If you want to win the lottery, you must buy a ticket.
"Here’s another thing to consider. If you always wanted to write, and now you are A Certain Age, and you never got around to it, and you think it’s too late…do please think again. I watched Julia Glass win the National Book Award for her first novel, “The Three Junes”, which she began writing in her late 30’s. I listened to her give her moving acceptance speech, in which she told how she used to lie awake at night, tormented as she worked on her book, asking herself, “Who do you think you are, trying to write a first novel at your age?” But she wrote it. And as she held up her National Book Award, she said, “This is for all the late-bloomers in the world.” Writing is not like dancing or modeling; it’s not something where – if you missed it by age 19 – you’re finished. It’s never too late. Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser. If you write something beautiful and important, and the right person somehow discovers it, they will clear room for you on the bookshelves of the world – at any age. At least try."
-- Elizabeth Gilbert, On Writing
I hate Tripod. I hate that they make things so difficult. So, because it's a new day, I'm moving over to blogger. From now on I will double post. Check out the new site here:
love & kisses, dear ones
I've just gotten publicists tummy. It's that nervous I-think-I-might-throw-up sensation in the pit of your stomach. It's not actually unpleasant, probably because I'm so used to it. But I haven't had it for years. Today, this morning, I wrote a press release for a friend, and there it is! How strange. How truly strange.
Two sleeping sick children. Not too sick to eat apricot pie with cream though, while watching HOUSE I might add.
Mr H, how is tv guide? And how come you no check in wid me no mo? Has my domestic tedium gotten the better of you? Did Jerry Garcia visit you in a dream?
Norway, somewhat irritatingly, seems to be in the zeitgeist. This week Oslo features in The Week as one of the five European cities worth a visit, and Conde Nast Traveller has an article about the country as if written by a born-again Scandinaviologist. Here is what he writes about Tjome. Ours is one of the "cute cottages" in the hills he refers to here:
On June 23—Midsummer's eve—Laura and I decided to make like the locals and see some of the countryside. We rented a car, headed for the highway, joined a long line of Volvo and Opel station wagons with mountain bikes strapped to their roofs, and drove through no fewer than nine tunnels. We were headed south, to a farm called Engø Gård, near Queen Sonja's cottage on the island of Tjøme, where she used to frolic in the hay as a child.
These days it's not a farm anymore. It was converted into a luxurious resort in the mid-1980s. The barn is still standing, only it's a restaurant now. We ate dinner in the hayloft, under notched ash beams set in place in 1905. The chef, Per Hallundbæk, is Danish. Fifteen years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a chef to seek his fortune in Norway. But if you go to any decent Norwegian restaurant today, there's a good chance your waiter will be from Sweden or even France.
After dinner, Per took us for a cruise around the archipelago so we could see the bonfires burning on the pink granite shoreline, and we admired the cute cottages perched in the hills above. They weren't quite huts, but neither were they McMansions. We made our way farther out toward the open water of the fjord and at one point passed a barren stretch fittingly called "the end of the world." But then the boat began to bounce over big, mean waves, and Per turned back for the friendlier waters of the archipelago.
(c) Mark Schatzker, Conde Nast Traveller, June 2007
Sunset over Tjome, June.
|When Ernest Hemminway started as a young reporter for the Kansas City Star, he was given a style sheet with four basic rules:|
|•||Use short sentences.|
|•||Use short first paragraphs.|
|•||Use vigorous English.|
|•||Be positive, never negative|
|Asked about these rules years later, he said, “Those were the best rules I ever learned in the business of writing. I’ve never forgotten them. No one with any talent, who feels and writes truly about the things he is trying to say, can fail to write well if he abides by them.”|
News from Jumbo in Annapolis - rain, heavenly rain, a boat and a dock and some time on the Chesapeake. Crabs for dinner, and lobster risotto, which of course he made for his surprised hosts. His rainy sojourn through Maryland includes visiting his two best friends, and so he is happy. He calls and tells me of the houses with the pastures, the horses, the boats, the relaxed life. There is sun in his voice and California seems such a strange place for him. He blooms in the rain, swells like a plum, becomes a kid again.
Yesterday was spent in between two streppy, sniffy, coughy kids in our big white bed. We watched The Parent Trap (oh the tragedy of that freckle-faced little angel) and Annie Hall, and had Greek Salad and hot bread and salami for lunch, cups of tea and big mugs of steaming ribena at tea time with lemon biscuits. Supper was gemelli with garlic, brocolli, white beans and tomato with a little red pepper accompanied by the MTV Awards. We like Sarah Silverman, didn't like the Paris Hilton joke, thought Will Ferrell and Sacha Baron Cohen were funny, generally agreed on all of these things. Dogs piled in and out, as they do, some reading happened, some fights, much laying on of hands on fevered brow, hugging, giggling, croaking. N managed to hold of his strep long enough to take two SAT 2s on Saturday, and apparently was not unhappy with how they went.
Trader Joe's has peonies again for $6.99, but now they include the white ones flecked in dark red. I bought three bunches and replaced the pale yellow petals, once puce, that are falling all over the dining room table and onto the floor. I wonder who but me even notices these flowers as I cut their stems and remove the lower leaves and whistle with my breath like my mother does when she's concentrating. These are my very favorite flowers in the world and if we do end up moving to Maryland or Massachusetts or Maine, I'm going to plant huge hedgefuls of them.
Little is up. Still sick. But well enough to want french toast.
Many reviewers of Mr. McEwan’s book have noted that to put sex back in its old perch among literature’s most momentous plot elements (alongside truth, money, family, honor and God) the author set his story in 1962. Of course this is the year just before the one that the poet Philip Larkin established sarcastically (but with some reason) in his often-quoted “Annus Mirabilis” as the all-important dividing line:
Sexual intercourse began
In nineteen sixty-three
(Which was rather late for me)
Between the end of the Chatterley ban
And the Beatles’ first LP.
In Edward and Florence’s world, Mr. McEwan writes: “The Pill was a rumor in the newspapers, a ridiculous promise, another of those tall tales about America.” They move awkwardly and painfully toward consummation in an “era — it would end later in that famous decade — when to be young was a social encumbrance,” one “for which marriage was the beginning of a cure.”
-- From Sex With Consequences, by Randy Kennedy, NY Times, June 3, 2007
This is how it goes early on a Saturday morning with a sick child in the house: she's propped up in my bed on about four white pillows, big mug of tea in her hands, a plate of white toast with strawberry jam, yogurt, apricots (untouched). She's wearing a t-shirt with the Union Jack on it and the dog has her chin propped up on the edge of the bed gazing mournfully at both of us. GMA on Saturday morning is the kind of show you hope the space aliens aren't watching in order to get an insight into human behaviour. A seering piece of hard journalism -- $50,000 birthday parties for five year olds (given by caring, doting, facelifted parents in bad, expensive clothes); a Michigan farmer who got a dui on his tractor/mower; and the international incident sparked by Miss USA's fall on stage at the Miss Universe pageant in Mexico. Heady stuff. We were all in bed by 9:15pm last night. Noons is off to take his SAT 2s today. I hear him rise at 6:30pm. He showers, drinks a cup of honeyed tea I take him, is in an incredibly pleasant mood while sharpening his five pencils...and I wonder whether an earlier bedtime may do all of us some good. Daughter has been suffering with strep for nearly two weeks and now her lymph nodes are swollen so that she can hardly move her legs and she has a cold to boot. What is it about long drawn-out childhood illnesses that can make you temporarily panic? Especially the leg thing. My mind rushes through all the possibilities: muscle strain from riding, growing pains, flu=aching joints, yellow fever, paralysis.... (mounting panic ensues...)
J is away. If it's Saturday it has to be Baltimore. I get brief text messages prior to boarding planes. It's funny how your whole life flashes before your eyes just before you take off on planes.
This house is full of books. Every room apart from the dining room & kitchen, has a book shelf. I look wistfully at the shelves dreaming of the time when I might get to revisit some of my favorites. Yesterday Gabriel Garcia Marquez went back to Macondo (Aracataca) and so that book is staring at me, ready for another dip-in I think. And yet, and yet....my daughter would rather watch Kathy Griffin's D-List? "I will turn off the television if you watch this," I say, as sternly as I can muster, "this is mind-numbing, low-end b-s. This has no redeeming features." She rolls her eyes at me and very deliberately and very slowly changes the channel.
It's the last day of May. I can feel the panic rising in my chest. It's the LAST DAY of May. Summer is here already, despite the clement weather on the west coast and the drizzly rain in England, summer is here with its suitcase. There's an appreciation of Michael Ondaatje in the New Yorker that is enormously uplifting and somewhat assuages the panic. Here's something I liked:
"I don't really begin a novel, or any kind of book, with any sense of what's happening or even what's going to happen." -- Ondaatje.
This of course flies in the face of all the conventional wisdom on novel writing.
And then this quote from Paul McCartney: "You knocked off at five-thirty, so now you had time for an evening. Very civilized. I was living in London, so I'd go to the National to see Colin Blakely in 'Juno and the Paycock,' go to the movie, 'Far from the Madding Crowd,' go to an exhibition, a reception. All these great things. So the next morning, when you're having your cup of tea before recording, you'd be talking about that, and you'd be informed by it."
This is something like what the Artist's Way prescribes when she suggests that you go on an "artist's date" with yourself once a week. We do really beg to be inspired, provoked, thrilled and also just prodded out of our stupor.
USA Today has asked for my opinion on the Lindsay Lohan/Paris Hilton/Nicole Ritchie situation. "It's a cover looking at young Hollywood gone wild -- how Paris, Lindsay, Nicole Richie etc are basically total train wrecks. What's going on with them and how did this happen? Or has this always been the case with young actors who have too much too soon and no one telling them to stop?" I suggested that we start a charity called Much Love Starlet rescue to give them a little love and nourishment.
I vow to work extra hard for the next six weeks so that I can really enjoy my holiday and not just feel like a dilletante (how could I possibly be that when I can hardly spell the word?)
I woke to a voice within the room. perhaps.
The room itself: "You're wasting this life
I packed my bag in the night
and peered in its leather belly
to count the essentials.
Nothing is essential.
To the east, the flood has begun.
Men call to each other on the water
for the comfort of voices.
Love surprises us.