I'm going to try to talk more about things I care about
Heyyyyy there friendly people with thinking heads,
Hello! It’s been a long day, hasn’t it? Tell me about it! That was nice, but enough about you.
I’ve decided it’s time I start talking more, here, and in general, about the things that I care about and the things that matter to me. I’m sure I could craft some heart-rending essay about how I came to this realization but I know this internet thing is all about the shortness and squishiness so let’s ask this long-winded lady writer to do her best to cut the NPR-style personal story and get to the meat:
I’ve been thinking a lot about how disenfranchised I feel. I vote, but none of the specific issues I care about seem to be acknowledged or respected by any of the people who represent me. And as a result, many of the things I care about seem to be disappearing or at risk. It makes me so angry I can’t even talk about it in person, because I simultaneously feel rage and ‘What’s the point?’
And while I may not have a clear manifesto or doctrine or political alliance (or really any political knowlege to speak of— mama’s a pretty Naive Nancy over here and my ideas are all pretttty basic), I do know when something upsets me or makes me happy.
And, actually, it’s kind of my fault if I don’t talk about when those things happen in a more public way. Because then the people who represent me will DEFINITELY not know what I care about.
So I’m going to start talking about them. I’m going to start *trying* to engage in discussion with my representatives (political, cultural, other)— and not in a shrieky or demanding or shrill kind of way. First, because that’s not my style, but second, because that’s no way to ask someone to fight for something you believe in! Y’know? I am just going to level with them. Talk with them. Let them do their job of hearing me as I also do my own job of voicing my thoughts and concerns.
I’m going to start talking here and on the Twitter and whatnot about things that bother me and things I’m pleased about and I’m not going to try to be witty or ironic or clever about it. I have to be clear. And then, if still nobody cares about what I think is worth acknowledging or protecting or fighting for, I’ll know it wasn’t my fault for not stating things clearly enough.
So that is all. Oh, except for that also I think I’m going to extend this gesture from politics and culture straight through to restaurant reviews. Going to be jibba-jabbering lots more. So you can look forward to that, rather than me just sitting here quietly stewing about the fate of our world. That, and more restaurant reviews. Boom.
And by the way YES I realize this is all painfully earnest. May I remind you that I tried, and failed, to launch an earnestness movement several years ago. So don’t act so surprised!
Rachel Arons writes about the challenges of capturing “Lolita” in a single image, and a new book that commissioned designers to create covers for Nabokov’s work. Click-through for a slide show of a selection of covers: http://nyr.kr/11xdKnr
Cover design by Aleksander Bak. Image courtesy Print Books.
This is a noise that happens in my apartment. It is not coming from my neighbours above or to the side, and I have no neighbours below me— just the laundry room/mysterious storage areas of my apartment building.
This noise happens at random times and random days. Sometimes I won’t hear it for several days in a row. Sometimes, like the past two days, I hear it almost every hour of the night.
It doesn’t happen in the daytime, only at night. It happens most often at 3am and 4am, but also sometimes at 9, 10, or 11pm.
Sometimes when I hear it, I run through the apartment building, trying to find where it’s coming from. There is never anyone around in the areas where the noise seems to be coming from. There are never any monsters around (that I can see).
For the love of all things mysterious sounding: Do you know what this sound is? And can you tell me how to make it GO THE FRANK AWAY?
Sasha Weiss considers why people find Anne Hathaway, Hollywood’s “happy girl,” to be so annoying: “Little girls learn very quickly to modulate their excitement if they want to be acceptable… Anne has somehow managed to retain that bright look, and many people would like to wipe it off her face.”
“Most educated people can name half a dozen poets who are more famous for their messy lives and deaths than for their poems… The narratives endure because they align with the popular understanding of what it is to be an artist.”
Sarah Manguso writes about Sylvia Plath, who died fifty years ago today, and looks at the changing way we talk about mental illness: http://nyr.kr/1576DDa
until the strings on my various instruments get all grimey and oxidized and gross and I require new ones.
I would visit you more often, but then I’d “accidentally” buy more instruments.
Today, though, I have a strong yearning to play my mandolin, which is in dire, dire, dire, dire, dire need of new strings…
and yet almost all of you, Music Instrument Stores, are closed.
Why is this? Do musicians take the Christian sabbath so seriously that you would have no customers other than heathen me? Or is it that the dudes who work at them would be out too late on a Saturday night to possibly come in to work the next day? (Don’t they know that Monday is the new Saturday?)
Tristman is convinced he can put a stop to the vulgar, messy suicides for which the English have become infamous. People who live in London but have somehow tired of life need no longer trust to chance. Now, they may repair to his stylish, centrally located suite of apartments and end their lives “decently as well as suddenly”. For the disappointed lady, Tristman offers a spacious bath in which to drown “with the utmost privacy and elegance”. Despairing actors can take their pick of daggers and poison. Soldiers will conveniently discover “swords fixed obliquely in the floor with their points upwards”.
Ian Crouch looks at a brief history of Inaugural poems, from Robert Frost to Elizabeth Alexander, and tells us what we should listen for when Richard Blanco reads his poem on Monday: http://nyr.kr/13MvxHv
Photograph by B. Anthony Stewart/National Geographic/Getty.
‘Doin’ It’ in Downton Abbey: A Guide to DTA Erotica
A few months ago I was at a birthday party making some small talk and suddenly this stream of monologue about the probable existence of Downton Abbey fanfic erotica started burbling out of my mouth. I looked into it with a bit of Googling, and WHOAH MAMA, there’s some good stuff there, which is SO APPRECIATED in light of the fact that the sexytimes in Season 3 are so DISAPPOINTING. So I wrote a thingie, and then, BLAMMO, yesterday it was on the front page of Jezebel! ENJOY!
You know, a lot of shizz went down this year, 2012, which means I experienced a lot of firsts with you. First time on safari! First time catching a parasite! First time being a “best person” at a wedding! First time having brunch with Claire Danes! And with these and many other firsts emerged many changes. My time living in Nigeria resulted in new obsession with slathering hot sauce all over everything. My visit to Key West for a friend’s wedding resulted in my falling in love, inexplicably, with a long-haired chihuahua in a KW pet-shop window. (I’ve always been a ‘big dog’ person.) The other day I was listening to Said The Gramophone’s best of 2012 list, enjoyed a certain song, and only then learned that it was BY JUSTIN BIEBER.
And now, as I sit here preparing my 2012 music quiz for my buddy’s New Year’s Eve party I can’t help but think back on all the news and firsts and changes of this year. And I have to admit, there is one I am most proud of: I now (almost effortlessly) say “frosting” (so classy!) instead of “icing” (so jejune!) when it comes to cake toppings. I feel like now I truly am a woman. FROSTING! It was a deliberate switch. I felt like when I heard or said the word “frosting” I could almost see/smell/taste the delicious toppin’ coming out of the piping thingie. Whereas, “icing,” well that just made me think of the phrase “icing on the cake.” And would I rather use a term that makes me drool or one that makes me think of a cliche? I think you know the answer. I have no shame and also a supply of drool-absorbing tissues stowed in my handbag at all times.
This issue has been extremely divisive amongst my friends and family. When one loves bacon, does one not accept it in all its forms? I would like to say yes, yes, that describes me and my undying love of meats… and yet I cannot imagine putting one of these in my mouth. Although, to be fair, I think it might be more the concept of “eggnog” in a cookie that I find gross. I like eggnog. I like cookies. And cookies HAVE eggs in them (or something? I don’t bake much…). But this is just too much. And admitting that is my shame.