Atwood, Oprah & Jesus

How lovely.  The writer of “Ramblings of a Mad Kat” nominated “Pin Up Picks Pen Up” for The Liebster Award.


What an uplifting moment that was.


The night before I found out about my little prize, I had written exactly one line.  The blog was a place I used to come to.  There was a period where I was cranking out daily postings, my brain was a buzz with activities and ideas. My office was the first place I’d go to in the morning, coffee cup in hand, CBC2 in the background.  I would fill my notebook with ideas for future pieces, I used to work every day…sometimes in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon, and late into the night, words tumbling out of me, fingers feverishly accosting the keyboard, pounding out phrases.


I entered a couple of writing contests, and I was never considered.  I got a little discouraged, got incredibly busy, and then…now, enough time has gone by that it’s gotten weird between us.  Like running into someone you used to be close to, there’s history there so it’s hard to be casual.   Or like when you bump into someone you know at the grocery store.  Say, you once took a class together, or worked at the same job one summer.  You like and respect them, wish them the very best.  You say, “nice to see you…we should really have coffee sometime”.


“Absolutely” they say, nodding earnestly. Boy is it a nice idea, chipping out a little time for this old friend, grabbing a latte and catching up.  But let’s be honest.


I hear you girlfriend.  That’s how I feel about the blog these days.  But I want to get back to that place.  Without the blog, without the creative outlet, I feel a little lost…a little deflated.  I’ve been through a trying couple of weeks.  I’ve gotten into a bit of a slump.  I’ve been feeling gold medal, black belt levels of the blahs.  Today I called my best friend, organized my closet, got a hair cut and bought a few new items for the winter season.  I spruced up a little; wore a dress and boots to the mall, and left feeling much lighter.  My husband and I visited with friends, and now I am at home taking the time to visit with an old friend of my own.

I’m to answer these questions about myself, so here goes…

1.       If you could be any animal, what would you be? 

My husband calls me ‘goat’, because I am stubborn, small and have been known to head butt .  I call him Bear because of his stature and magnificent beard.  In the animal kingdom we would be a goat and a bear and we would still be best friends.


2.       Invite three people to dinner, living or dead – who are they? 

I wish I could honestly answer this question more academically, Margaret Atwood  Oprah and Jesus and whatnot…but I’d have to go with Audrey Hepburn, Nora Ephron and Tina Fey. 


3.       What’s the best Christmas gift you could get?

Plane tickets with a big red bow. 

4.       What is your favorite blog entry you’ve written – please, post a link for us to read.

Oh I’m sorry…did you say my favorite five…no it was ten? Okay then!

5.       Who is your greatest inspiration? 

Nora Ephron, David Sedaris, Tina Fey, Elizabeth Gilbert, Barbra Streisand, Meryl Streep and Audrey Hepburn.

6.       Most embarrassing moment (that you are willing to share) 

Good Lord, how much time do you have?

7.       Name one thing that you wish you had done in your life thus far.  

Traveled to Europe.  To me, Paris is a necessity. 


8.       What’s your favorite food?        

I love food in general; curry, satay, pasta…I prefer vegetarian but I eat a little meat.  I’m more savory than sweet.  My death row, last meal would be various kinds of bread with lots of things to dip into. And french fries.  Yes, definitely french fries.  And then I’d have a latte.     

9.       Cheesecake or Cake?   

I can appreciate both, but wouldn’t turn down an exquisite slice of cherry cheese cake. 

10.    Favorite Olympic sport?     

Ha ha, bitch please! 

11.    If you could ask your great grandparents one thing, what would it be?

Were you happy?

I’d like to pass the award onwards to some of my favorites.

1) An Opinionated Girl VS. The World.

2) Entrepreneur by Nurture.

3) Vinyl and Pearls

4) Lonely City

5) Vodka, Unicorns and Lincoln Logs

There are so many great blogs out there, and I wish you the strength and perseverance to continue…no matter how busy life gets…cause once in a while you get a little reminder about just how fabulous you can be.

oscarpix17f-2-copyImages Courtesy of Google

The Greatest Place I’ve Never Been

My best friend Evelyn is going to Paris.  And I am vert with envy.


Incidentally, she is going because she will be in the neighborhood for a wedding.  As we are talk on the phone, she confesses that good ole Paris has never called to her as it does to me.  I then pull out the Western Europe Lonely Planet guidebook that once belonged to my friend Shannon, and read aloud, over the phone, why Paris is so great.  I’ve never been of course, I’ve only visited it in a cinematic aspect. Which is what I say to her, when she asks why it interests me so.  Well, Audrey Hepburn once famously said that “Paris is always a good idea”, and I tend to agree with Audrey.


To my dearest girlfriend, about to hit the streets of Paris, a list of my favorite movies about the “City of Light”.

Julie and Julia, Nora Ephron claimed she would miss Paris when she was dead.  Now that is an amazing impact for a city to have on you.


Two Days in Paris, I will never get sick of this movie.  I love Julie Delpy, and love this funny, strange little movie.  They visit Jim Morrison’s grave, and see other fabulous sights.  Also, they used to date in real life, that adds a particularly delicious contextual layer.


Midnight in Paris, if you want to see Woody Allen’s version of Paris. He explores era, and the most fascinating members of  Parisian avant-garde movement of the early 20th century- Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Alice B. Toklas and Gertude Stein. It’s sweet and nostalgic, and Allen films the shit out of this amazing city.  Beautiful. Funny.  Special. So up my alley.


Before Sunset, More Julie Delpy, the amazing sequel to “Before Sunrise”, and she and Ethan Hawke wander through Paris and fall in love all over again.


Amelie, this movie is my cinematic happy place.  Maybe this is where the love for Paris was conceived.  Sometimes I just listen to the soundtrack because I love this film so much.


Moulin Rouge, the Best of Baz, I think.  Again though it is fantastical and ridiculousness, it is firmly grounded in a real time and place.


Funny Face, just what every girl dreams of, being plucked from obscurity and then being swept off to Paris for an epic makeover and fashion shoot.  And then french kissed by Fred Astaire, a man old enough to be your grandfather’s grandfather.


So, girlfriend, watch and absorb, and then walk these magical streets and know that I couldn’t be more excited for you.  And that I will require a fabulous present.

funnyface1Images Courtesy of Google

Tabloid Calendar

What’s a mid-life crisis called in your early thirties? What constitutes the crisis being ‘mid-life’?  For those who have been being reading this week, you’ve witnessed my sad little journey as I go through a non-menopausal ‘change of life’.  But you know what? I have been in this transitional place a ton of times.In fact it seems very much like historically speaking, this week in general is not my time to shine.  But first, allow me to explain that I am crap with recalling dates and years.  I don’t remember birthdays well, nor can I recall the dates of births, deaths, marriages, holidays, it’s all a blur.  How do I recall things? Of course, through pop culture happenings.  My friend Monica and Heath Ledger died in the same month, which incidentally was the same month I had gotten an IUD.  When in Australia, they were covering the fourth anniversary of Ledger’s death, and all I could think was…”Fuck, I’ve only got another year left of birth control”.  I remember going on a  road-trip through the Southern United States, and seeing a magazine cover with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes when they first got together in 2005.  And that’s how I remember the year I explored the Bible Belt, it  was in the same year that Cruise scared the great jumping Jesus out of Oprah by getting his shoes all over her leather sofa.  It’s not the greatest system for remembering dates, but it’s just how my brain works.

tom couch

This week marked the fourth anniversary of Micheal Jackson’s death.  When I first heard about his demise, my wedding had already been cancelled, and I was house sitting at my aunt’s ranch-house, where the wedding was meant to take place.  I was obsessing about the end of my engagement in the exact same way that CNN was focusing on Jackson’s death.  There were only so many details that one can elaborate on, “In case you’re just joining us, Jackson is still dead, he used to be super talented, influential and black, then things got weird, he got multiple nose jobs and a monkey named Bubbles, married Elvis’s daughter, had children, gave them strange names and surgical masks to wear in public, he wore pajama pants to his child molestation trail, and eventually became the creepiest white man ever… but we’ve got Liza Minnelli and Usher to discuss his finer qualities”.   As for me, I was busy running over the fabric of my own failure, feeling for snags, and holes in the material.  Sadly,  Larry King was too busy dealing with the Jackson tragedy to  come round and ask searing questions, “Alicia, what happened, where did you go wrong?”


Boy oh boy would Larry King have gotten an earful, it would have been too much emotion and information for one man to handle, and so he’d be forced to bring in back up…someone who listens, cares and really understands women.


(Just imagine being the center of that conversational sandwich?)

Furthermore, this week also marks the first anniversary of writer Nora Ephron‘s death.

Nora Ephron dead at 71.

When I heard about this, I was back in Canada, once again I was living out of a suitcase in my parent’s basement, after nearly three years of living in New Zealand and Australia.  Jackson’s death was not a surprise, but this was a major blow to me.  I love her writing, some of her movies are my favorite movies, “Julie & Julia” being very high on that list.  I’ve since gone over her writing with a fine tooth comb; after reading four of her books in succession, I started my blog.  She wrote one piece called “My Life as an Heiress”, about the impending death of a wealthy uncle, and the rumors that swirled amongst her father and sisters about the fortune that would be left to them.  At the time, Ephron was struggling with a screenplay, and imagined what the kind of expected wealth could bring.  She wouldn’t have to finish the script, she could just live off her inheritance.  In the end, it turned out that most of the money was lost in bad investments, and once split different ways, it was enough for a willow tree in the backyard.  And Ephron went back to writing her script, which was “When Harry Met Sally…“, one of her finest writing achievements.  She credited losing that inheritance to finishing that work, which catapulted her into a completely new level of success. Ephron knew how to write about her pain, divorce, death, displacement, she covered it all with a grain of salty humor.  But more often than not, she counted her failures as avenues to success.  Ephron always said “Everything is Copy”, every struggle is a story.  In fact, on her deathbed, she told her vigil-holding son to “take notes”, which is something her own mother had told her to do in her last days.  Ephron told him to take notes because he’s going to want to remember the very thing he wishes he could forget.

581690_601042283253694_98557284_nAll Images Courtesy of Google

| Tagged disappointment, Heath Ledger, , Jackson, Julie & Julia, Larry King, memory, , Southern United States, tabloids, Tom Cruise, When Harry Met Sally

Dirty on the Inside

There is possibly nothing grosser than a sleepless night.  My new phone has this wonderful feature that when I set my alarm it says fun things like-”this alarm is set for 4 hours and 36 minutes from now”.  And then you start to do math in your head, “If I fall asleep in ten…fifteen…twenty minutes…”  And then time passes, and anxiety rises from all that late night arithmetic.  “I have to get up so soon…tomorrow is going to be so hard”. You want Mr Sandman to appear over you, remedy is hand.  “Lose the sand buddy and give me the hard stuff”.

mr sandman

“Ew, that is not what I meant by hard stuff…now give me an Ambien and get out before I call the cops”.

The alarm goes off at 345 a.m, I’m at work by 500, and I feel positively wretched.  There’s that sleepless fuzzy feeling that makes me feel dirty on the inside.  I am gagging on the exhaustion.  (98% of my friends are parents, so when they read this I’m sure I’ll hear a resounding “Aaaand, what else is new?”)   To add insult to injury, I also packed the saddest little lunch. I’m talking PB&J on stale whole wheat bread.  I could have given this sandwich to a starving homeless person, and they would hurl it back in my face “What the fuck is this shit? What, just cause I’m homeless means I don’t like a nice steak?”  Even his dog won’t eat it.  I drink a cup of coffee and read a couple of essays by Nora Ephron, my eyes whispering to my brain behind my heavy lids…”Just close me…yeah, that’s right, let it linger…shhh”.

Once home, my husband leaves for his night-shift and I take a hot bath.  My eyes are taking to my brain again, and the bathtub is not where we should be having this conversation.  So I take the party to the couch.  I’m hungry, but don’t know what to eat.  I’m tired, but don’t want to sleep.  I wander over the fridge, and pick at a few things…while standing up with the door open.  No wonder I was so thin when I was younger, I lived alone, I just lived on toast, fruit, and cottage cheese.  Without the adult supervision of my husband, I’m looking at all the salad fixings in the crisper, and it feels like the effort equivalent of rebuilding a jet engine.  It’s a lot of chopping and washing.  Whereas with mac and cheese out of the box, there are so few steps.

I don’t want to read or write. I want to tuck in with a movie–and so I begin a Nora Ephron movie-marathon, or as much as Netflix would allow: “Sleepless In Seattle” and “Bewitched”.  You know, sometimes I think that Rotten can truly suck it, they are as wrong as often as they are right.  This film is considered to be one of Ephron’s “duds”, given only 25% on the movie review website, but you know what? Not bad at all.  Cute concept, perfectly humorous, and totally unexpected cameos–young Steve Carrel! Steven Colbert! and hello, the movie ends with Amy Sedaris?  Love her.

amy sedaris favorite

I’ve made a pretty considerable lump on the sofa, so I decide it best to just move right into the Tom Hanks classic.

sleepless-in-seattle-originalMidway through the movie, feeling listless and lethargic,  I grab the laptop, thinking that I’ll start my next piece.  Of course, while there are vague notions floating around the inside of my skull, the ideas are not pressing in my fingertips that allows the words to flow.  I read about “Sleepless in Seattle“, which is number ten on the American Film Institute’s Top Ten romantic comedies list.  I’ve seen all the movies–”Harold and Maude“, “Moonstruck”, “Roman Holiday”, “Annie Hall“–except for the number one spot–”City Lights” with Charlie Chaplin.

Annex - Chaplin, Charlie (City Lights)_NRFPT_16Oh my, people love “City Lights”.  Rotten rates this film highly, and the comments were dripping with enthusiasm.  The ending! My god!  The ending! The sweetest ending ever! If you don’t love the ending, you have no soul!

I found it on YouTube, watched it, and frankly I’m concerned for my soul.

Maybe it’s because I’m having a bad day…feeling dirty on the inside and whatnot.  Listen, who am I to flip the bird at the AFI? Perhaps I need to see the whole thing. Once on YouTube, I do a bit more poking around, and of course, catch  myself watching a twenty-minute documentary on Natalie Wood’s mysterious death in 1981.  Apparently in recent years this ‘accident’ is a case that needed to be reopened, and a ton of money, effort and police attention has been spent.  Wood, an actress famous for roles in “Rebel without a Cause” and “West Side Story” (and once stormed out on Elvis cause he couldn’t get his little Presley up for her).


Thanksgiving weekend of 1981 was spent on her yacht “Splendour” with her husband Robert Wagner and recent co-star Christopher Walken.

natalie-wood-7-660Much drinking ensued, jealousies flared, and somewhere in the middle of the night, Wood drowned.

The whole thing about this tragedy is that Wood was deathly afraid of dark water.  She even made prophecies throughout her life about drowning.  My thought is…perhaps buying your lady a 60-foot yacht is not the greatest prezzie ever.

Much suspicious has risen about the sketchy details…why authorities were not called, why the search lights were not turned on, and why this women, so terrified of water would have fallen off the boat in the middle of the  night.  In recent years, the boat’s captain, admitted that he lied to police immediately after the accident.   Many critics point the finger at Wagner.  Maybe he didn’t murder her, but some say, that he saw the intoxicated actress fall into the water and he just left her to “teach her a lesson”.  Which is always a fun thing to do in a marriage.  The mystery hasn’t diminished apparently, and now the case is reopened, and 83-year-old Wagner is being forced to reconsider that fateful night.  After all the time and effort, and trips to Hawaii to visit the yacht, police were able to change the cause of death to “Accidental” to “accidental and undetermined”, not “death by Robert Wagner” as some had hoped.  Either way, that’s American tax dollars at work!


Hmmm… what an unpleasant place to take my fuzzy brain.  I glance up at the movie, and that’s still happening.  Jesus, I have got to sort myself out.  I turn off the television and the computer and then proceed to just wander around the house.  I pass the only full length mirror in the house.

Do these pyjama pants make my ass look big?  True, mint green with pink accents aren’t the most figure flattering color, but I also blame the mirror.  It’s a total fun house mirror–though sometimes I wonder if that’s what I’ve told myself somewhere along the way.  Like, even though this mirror makes me look like Jabba the Hutt, in actuality I look like Princess Leia.  But maybe it’s the other way around.


I gaze into the mirror. I look.  So tired.  Looking at your reflection at great length is dangerous, like the equivalent of saying your own name over and over again… Alicia. Ah-lee-sha, Al-eeee-cia.  Something you live with everyday suddenly seems so foreign.

Either I really need a nap or the mushrooms I ate sometime in the late 90′s are making a comeback in my sleep-deprived cells.

I put on a bra, brush my teeth, redo my ponytail and head outside for a walk.  The fresh air is dignifying.  I even swing my arms a little as I breathe deeply.  I feel 1% less disgusting, and in my condition, I will accept that as a vast improvement.  Less Jabba, more Leia.  As I walk, I think about poor old Natalie Wood,  and the mysteries that people are forced to deal with.  Well…some people live with mysteries, others live with secrets.  And I wonder if it makes them feel dirty on the inside, like the feeling after a sleepless night stretching out forever.  Heading towards home,  I think about how easy it must be to fall from splendor into murky waters, never to return.  And it makes me glad I don’t own a yacht.

natalie-wood-pic-rex-351029347All Images Courtesy of Google

| Tagged "Bewitched", "City Lights", "Sleepless in Seattle", Amy Sedaris, Charlie Chaplin, Christopher Walken, exhaustion, , , Mr Sandman, Natalie Wood, , Rotten Tomatoes

Late Bloomer

The other week, I was in a funk; feeling discouraged and lost.  My shoulders stooped and face slumped in a frown, I was acting in a way that my husband described as “being a grumpy goat”, (you headbutt someone once while bleating and that’s the nickname they give you).  Although I think it more references my inability to cause any actually damage, my bleat is no worse than my bite. Lifting this mood required some heavy artillery: “Julie and Julia“.


Following a big dramatic sigh, I make mention of the movie as being the antidote to my mean reds.

julie and julia 1

Ben scrunches his face like being offered that fifth helping at Thanksgiving dinner.  “You know? I’m good on that”.

How can you be good on J&JIt’s quite possibly my favorite movie ever–top five at least.  I love Nora Ephron.


I love Meryl Streep.

meryl child

And I love this story.  And I love how these two women find their passion in unexpected places.

When I was really working overtime on my writer’s block, I would bake.  Muffins, scones, slices, cookies, and organize them in little Ziploc bags for the freezer.  It can be very soothing, baking–but it doesn’t get any writing done and it makes your pants tighter.  In fact since I’ve started the blog, I’m rarely in the kitchen, and I haven’t baked in months.

Now this is Ben’s turn to sigh audibly.

He’ll open the freezer, and heave a sigh of disappointment.  “Remember those meat pies you made? They were good…and those cookies, I miss those”.

But I don’t have the time, the patience or the kitchen bench space.

Neither did Julie Powell, who started her food blog in a tiny kitchen in Queens.

Julie's kitchen wide

In a year’s time she did 524 recipes, and then wrote about it.  No wonder she drove her husband nuts.  I’m just writing about writing and some days I can be a prickly pear.  I really don’t know how she did it–not five minutes ago I accidentally pressed publish on this blog when there was barely a few lines.  I then mashed buttons desperately, as if trying to turn back time(–and listen if Cher can’t pull it off I don’t have a hope in hell).   I screamed at my computer like in one of those slow motion sequences you see in action movies when someone is hanging out of a helicopter and your grip on their hand is loosening.  So, I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t be trusted de-boning ducks and molding meat aspics.  But as both Julie and Julia know, sometimes you just have to eat your mistakes.  Or as Julia Child once did, if you drop food on the ground, just scoop it up and pop back in the pan, it’ll be fine.  We’re all human here, put up your hand if you’ve never made a mistake.


Okay, guess who’s being a show off.

So now that I’ve slopped this blog back in the pot, I’ll try to shape it into something appetizing, or at least, edible.  “Julie and Julia” is by far one of my comfort food movies, and I saw it a solid couple of times when living in Australia.  I really identified with Julie as she was turning 3o, and was a sort of non-writing failing writer.  She connected with Julia Child because she was a late bloomer, she didn’t become a fixture in popular culture until she was in her fifties.  Her success story has a ‘its never too late’ kind of flavour, which is a real comfort to gals like Julie and myself.  And within a year of writing her blog, Powell found success as a writer.  Everyone wins at the end of this movie.  And it always makes me cry.

Another thing about this film that I love are the husbands… some one the most supportive husbands in cinema are in this movie.

Stanley Tucci as "Paul Child" and Meryl Streep as "Julia Child"


I also have an extremely supportive husband.  He is the reason I am able to work on this blog daily.

When I first saw this movie,  the thought of having a blog seemed so foreign, so “that’s something that someone else would do” that it’s remarkable to think that its now a part of my daily routine.  But he has supported me, and loved me and made countless meals, and is a champion in the face of my occasional grumpy-goatness. It makes me realize that the poor bastard really deserves a lovely meat pie now and again.

And I will head straight out to the shop to get him one, because I’ve got more writing about writing to do.

Julia Child's Kitchen Meryl Streep plays All Images Courtesy of Google

Grave Digging to Hips Swinging

My work days are long and taxing, but the consolation is that my mind can occasionally wander without effecting the tasks at hand.  My mind is a loom, weaving a tapestry of crazy thoughts and pop culture references…I really should invent a machine that transcribes my thoughts into print, so when I come home after a long day–it’s all there, ready to be edited–or shit, while I’m out there inventing mind-reading machines, why not get this bitch to edit?  Cut through all the nonsensical imaginings which, believe me, there is an abundance.  But in reality, my husband just bought me a new cell phone and I’m totally intimidated by it.  So…I’m not really the inventing type.  And I really wish I could be, I am  looking for that ‘dare to be great’ situation.  I remember this childhood scrap book with space created for each school year.  At the bottom of the page where you put your yearly photo was a checklist–’what I want to be when I grow up’: “Nurse” “Stewardess” “Actress”, check, check, check.  Why not?  To think of it now, the crippling indecisiveness of wanting to do ‘everything’ has lead to a whole lot of studying, traveling, and waitressing.  (PS, why does spell check have to hate-on the word waitressing? It’s a word damnit! I’ve lived it!)  I was discussing this not long ago with Robin, a former professor, now dear friend.  I had just read a slew of Nora Ephron books, and felt mildly annoyed at her idea of her ‘before-success’ job, which was writing for the Post in New York City, which followed a Wellesley education, and a brief intern position at the White House for the Kennedy Administration.  Not too shabs indeed.  Robin says, “Well, she’s not going to write about the crappy jobs”, she’s going to skip that”.  “Well I won’t skip that”, straightening indignantly, “I will talk almost exclusively about all the degrading, low paying jobs I’ve had, because people need to know just how long that road can be”.  My shoulders slump slightly: “That’s if…you know, anything fabulous ever comes of me”, I think.  Hmm, what a dreadful thought.

But anecdotes about Ephron’s early days as a journalist is not what I, the unpaid writer, wants to hear, I want to hear three things about life: that people can immigrate to their spouses’ country’s with ease, that women can have healthy children late into their thirties and that extremely successful people suffered before they found their niche.  I want Brad Pitt in the fast food chicken suit, before the rambling Chanel # 5 ads and the fifty children he acquired with Angelina Jolie. I want Madonna at Dunkin Donuts, before the Gollum arms and as many fashion incarnations as Brad Pitt has kids. I want Channing Tatum as a struggling stripper because…who wouldn’t be into that?  And my personal favorite, tied with Whoopi Goldberg as a beautician in a mortuary, was Rod Stewart as a grave digger. Come on! How do you not feel better about your station in life after hearing that? Imagine Stewart, shovel in hand, feeling the indignity of such a shitty job…do you think he thought to himself: “One day, I’m going to have a string of gorgeous wives and make a ton of cash, be a easy listening radio staple and have children well into my seventies…and my hair will always be awesome”.  Probably not…he probably did it because he needed the work, needed the cash, and couldn’t see the bright lights of his super sexy future.  Take these thoughts as if they are a cozy blanket and wrap that around yourself.  It too could happen to you.  But it better happen to me first because I need to hire someone to teach me how to use my fancy new phone.


It’s like an instant, chemical reaction…dancing around the writing–this exquisite procrastination.  In fact, the minute I come to this place, the blank screen, the empty page, I immediately jump to the other open tabs on the computer–the lure of the internet calls to me, begging me to make a new daisy chain of unnecessary research, today the focus being on Karen Silkwood.  I’ve been on a major Nora Ephron kick recently, I read three of her books in a row and then followed the readings with a minor movie marathon of her most well known films, “Silkwood” being one of them.  The film was interesting, the writing excellent, the acting compelling–though Meryl Streep could read aloud from the classified ads and I’d be dazzled as if she were reading Shakespeare.  For those unfamiliar with the film, its about a whistle-blower at a chemical plant in the 1970′s, who dies in a suspicious car accident on the way to meet a reporter for the New York Times.  She was a technician who handled plutonium, and as anyone in that industry, was in constant danger of nuclear contamination, but at the time, there was no information about the cancer causing hazards.  This spunky 28-year mother of three took extreme lengths to fight this enormous chemical company, and was silenced before she could tell the truth as she knew it.

Now, Hollywood just loves this kind of story, and according to my post-movie research, her demise came at a particular point in the anti-nuke, pro-feminism movement which elevated her to martyr status.  When a film is made about someone’s life–a writer can really pick and choose how they choose to frame the person’s characteristics.  Ephron did a fine job of showing that this woman was not a perfect person, she was not an active parent and took Quaaludes like they were candy.  Ephron writes about the ‘Silkwood’ writing process, one has to create a cohesive structure that introduces the character to the viewer, while deftly exposing their external plight with their internal struggles…and if you have to add a splash of dramatic untruth, then so be it.  In the film, it is alluded that her roommate, played by Cher, may have done some whistle blowing of her own to the poisonous corporation.  That truth has been contested, but after a while, fact and fiction get a little fuzzy and start to blend together, and we tend to believe what we want anyway.  Following the film I read biographies on Silkwood, which then detoured to a  ‘mysterious celebrity deaths‘ website, then into an A&E biography on YouTube.  I have to admit, as far as my penchant for life stories go–I always skip the childhood and go straight to the juicy bits.  ‘Yes, I’m sure that she did enjoy riding her bicycle as a child but if we could just hurry it along and get to the child abandonment, plutonium contamination and untimely death, that would be great’.  Is that terribly morbid?  Even if it is, I was flipping idly through a Cosmo magazine in the lunch room at work, and there was an article stating that its in a woman’s nature to be fascinated by true-crime stories.  I didn’t actually read the article, but the headline stated as such, and for the sake of my argument (what am I arguing? that it’s not wrong to have morbid interests and fascinations?) and as we all know, that magazine hasn’t been wrong once.  But if I could peg a guess, we are interested because we want to understand the inner lives of others: what drives them, what destroys them.  It’s endlessly fascinating and the search for such information can easily kill a few hours on a chilly afternoon and provides a decent topic  to blog about, when the blank page intimidates and flashing cursor begs the question: “What is there to be so afraid of”?