Monday, July 27, 2009
Visiting the Ann Kahane exhibit. You might recognize the look of this artist as my parents own one of her sculptures (and are receiving another one once the exhibit is over).
Drinks on the roof deck of a hotel in Old Montreal. Our waiter Jimmy was enthralled that my parents moved from Montreal to Los Angeles.
The Just For Laughs comedy festival flags, dotting the city.
Pinching Minchu's cheeks.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Monday, July 13, 2009
Joy McGuire, a seemingly normal person with a seemingly normal marriage, has a baby, after which point, nothing is normal again. Not her breasts or her belly or her heart or her marriage. It’s a hilarious, rueful, laugh-out-loud post partum tale about the grueling work of the first nine months of the first baby when change is an urgent necessity that you wish you could run away from.
Below are my questions for author Samantha Wilde:
mc: Which came first, the title or the novel?
sw: The novel. Way ahead of the title. In fact we had a list of possible titles even after I’d revised the novel.
What other art form inspires you as much as writing?
Poetry. E.E. Cummings, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver. But that’s writing, isn’t it? How about nature? Is that an art form? Maybe yoga too. It’s a different kind of art form altogether.
Which comes easier for you - beginnings or endings?
I’m okay with both. It’s the middle that’s hard.
How many drafts until the final draft?
It depends on how many people read it. I have a tendency not to revise as I write. I’m worried I’d never get done if I did that.
What are you reading right now?
THE YEAR OF LIVING BIBLICALLY. It’s hilarious. Since I moonlight as a minister and graduated from divinity school, I lap up religious stuff when it’s true, witty and liberal.
What's next for you?
I just finished my second novel I’LL TAKE WHAT SHE HAS out from Bantam in 2010. It’s about envy. Another topic I know nothing about.
Monday, July 6, 2009
Just as I feared, I have fallen victim to the Michael Jackson frenzy. This from someone who never even owned an album (though I admittedly have "Beat It" on the iPod - great running song!) Neither Michael Jackson nor his music was ever at the forefront of my life, instead, he was always in the background. "Rockin' Robin" always reminds me of elementary school, "Rock With You" is so Junior High, "Billy Jean" is Crossroads circa 1983 and "Man in the Mirror" triggers memories of Emerson College, 1988. I was always aware of the cute brown-eyed boy who morphed into the afro adolescent and then strangely slipped into a deranged white clown.Along with the rest of the world, I bopped to his music, marveled at his Neverland Ranch and cringed at his repeated pedophilia accusations.
WIth his death came the end of his story and now looking back I see his life with a whole new poignancy. As I wrote in the previous blog entry, I was at Esalen when he died and barely anyone spoke of it. Since getting back to L.A. I have been obsessed. I have spent too many hours on YouTube watching old Jackson 5 variety shows, old videos and interviews trying to see where it all went so terribly wrong. How did the beautiful, alert, insanely entertaining performer turn into the Diprivan addict? I've pored over his song lyrics and titles, looking for clues. ("Off the Wall", "Bad", "Thriller," "Dangerous", "Invincible" - if he did dabble in the pedophilia, could these titles be clues?) I watched Oprah's 1991(?) interview with MJ where he claimed his white skin was due to the condition Vitiligo, and tried to propose an argument based on why the media doesn't bother white people who try to get tan. He's already wrecked by 1991 with that eerie Anna Nicole Smith speech pattern and vacant, unblinking eyes. I watched a few moonwalking videos and tried to do the same across my living room floor, the beach, the sidewalk. I am haunted by the whole Jackson showbiz family - isn't family supposed to be your rock if you go into the business? But the Jacksons were ALL in it - so who did he have? Elizabeth Taylor? How could she, of the pill-popping, 8 marriages ilk, provide emotional security for him?
As my friend Lizzie said, "I feel so sad for Michael Jackson. Not the freaky person he turned out to be, but the little boy that he was,"and I so agree. His death has obviously struck a nerve. It is the stuff of myths and legends - the rise and fall, man vs. self, man vs. nature. His story has played out during the course of our lives and now that it is over I think we all feel a little lost, a little sad.
No, I did not try for memorial tickets for tomorrow. I will be driving to San Diego with my friend Maggie, to visit our other friend Eileen, who is there on vacation. We will probably eat lunch, talk about life, about writing, and when we drive back to L.A. tomorrow night, perhaps this obsessive Michael Jackson phase, mine and everyone else's, will finally be laid to rest.