Leave it to Bieber

There was a bus stop close to our home  in Australia that for a very long time, had a poster promoting Justin’s Bieber’s concert-documentary “Never Say Never”.  He’s standing in the middle on the road, and one one side is cold, forbidding, grey Stratford, Ontario–and on the other side the bright lights of…who’s cares what city–it’s AMERICA!Justin-Bieber-Never-Say-Never-Movie

OK… I didn’t pay close enough attention to the ad–that looks like New York city.

Anyhoo, I’ve never give much though to the ole Bieb’s, after all, I am hardly his demographic.  Which is why when I told my mother that I had bought tickets to see Justin Timberlake, she looked confused.

“Well I hope that he just sorts himself out after that whole London thing”.

“Wha? No, mom, that’s Justin Bieber“.

“Oh, okay, phew! I was really concerned there for a minute”.

This mistake did allow for the hilarious mental image of my 6’9” husband standing amongst a flood of shrieking girls.  But she was not the only person to make the mistake.  While at work one morning, the radio announcing every minute detail about the Boston bombings, a conversation followed that is now generic at this point.  “Why do people do things like this?  Why do things like this happen?”  A general quiet followed, as if everyone was contemplated the violence, when I piped up about the recent Bieber-backlash after his visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam.  In the guest book he wrote:

“Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber.”

We all laughed at the remark.  And then my co-worker said” “When are you seeing him?”  This confused the ever loving shit out of me. Had I just hallucinated this conversation?  When am I seeing Justin Bieber?”


“Aren’t you seeing him in concert?”

Just then I wanted to step onto a platform and bark into a megaphone.  “TIMBERLAKE, PEOPLE NOT BIEBER!”.  My god, am I just walking around, striking people as a card carrying belieber?

Because I’m not.


Okay, in doing today’s research, I will admit, his face is structurally sound, and even aliens from distant planets would agree that there is an attractiveness quotient happening there.

But that doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t feel so good to punch him in the nose, wrench off his spiky little ball cap and thwack him in the face and pull those god damned pants up so high, I’m practically giving him a wedgie.  Shit, why not just go for gold and give him an all-out wedgie?

“And this is for Anne Frank! You ignorant A-hole!”


One could imagine that going to the museum was arranged through some public relations scheme.  I suppose this comment isn’t that terrible when he could have written: “I just found out about you not ten minutes ago…and what was the deal with the Holocaust? This is all news to me! Love Justin”.  Bieber just needs to sing more and talk less.  Or take a page out of the other Justin’s book–and work hard, gain respect, don’t be a dick, and never make assumptions about the preferences of Holocaust victims.


And of course, there is a heap of articles about Frank because of Bieber’s comment, so there is some gold being spun–“yes, it was ignorant, but isn’t it nice that Anne Frank is making a comeback?”  Yes, but in a hashtag-Anne-Frank kind of way.  She’s this year’s “Gangnam Style“.  It also reveals a bit about what Bieber’s prime fan base knows about the holocaust and one of it’s most famous victim.  In fact, that has been the butt of a million jokes–Ricky Gervais cracked wise about all the illiterate teenaged girls who are fuming over this mystery girl.




There are arguments back and forth whether Anne Frank would have been a belieber…she was a teenager, she liked movie stars, her bedroom wall was decorated with cinematic imagery. So… ‘why not Bieber?’  And sure, she may have liked him, if she were a modern girl in a contemporary world.  One rabbi, speaking in defense of Bieber, said that Anne Frank would have been a fan, possibly going as far as to follow him on Twitter.


Nonetheless, Bieber is in some kind of moral danger. Lord knows that history has a tendency to repeat himself.  There have been others before him that have tried and failed to survive their success.  Hello Elvis? He was a total babe, and then came the jumpsuits and dying on the crapper, and now that’s all people really remember.  And Bieber’s out there buying strange monkeys–which is edging towards Micheal Jackson territory–and we all know how well that all worked out.  It was not that long ago that little baby Bieber was a boy from Ontario, with a dream, a camera and a You-Tube account.

young justin b

Look at that sweet little face…couldn’t you just picture that on the wall of the secret attic?


You know, I hate to admit it–but there is a similarity between these two–they were once kids with dreams of success–Anne Frank wanted to be a journalist, a writer, an actress.   Her father Otto had her journals published as a way to honour that dream, and now she is a symbol of lost innocence.  Bieber had dreams of being a famous singer, and his mom published a book about being…his mom.  (There has not been a more important birth since Mary and her boy Jesus).  But his innocence has been lost as well–not in a horrific manner like Anne, but in having too much–money, fame, attention.  And it’s a shame, for he could be a neat little Canadian success story; instead he is turning into a tragic tale of entitlement and decadence.  But if there’s anything to be learned from Anne Frank is that we are remembered by what we write down, and leave it to Bieber to add these eye-roll worthy remarks to his already sterling legacy.  Hopefully next time, Bieber could be a bit more frank instead.

Justin-BooberImages Courtesy of Google


Inspiration Bored

There are a select few that I occasionally check in with–“So…how’s the blog coming along?”  You can only see your work in a particular way, and any writer needs a handful of honest folk to set you straight.  When I last asked my husband, he said “It’s good”.  But he says “good” in that goooood, where there is a significant pitch in the dead center of all those O’s.  There’s a chocolate cheesecake kind of ‘good’, and then there’s awkward one-night-stand kind of ‘good’.  And his good was not sounding desserty in the slightest.

“…there’s just a lot about you saying how hard it is to write”.

“Well…yes…that’s sort of the deal with the blog”

“Oh…is it?”

“Yea, it’s mentioned in the tagline”.

He shrugs.  “Hmm, never mind then, it’s good”.  And there were no superfluous letters as he uttered the word.

And that is the point: to combat writers block! To write daily!  To make it part of the routine! To cultivate thoughts and shape them on the page!  It’s about harassing my scattered thoughts and finding a solid thread to guide me towards a tangible article of writing.  It’s also an exercise in exploring different topics–seeing what an audience responds to–(favorite feedback from a younger reader: “I like when you compare your childhood to other shit”). For lack of a better word, this is practice.  My brain is wearing a little sweat band, flexing it’s muscles, making things like thought, focus and action happen. Mentally, it can get very sweaty.  And a result of the inexperienced daily writer, there is potential to just unload some serious stream-of-consciousness drivel day after day, and it’s the equivalent to being at a chic luncheon and having a big hunk of spinach stuck between your teeth.  I just need someone to tell me to check myself before I wreck myself.

This practice of writing daily makes me think about Julia Cameron‘s “The Artist’s Way“, which is a book that symbolizes my own deep-seeded creative blockage. This book is designed to reach into one’s self, and find your find your ‘true creative artist self’.  (In a nutshell).  Two aspects of the program include ‘the artist’s date’– once a week you do something that you love, but you do it alone; second is the ‘morning pages’, where each day you write–with a pen on paper–three pages of stream of conscious thoughts.  And this is the first thing you are meant to do each day.

Yikes.  That is a lot of pressure.

I’ve started the book a number of times, but I’ve never finished it. Of course with the morning pages, you aren’t meant to share or re-read them, and I suppose the point is to just gush your every naked thought without self consciousness. When blogging the way I do, you are laying your personal shit out for dozens upon dozens of people. You have to fight the urge to censor yourself, because it becomes inauthentic.  And then it’s not any good at all.


I never resent the task of writing, but its not uncommon to just stare at the screen in the same way I just sort of stare at the coffee maker at 430am. When not staring at the blankness…it’s about looking anywhere else.  In my office there is a window–which doesn’t overlook much, so I bask in the natural light and stare up up a stacked cork board.  I don’t want to go and throw a term like “inspiration board”, but it is a board covered in things that (ahem) inspire me.


Everyone needs a visual happy place, especially when you are championing procrastination.

I know my brain is on the fritz as there is an awful lot of “…”

The funny thing is…

The trouble I’m having with…


There’s a lot of half baked, partially typed sentences happening here.  And not nearly enough pictures.  This is another problem–you get so damned bored with the thoughts inside your head.  If not bored–annoyed– as if your train of thought is some well meaning albeit excessively chatty seat mate on a plane ride.  Blathering away when all you’d like to do is flip through a magazine, watch a movie or take a nap.  Or worse, when you talk to this person for a certain period, but want to get on with said magazine or movie.  It’s a difficult transition, to go from chatting pleasantly to ceasing pleasantries.  This is also a struggle–finishing each piece with a snappy little closing line when sometimes there’s nothing more to say, just eyes drifting elsewhere and … silence.

Rush Hour

Talk about a tough situation.  I’m just about to settle in, ready to compose today’s masterpiece, and my husband deigned to ask me: “Just how long is this blog going to take?”  To which I scoff, how does one estimate time when creating genius?

Did anyone ever ask Picasso–“So, when are you um, going to be done with…whatever is happening over here?”   


Did anyone ask Coco Chanel if she could pick up the pace on her little black dress? No man, she would smash you in the face with that cigarette, and you’d still think that was the classiest broad alive.


Did anyone ever ask Miles Davis, “Hey can you give me a rough estimate on how long it’ll take to record your heroin laced stream of consciousness jazz riffs?” No, they did not.

miles-davisLook at that expression…do you want to be the jackass that questions this face?  He’s about six seconds away from saying: “Aaaaah, fuck off”. 

And you would fuck off, because you’d be sorry to asked such a stupid question.

You can’t rush perfection, bitches, just ask Barbra Streisand.


You can only imagine what was happening right before this picture was taken:

“Where’s Barbra?’

“Over there, cuddling that dog in front of that giant picture of herself”.


What’s really happening here is that I’m stumped for a topic I’d like to write about today.  And I’ve promised my husband that I’ll be done in one hour.  Truth is, I’m feeling frustrated, which is becoming an increasing sensation in my life.  It’s as if my very existence is at the end of a long hallway and every door is locked.  But I don’t want to turn this blog into a bitch-fest, we’re all here because we need a little break; you don’t want to take a break from your own version of the daily grind and be like: “Oh good, her life is super depressing, and her exquisite writing skills really makes me feel her pain… I’ll be sure to tune in daily”.  I’d like to keep things light, fun, frisky–like Cosmo  magazine, only with more pictures of gay icons holding dogs.   So, on occasion when I do drop something heavy on you–it’ll be kind of like borrowing your car without permission–it’s okay if I only do it once in a while.

helen gb2

The creator of Cosmo, Helen Gurley Brown, just look at her keeping it light and having it all.

Friday Night Bites

When we four children lived together under the same roof–the greatest dinners were not the holiday feasts that my mother slaved over (sorry mom, those were good too),  they were this accidental phenomenon that she created–‘make your own sandwich night’.  A couple different kinds of meat and cheese, some crusty buns, a few condiments, a handful of potato chips and you had yourself a party.  For years we would rave and reminisce about those nights.  Recently, my brother mentioned how he told a friend about these nights, and his friend was like: ‘Nah, man, that’s just sandwiches for supper”, to which he replied “No, man, its ‘make your own sandwich night‘. My mother admitted that she did it on nights when she couldn’t be bothered; just took our enthusiasm as a small victory for all mother-kind.  She was just grateful that it was better received than the time she dished up stewed tomatoes from the pantry. Bless her, she really did try to sell this meal, as I sobbed hopelessly at the table.  “Oh, I used to love a big bowl of tomatoes in the summertime, with a spoonful of sugar on top!”  Cool story mom, but I call bullshit.


Fridays are my toughest blogging day, it’s my first day back at work, and it is also our grocery shopping/errand running day.  By the time we get home, unpack, prepare some kind of sustenance…I kind of wish I had my own make-your-own-sandwich blogging equivalent.  Just throw a bunch of raw ingredients on the table, stand back and smoke a cigarette while everyone happily stuffs their faces.  Maybe tonight is more of a stewed tomato kind of night, so just sprinkle some sugar on top, and know that there will be many feasts in our future.

And now for some some old movie stars eating sandwiches…


sandwich 2Images Courtesy of Google

The Paris Wife

Before I started this blog, I would say that when I felt I couldn’t write, I would just go back to reading. Really, its the opposite side of the same coin–as Stephen King says: “If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that”, and he’s published a book or two, I think he’s pretty trustworthy.

ImageOf course, I would read for months at a time before writing down anything more than cryptic notes that not even I could understand.  Or worse yet, I wouldn’t read or write, and I’d have no momentum to do one or the other.  In “Almost Famous“, Penny Lane advises teenaged writer William Miller that “if he ever gets lonely, go to the record store and see your friends”.  Of course, record stores don’t exist anymore, but I feel the same way about bookstores.  If ever I feel discouraged or uninspired, I’ll go round to the nearby Chapters bookstore, get a latte, and poke around.  Image

On the most recent trip there, having just devoured both Caitlin Moran books, and my interest fading in Jenny Lawson, I wandered through the fiction section–though I am a pretty strict reader of memoirs, humor and personal essays–“The Paris Wife” caught my eye.  I’ve read reviews and recommendations, and though it is fictional, it is about real people, Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, in Paris in the 1920’s.  Sold!

paris wife

That night I crawled into bed with my new book…and fell asleep almost immediately. Night after night this was happening, until I come to realize that I was just not that into this book.  Yesterday afternoon I attempted once again, and found myself glazing over the same page. Why am I not digging this book?  It’s got lots of elements to enjoy: Paris, the 1920’s, famous writers, failed marriages…but I’m not consumed, I’m not entirely interested.  Maybe I’m not feeling connected to Hadley, the wife who mopes around Paris while Hemingway writes, and works as a foreign corespondent for “The Toronto Star“.  Her whole life revolves around her husband, which is so dangerous–I mean, I love the ever loving shit out of Ben, but I can easily fill the day in his absence.  After reading reviews on this incredibly popular book, I have to cry out a massive “THANK YOU” to New York Times critic Janet Maslin, who called Hadley a “stodgy bore”.  Maybe that’s what it is–she just bores me.  But listen, the book is not over yet, though they’ve just moved to Toronto to have their baby, apparently they go back to Paris–their undoing is yet to be done.

But it brings up an interesting point: in this fast-paced, short attention spanned world, how do you capture a readers attention and maintain that grasp?  I was speaking to a writer recently, her first novel about to be published, and she said that of the beginning of her own book, that to establish the story requires details that are not always immediately thrilling.    Sometimes the introduction has to begin as a slow burn, before the fire really gets going.


And this is true for the writing process, and for the building of a platform or fan base.  These things take time, but there needs to be a commitment to making it work, just like in a marriage.  In “The Paris Wife”, Hemingway is captured as a frustrated, unpublished writer, who is trying to find his style.  He puts this work before his relationship with Hadley.  He works diligently, has an enormous amount of material: manuscripts, vignettes, short stories.  Good ole Hadley, on her way to meet him after a separation caused by his work–empties out his shelf of said work and then leaves it on the train, goes to get a drink and stretch her legs, and comes back to find it stolen.  Oh my god, the mind reels, that would be the longest journey of your life, knowing that you had to admit that news, and that it would ultimately change your marriage–and historically speaking it was the beginning of their end.  And though I haven’t finished the book, I know that infidelity, betrayal and divorce is on the menu–which seems to be an recurring theme in Hemingway’s life–which ended when he committed suicide in 1961.

What I can appreciate is that Paula McLain wrote “The Paris Wife” as an answer to “The Sun Also Rises“.  Hadley Richardson supported him, loved him, waited for him, and then he wrote this fictional account about a time in their marriage, but hardly made mention of her.   Instead he creates a love story between his impotent protagonist and a promiscuous divorcee, who was based on a woman from their social circle.  He did dedicate the book to her, and the book and film rights were given to her.  Though they divorced, they remained friendly.  Apparently before Hemingway shot himself, he called Hadley and they reminisced about those years in Paris.  The general consensus amongst scholars is that Hadley was his greatest love, for Hemingway had once said: “I wish I had died before I loved anyone but her”.


For more information on the many lives and wives of Ernest Hemingway–this was an interesting site:  http://theblogalsorises.com/tag/hadley-richardson-hemingway/

Live at the Sahara Tahoe

For years I lived alone in a downtown bachelor apartment with bright yellow walls, hardwood floors, a quaint little kitchen that overlooked a church…and a bathroom that you had to share with the person across the hall.  That wasn’t always ideal, but $380 a month could not be argued with.  I filled every square inch of wall and ledge with kitsch.  Neil Diamond records tacked on the wall, this strange motif of old men with pipes, painted velvet, you can imagine–I was a mid-twenties theatre major, you just know there was a Breakfast at Tiffany’s poster up in there somewhere.


A place of pride in the flat was my red record player and stack of albums.  I absolutely loved that crackling sound of the record.  I’ve owned a record player since I was a teenager, after my dad brought one home for me.  I went on a school field trip to Vancouver Island, and then proceeded to spend all my money on Blondie and ABBA records…and a life changing album–the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack.  My parents had a lot of albums, which I then pilfered. I used to lie on my bed stare up at the ceiling and listen to Fleetwood Mac, Billie Holiday and the Beatles.  I wasn’t always a happy person, but that was always a pleasant place.


That yellow apartment was the best place I lived in all my scrappy university years.  I remember lying in my bed (which was, naturally, on the floor) and gazing at all the paintings, album covers, mismatched furniture, and the antique radiator in the corner.  It was like being in a horizontal stoner’s museum.  When alone, I always had music playing.  If ever I felt lonely, I’d listen to a record and take comfort in the crackling.  My personal favorite was Isaac Hayes‘ Live at the Sahara Tahoe.  It’s a double album, so it will fill up a good part of the night, its a live album, so you get applause and general hoopla.  The best part is that Isaac Hayes talks throughout the album, and of course, he had an excellent speaking voice.  This is a man who was referred to as “Black Moses” and named his own music label “Hot Buttered Soul“…he was so bad ass, but was not intimidating.  He was so soulful and sexy, how could your mood not be lifted by the sound of his deep and silky murmurings?  The absolute greatest part is the album cover–at first sight it looks like this…

isaac 2
But if you flipped open the little cardboard doors you’d get this:

isaac hayes

You can’t get that with your downloading or your fancy I-Pods can you? I listened to that album countless times; t was the soundtrack to a time where I was young and silly, broke and studying, and praying: “Please God, let me be in this place forever”.


Of course all things must end, I got engaged and moved in with my fiance.  I was working out of town for the summer–the plan being to move in September.  He called me one evening, his voice full of ingenuity.  He had done me a great favor–he went into the apartment and packed it all up.  When he told me, I felt all the blood drain out of my body.  That little happy place was dismantled, and I never got a chance to say goodbye.  When I saw the apartment next, all bare, boxes everywhere, I could not contain my tears.  The photographs, postcards, cards and magnets off the fridge, the picture of Dean Martin that was next to the kettle was gone—it was all packed away.  While my fiance looked on, uncertain how to proceed, I sat on a gaudy second-hand chair near the window that overlooked the church yard and wept for the loss.


I would box up my possessions once more, when I moved out of my fiance’s house.  This time, I stuck everything in my aunt’s basement and moved to New Zealand.  When I went through the boxes recently, I was thrilled to see that Isaac Hayes had survived the multiple moves and rather lengthy wait while I gallivanted overseas. But amongst the patchwork scraps of my past, there was not a single photograph of that little place on Columbia Street.  But I love that by dropping the turntable needle down on “The Sahara Tahoe”, it takes me right back to that place.  I see that room so clearly in my mind, but I can only catch a glimpse of the girl I used to be.

ImageImages Courtesy of Google

Everyone’s A Critic

Yesterday I was having coffee with my fabulous friend Vivi.  I blogged about him once, about a play he was in.  “Did you see the blog?” I asked him.  “I did…but I really wish it had been more about me…you mentioned me, but then you just made it about you”. (Of course I made it about me, you bitchy queen, it’s my blog). Well, what do you think of the rest of the site?  “Um…I didn’t hate it”.  “You didn’t hate it? That’s all you’ve got?”  “I mean I didn’t regret reading any of them”.


So what you are saying is I wore an adorable pink hat and a lovely brooch to the Olympics, and you don’t regret seeing me in them? Okay Vivi, maybe you are not used to the delicate feminine ego, but you’ve really got to work on your phrasings.  Here are some fun examples of how those words can cut like a knife.

Girl: “I love you”.

Guy: “Um, I don’t hate you”. 

Yea…that is not definitely not love, and it’s not really not like, it’s in this brutal purgatory, that  is the worst place ever–ambivalence.

Girl: “Last night was so amazing…did you enjoy yourself?”

Guy: “Yeah, I mean…I don’t regret sleeping with you”.

Again, in a different context, that too would be one heck of a blow–there’s a lot of things that I don’t regret having to do…but then again I do not enjoy doing it.  What I want from my readers is to enjoy each piece, and go on with their day, happy to have read the daily entry.  And maybe you just won’t be one of those people.

But this is good to know…not everyone is a fan, but everyone is a critic.

x critic

Vivi’s the kind of man that likes comic books, fantasy and fiction–surely the musings of a young woman finding pieces of herself in everything from plays, books and movies must not be his cup.  In fact, we’ve been in bookstores together and his interest in anime and “Walking Dead” comics was lost on me.


Being friends doesn’t mean you have to share interests…and you don’t have to like my blog to be my friend.  But it’s a lesson in having thicker skin…I suppose I’d rather muster up absolute loathing, rather than a disinterested shrug.  It’s that blasé vibe from an animated diva that makes me wonder what the writing is really worth.

ImageImages Courtesy of Google

Watch Closely Now

Hot on the heels of my divine plan to lavish my husband with a post-work day feast, he falls off the face of the earth for over three hours.  He’s usually finished work at 330, and if there is even a notion that he will be late, he will call.  In the three years we’ve been together, we have been in each others pockets.  He’s been the only person I’ve known in a city or country. We have been together on planes, trains, hostels, hotels, tight places and crowded spaces.  We were sitting side by side in a movie theatre in Christchurch when a deadly 6.3 earthquake occurred in 2011.    We were in the middle of the city, and had to make the treacherous journey back to Ben’s mother’s house on the beach.  We eventually abandoned the car on the side of the road–and crossed a damaged and distorted bridge towards a wooded area. We sprinted through the forest, which was flooded from broken water mains.  The ground below was rumbling and there was an audible growl as the earth prepared to shudder once more.  It was as if we were being chased by an invisible monster; and this creature could kill us and we’d never see it coming.  Ben was ahead of me, his hand around my wrist, pulling me, his grasp refusing to let me go.  Without slowing his speed, he looked back at me with wild eyes and said: “You know I love you–right?” And for a moment I thought those were the last words I was ever going to hear.  As a consequence of this experience and the exhausting days that followed, we are very safety and contingency plan focused.  We’ve discussed exit strategies, we have decided on a meeting place in case we are separated during an emergency or disaster–no matter what, we need to be able to find each other, it is the most important thing.


Yesterday, I rushed to do all my errands and tasks so I could have my evening free (see Good Housekeeping).  I tried to call Ben at noon and at again at three–half an hour before he was due to be off work, but both his phones were out of service.  And then hours went by without a word.  Ben is an considerate, consistent man and this was the most uncharacteristic thing ever…and it made my blood run cold.  I called my mother and we practiced the age-old art of two women cooking up reasons for why a man hasn’t called.  He was working out of town so there were realistic reasons for his not being within reach: cell phone service, driving time, working overtime etc, but feeling so alone in the house, I felt strangled by fear.  There is something so terrifying about loving someone so much, and  watching them go out into this unstable and unpredictable world everyday.  I say this to my mother on one of our phone calls, and she concurs by saying that with parenthood it’s even worse; your happiness is directly linked to their safety.  My mother suggests that I call the office, or the manager of Ben’s latest work site.  Which I do, and he has enough information to ease my nervous state from red to yellow.  But I will not exhale until my husband walks through that door.

While I wait, I try to occupy my time, but I had done already everything on my list.  I organize my office, sort out the file cabinet, trying to bring order to my life.  I can’t focus on anything else–I can’t read, I’m not even trying to write, and I can’t watch anything, which is a shame because I had Barbra Streisand’s “A Star is Born“, and would have happily tucked into that bit of cinema gold if I were in a happier place.

“A Star is Born” would easily appear on my top ten-all time greatest movies ever, not because it is a perfect movie–it’s cheesy, it’s dated, it’s over-dramatic, but it’s just wonderful.  It’s a devastating love story about a self-destructive rock star who elevates a struggling night club singer to stardom, which ultimately leads to his own demise.


I have seen this movie a number of times, and when I first saw it, my life was changed for the better.  The music! The chemistry! The tragedy! The passion, my god the passion! I mentioned it at work recently, and a co-worker, a prickly widow who does not always enjoy my presence, piped up at the reference.  “I love that film”.  And thanks to this 70’s musical, we found a wormhole of common ground.  She had not seen the movie in years, and I wanted to bring that picture back into her life.  I rented it and brought it to her the next day, so she could watch it on her days off.  I wanted to connect with this woman, I really felt for her, having lost her husband.  I worry about the kind of hurt you have to live with every single day, I worry about those who have to carry it around.  She brought the movie back, and of course enjoyed it all over again, because it is (if I haven’t said so already) an amazing movie.  I too wanted to revisit the film, but this is one of those “Cairo Time” kind of movies where Ben draws the line in the cinematic sand.  But last night, as I paced around the house, not knowing how to wait gracefully, I couldn’t bear the thought of that movie.  The agony of losing someone, the thought of that absence is too much to bear, even if it belongs to someone else, even if it’s just fiction.  Even if it’s just a movie.

This film had many writers, but two of the final writing credits belong to Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne.  I love Joan Didion, she is one of my favorite writers, she is real icon in the world of essays and creative-non fiction.  In recent years she wrote the memoir “The Year of Magical Thinking“, which examines the year following her husband’s death.  I read it once, cried about seventeen times and I swore I would never read it again.  It was that good;  good in the most devastating possible way.  The loss was too much to bear so in order to release it or make sense of it,  she has write about her pain, and thus, continue that relationship by recollecting it and repeating it in her own words.  At the end of “A Star is Born”, Esther Hoffman sings her own version of her John Norman Howard’s famous song “Watch Closely Now” along with her own “With One More Look at You”, and nobody have ever grieved through a musical medley quite like this.  Both women find their own path through the mire because there is no other way to survive.  But they’d much rather have their partners than the art form that remains.


Ben walks through the door after seven, and he knows what the worry will look like on the other side of the wall.  I am so relieved to see him that I wrap my arms around him and sob into his chest.  And I do in fact, stare at him all night like a dog watches someone while they eat. Though this is my day off, I miss a rare opportunity to sleep in and I visit with Ben before he goes off to work.  He will be back at the same site, working late and out of cell phone range.  He kisses me goodbye, and walks down the street to catch his ride. I watch closely  as he moves further and further away—this large man shrinking in size.  He keeps looking back, at the pink bathrobe in the doorway and at his little wife inside of it–who is forever praying for his health and well being.  He waves one last time before edging further out of my vision.  But I don’t close the door until he is completely out of sight.

Fat Elvis Blues

Boy oh boy do I not have it in me to write today.  It’s been a two-job-day, with a meeting in between, and now it is after dinner–butter chicken and red wine, and I’m warm and cozy…but I’ll persevere…for the next minute and a half.  Wore my chic new black dress today to work…of course, I always imagine how good an outfit would look on Kate Middleton, and then feel undoubtedly disappointed that it doesn’t have the same effect on me.  Feeling almost relieved that the weather is still cool.  I like the layers.  I’ll miss the layers.  Winter time, with all its comfort food, inactivity and booze has left me feeling a bit like Fat Elvis, and I’m just not sure I’d suit the sparky jumpsuit.


The hot new looks in springtime fashion is Leather! Mint! Floral! Funky Pants!  You do not want to see me in ‘funky pants’…nor do you want to see me in shorts.  Especially those itty-bitty numbers you are seeing a lot of these days.  And that ain’t me babe…I’m like Diane Keaton, I like to be well-covered…happy in a turtleneck in the middle of a heat wave.

Image   I love black–I’m with Nora Ephron and Morticia Addams on this one…I have so much black in my closet, I’m like an Italian widow.  Though I’ve never been one to turn down a pattern or a frock, my standard day to day attire is: black, grey, jeans, leggings and scarves.  I don’t even wear jewelry, just plain gold hoops and my wedding band, and a watch that I wear on occasion.  I used to be such a flashy broad, now I like to keep it simple, easy, classic.



Summertime is approaching and soon I will be wrenched from my layers.  This means more cardio and less carbs, and that all sounds very unpleasant.  But I have a plan.  I’m going to single-handedly bring back the 1920’s bathing suit.


But then again, I’m not getting any younger, I really should “make an effort”.  Maybe I’ll start with three half-hearted jumping jacks, maybe a little jog around the block…tomorrow…or next week…as soon as I have finished this enormous loaf of bread.

I Dream of Tucci

My co-worker Kathleen greets me a good morning before asking: “Did Ben read yesterday’s blog?”.  “No, he’s been reading them the next day on his lunch break…why?” “Oh, there were a couple of mistakes”.  “Like bad mistakes?” “Not bad…just noticeable”.  “So what, like one or two?”   She pauses for a moment “There were like five or six of them”.  “Five or six?” Holy Moses–that shit ain’t right.

I’m frustrated by that, there’s nothing I could do about it …I can’t leave work, drive home to re-read and edit…though the thought crosses my mind.  I am such a shameless perfectionist, I simply loathe the idea of some glaring error distracting from perfectly lovely prose.  “Does it take away from the piece?” I ask her, my anxiety increasing.  She shrugs  mildly, “It was fine…I just figured you were tired”.  Yes, I was tired, and while the writing came easily, I had some technical difficulties and then suffered from one of the worst plights of any writer: having to edit my own work.  To write a piece and then to revisit it almost immediately in search of mistakes, it’s so easy to miss minor or major inconsistencies.  Kathleen tries to soothe my injured pride–“Don’t worry…maybe you can write a blog about it…people know that you’re human”.  Which brings up an excellent point–y’all knew I was human right? I’m not a robot or a proboscis monkey…I’m a human woman-girl, and I am incapable of editing my own work.  Which brings up a second point…I wish I had someone who would read every single blog before I send it out there into the world.


Lost in thought amongst the prep tasks, I daydream about potential blog buddies…someone that could just hang around the house with me–keep me on track, offer  gentle guidance and advice. And you know who came to mind.  That’s right, you have no idea, because it’s totally random, and you won’t see it coming:  Stanley Tucci.  You may not recognize the name but you’ll know his face:


He is in so many films that make me think–fuck yeah, Stanley Tucci!  He would be the best friend and co-worker ever. If I could make my own Tucci fusion, I would mix his characteristics from “The Devil Wears Prada”, “Julie and Julia” and “Easy A”, with just a bash of “Burlesque”, and by all means, hold “The Lovely Bones”.  But he would be supportive, yet bitchy, darkly humorous, he’d call me on my bullshit, totally hurt my feelings, but then would make me tea, brush my hair and tell me all about working with Meryl Streep.  And it would be amazing.


Sigh–but alas, until Mr Tucci answers my phone calls or cancels the restraining order, expect the occasional mistake–and believe me when I tell you that I wish it wasn’t so– each daily contribution is full of so much love and affection for all you lovely readers.  So please forgive me, after all I am only human.

2003 Sundance Film Festival - "Mudge Boy" - PortraitsImages Courtesy of Google