Before mercury, my blood used to fill thermometers.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

My world acquired a tendency to crumble as easily as a soda cracker.

Finishing a book really buried me! But now I am back!

Two phenomena making persistent, positive reverberations on my days: the impending return of Twin Peaks and the whole notion of The New Yorker Presents.

  1. The fact of Twin Peaks being a show back from the dead, more than two decades after its life on air, and the skepticism naturally borne of returning to the well of that particular magical success, I think, has obscured the fact that it is in the hands of David Lynch, and nothing could ever dream of getting me more excited than David Lynch excited to return to the site of one of his favorite ideas. I am prepared for whatever dances out of his brain. I am also an aggressive admirer of Fire Walk With Me, so I would be overjoyed with some more dark material that recontextualizes the original show.
  2. As one who does subscribe to The New Yorker, I am disappointed that — as far as I know — I will not be able to experience the live action version of the magazine's issues as they will exist in The New Yorker Presents, one of Amazon's 2015 pilots that may/may not go to series (will not give Amazon money). I would like to see a periodical experiment with that form, and I would like to see how the content comes off when presented in that way: the fiction as dramatic shorts, readings of poems, small documentaries based on the articles and interviews. I do not think they have plans for a Rod Serling-style host to lend cohesion to the overall product — like some guy dressed as Eustace Tilley forever lost in the New World Trade Center. If they decline that route, I would mourn it.

I have more going on than that, I mean: my Lessons for Girls — named, in full, Listen, Ladies, Leave Me Alone: Lessons for Girls. The contract is under review by a lawyer, I am reviewing proofs of the cover. I am proud of the work and proud for having done it. I gave myself a hard, fast rule about not responding to the criticisms of Lena Dunham's book in my own, making it strictly about Girls. I am not exactly happy that everything I could say about the criticisms leveled against Not That Kind of Girl come up elsewhere in my text, but it made it easier for me.

The symphony season this year, so far, has yielded two radiant concerts — one dedicated to Beethoven, one featuring Bernstein and Prokofiev's takes on "Romeo and Juliet" with a world premier clarinet concerto — the latter of which may have dethroned last year's "Rite of Spring" as my favorite time at the orchestra. The reviews have to be prepared fast, and all I wanted to do was stop and take in the "Notturno Concertante" and the HSO, totally in its element, playing the "West Side Story" dances.

In between the concerts, I went to the west coast, to Portland and Olympia, to read about Lee Miller, eat blackberries and varieties of Viennoiserie, leave Powell's as rarely as possible, and ride the Amtrak to see one of my best friends. I bought everything I could find by and about Tove Jansson and read — and finished — her Fair Play on the train. I read Men Explain Things to Me and Rape New York in my hotel room, late at night. I recommend both volumes, but I do not recommend reading them like that.

Before and after that, I was in New York for flashes of time. I spent the majority of that time on the Lower East Side and I fell hard and deep for Russ and Daughters. I never want to leave. I want to inhabit it, The Shining-style, forever.

On my first visit to the Cafe, the first day of BinderCon, I had the little Super Heebster, baked farmer cheese, coffee and a cucumber soda. I was too sick to risk an egg cream (I am lactose intolerant but, in this case, I don't care) or a cocktail. That was the best dining experience I have ever had! Having varieties of cold fish at my disposal, coffee poured along with water upon seating, handsome decor, soft jazz, and a very unawake New York outside: that was the best present. I went again a few weeks ago, with Seth, on a work trip, and had all of that plus the Shtetl. I bought a load of stuff home from the store, including Holland Herring, which is mesmerizing.

I am almost finished with My Brilliant Friend, the first of Elena Ferrante's works I've read, and it has made the kind of profound impression that Lolita and the Sound and the Fury made on me. I hope Ferrante never reveals herself, but I do hope she produces work as long as she is capable. Its greatest contender for best book that I read this year is the New York Review Books' selection of Elizabeth Taylor stories, You'll Enjoy it When You Get There. Or, no, I'm wrong about that. I'll think about it.


  1. I'm so looking forward to your book! Big Tove Jansson fan too - esp Fair Play.

    1. I'm so excited to share my book with you, Andrea! This was my first experience with Tove Jansson — she is such a treasure!