous and beautiful eye candy!


Currently: Fiona Apple, Spooky Girl Electro and an Evening By the River

Listening: Fiona Apple’s new record = I really, really like it! Am psyched that she’s back. Also been listening to Royal Headache a lot, as well as Grimes, because I need a fix of spooky girl electro and Fever Ray isn’t putting out a new record anytime soon. And a mix CD I made about ten years ago with stuff like Aaliyah, Missy Elliott and Jay-Z: basically a massive Timbaland-fest. It has stickers of Chococat all over it. And lots of Neil Young lately: On the Beach, Zuma, After the Gold Rush.

Watching: Okay, so I watched We Need to Talk About Kevin, and I really need to talk about it with someone. It’s really haunting and good and uncomfortable, and the images are so genius. (It’s a Lynne Ramsay film, of course the visuals are stunning!) I thought it was an interesting crucible for our attitudes on motherhood, culpability and guilt, shifting point-of-view and sympathy in a way that only film can do. I could write a whole essay on subjectivity and film, using it as an example. Here’s my theory so far: the whole film is through the lens of Tilda Swinton’s character — highly stylized and steathily hallucinogenic — but the last scene is the most “objective.” Anyone want to discuss? Also watched: Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, and Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted, which I don’t really need to talk about. We were basically looking for refuge from the 95-degree heat. It was super-cute, but man, do kids’ movies move fast these days.

Reading: I’m reading a few John Steinbeck short novels: Burning Bright and To a God Unknown. Why have I not read more Steinbeck in my life? I’m gonna make up for it now. Lately I’ve been reading all the Anne of Green Gables books, too. There’s something so comfortable and soothing about reading books you loved as a kid.

Wearing: A old Veronica Branquinho button-down as a kind of jacket over a white tank top and skinny jeans (while the weather is still reasonably mild.) With my glasses. It’s a direct rip-off of a girl that I spotted in my favorite writing coffeeshop: clean-cut, quirky nerdy chic but really subtle. I can’t wait for fall, though, I miss my elegant goth fairy clothes.

Eating: Last week was such a good eating week; this one has been crap. I’ve been weirdly unsettled and restless, so I eat stuff like salsa and chips and Gummi worms and convince myself it is sustenance.

Wanting: I still want a vacation, or at least a long beautiful weekend. Maybe Prince Edward Island, in honor of Anne of Green Gables! But I feel pretty content with things overall and don’t want much except for stuff like new Warby Parker glasses.

Needing: Still apartment hunting! God, I HATE MOVING SO MUCH. It unsettles me so.

Thinking: It’s real nuts and bolts kind of strategizing, like aligning and setting in place social media stuff, outlining blog posts, balancing that entrepreneurial stuff with creative labor. Left brain vs. right brain stuff and trying to strike a sense of ease and equilibrium with it.

Dreaming: I had a dream that I was signing up for the most convoluted art museum membership ever, at the oddest museum in a weirdly modernist city. It had these weird levels of participation, including ones that offered a “monograph of the month” club and the chance to be in an ongoing installation.

Feeling: Bubbling over with a strange brew of anxiety at moving (always a given), excitement for a place of my own, and being tired because I need a nap.

Anticipating: My fetal release anniversary day this week! And the dinner that will accompany it.

Loving: Cloudy mornings with gusts of cool breezes; the smell of freshly mown lawns; a new green smoothie recipe; the dance cardio class at my gym, which is basically like a hip-hop class on speed; outdoor pools and swimming laps in the evening; cucumber cocktails; bowling, even when I suck at it, like I did last night; walks by the river, drinking beer, sitting by the edge of the shore and watching the boats float along.

Writing: A short story, and already my next newsletter, which will come out with the new moon in July. I really welcome the opportunity to write more intimately and open-heartedly in a more protected setting. Oddly, it’s made me much more focused and clear about what I will do here and in other Internet-content settings.