Archive for November, 2012

Since it’s still autumn, it’s OK that I’m still talking about “autumn plans,” right?

I mean, there’s never a final way of living.  You never get it all figured out.  You’re always revising and tinkering.  At least I am …

I’ve been beaten up by this head cold for so long I’m sick of being sick.  I feel a bit better now (even if I can’t quite kick this tickly cough) and I’m desperate to get back into some kind of productive schedule.  The twins dominate most of my day, but if my twinwatch is eight hours long, and I sleep for eight hours, WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER EIGHT??

Even if (more…)


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I strongly recommend seeing Anna Karenina in a theatre, but preferably a nearly empty one.  Try for a matinee or a very late show, and try not to sit near anyone else — I don’t want other people’s whispered commentary (or snorts or sighs or gasps) to distract you from your own opinion of this curious film.

As you may have read in other reviews (and as you can somewhat see in the picture above) much of the story — including Vronsky’s horse race — is set in a theatre.  This will either totally work for you or it may totally alienate you.  I, for one, loved it.  The stylized nature of the “society” scenes call attention to their rigidity and ridiculousness in a shorthand that I think Tolstoy would have admired.  And watching Matthew Macfadyen — as Oblonsky — spin in and out of different coats as he marches in and out of different scenes was a choreographic pleasure all its own.

Less enjoyable was (more…)

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Since the twins were born — nearly 22 months ago — I’ve been living in the present.  I can’t fret too much about what the future holds when each day is crammed with so many challenges and triumphs — both theirs as growing homo sapiens and mine as a mother and a writer.  Many of my friends have praised this living-in-the-present, some even calling it a spiritual practice.  That’s all been very nice — until I got sacked by a terrible head cold.

It’s “just” a cold, but a stubborn and lingering one.  And (more…)

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About a month ago a friend and I were talking about a photograph taken at Grrls Meat Camp, a gathering where women spend a week learning how to butcher animals.  The photo was of a woman butcher wearing a fleece, an apron and sunglasses gesturing to a beef hip.  I made a joke about hipness — was she giving a lesson in how to handle a beef hip, or how to be hip while handing beef? This led to a discussion about the term “hip.”  I had thought it was a neutral term, but my friend thought it was too close to “hipster,” which has grown to have more negative connotations.  I debated this, and my jury was still out when I read this article in this Sunday’s New York Times: “How to Live without Irony.”

From “How to Live without Irony.” http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com

I think my favorite quote is:

[The hipster] harvests awkwardness and self-consciousness.

A hipster isn’t just awkward and self-conscious (much of the time I fear I am both of those things) but he harvests it.  He (more…)

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At last!  My piece, “Fluttering at the Margins,” is up on HER KIND, A BLOG POWERED BY VIDA: WOMEN IN LITERARY ARTS.  It’s about twins and bats and writing and parenting and biography and Facebook and becoming an essayist and the extinction of the dinosaurs.

It’s the piece I read at The Virginia Center for the Creative Arts last month:

Me reading at VCCA. Costarring: CHEEZ-ITS!  (Photo by Mary Akers.)

Click here to (more…)

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So if you, like some of the readers of my last post, were left unsatisfied by the book Life of Pi, you might want to try Jamrach’s Menagerie by Carol Birch.

Unlike Pi’s lengthy opening back-story, Jamrach’s Menagerie starts with a bang — and an encounter with a tiger — within the first few pages.  Jaffy Brown, then eight years old, is running errands on the streets of London when he is swept up into the jaws of a tiger, (more…)

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Life of Pi

The book Life of Pi has been out since 2001, but it’s taken me this long to finally read it.  I remember it being quite popular and perhaps that was the reason (eleven less-mature years ago) that I resisted it.  But I’ve started to become interested in shipwrecks, and I’m reading all kinds of books about them, and Life of Pi was on the list.

I fear that the hype around the book (from its early popularity to the forthcoming film version to its flap copy) has hurt my enjoyment of it.  The flap copy reads:

A boy

A tiger

And the vast Pacific Ocean

If it had stopped there, I’d be keenly interested.  But it continues: (more…)

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