in general

I am getting emails from Dear Readers today (Friday, Sept. 28) wondering if I have suddenly retired from blogging.

It seems that many of you are not getting my most recent blog post, and are instead still stuck on this old one from last week.

I am trying to fix it. And by “trying to fix it”, I mean I am pouring myself a big stinking vodka tonic and wishing that life wasn’t so hard. It’s been a tough week.

In fact, the title of this week’s blog post is: Jesus, What a Week.

Spoiler Alert: This week’s blog is also tagged “I Want to Punch Brett Kavanaugh in his Pie Hole.

Please keep trying. I hope to figure out how to get us back to regularly scheduled programming real soon.

XXOO

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So I was in California last week, the cute little town of Calabasas, to be exact. I went to the Calabasas Film Festival. I saw Colette.

I did not like it. If you go, I will tell you that it is a very pretty film to look at, but turn your ears off. The dialogue is excruciating. It’s 65% expository (that is, the characters narrate their inner lives so that watching the movie feels like watching a term paper, and a high school term paper at that) and as the movie is mostly about Colette’s sex life and not her life as an artist, there was a lot of chatter about sex and very little chit chat about writing good sentences. I was bored.

I have zero curiosity about what people do in the privacy of their bedroom or the hayloft or the 6th arrondissement in Paris. I do not know why people make movies, or want to watch movies, about something as mundane as sexual awakenings.

Oh. Wait. Yes I do.

This is a real book, and the name of the woman character that you see on the cover is Vivian Swift. For reals.

Sex sells. To people who have no imagination. . . or so I’m guessing. But I’m a Capricorn. The most interesting part of Colette for me was when her husband, a writer and editor, reads Colette’s first attempt at fiction and tells her that it is full of beautiful descriptions but won’t sell because it has no plot. I like this scene because I am starting my writing workshops here on the north shore of Long Island next week and I am gearing up to help people know who they are as writers, and being able to pinpoint writing blind spots is a crucial part of being a good workshop leader.

The thing about travel is that you never know where your next cup of tea is coming from. The first night of the Calabasas Film Festival, for example, I had two glasses of white wine and a big box of Junior Mints for dinner because I could not partake of the official menu of fishy stuff and avocado stuff, because I don’t like the taste of anything with a fin and the idea of eating green mush is revolting. So I scavenged what I could at the movie theater and ended up dining on my favorite forms of sugar.

Now that I’m back here on the East Coast, it’s taken me four full days to get back into the swing of things (because I made the mistake of catching up with the news and it’s been a tremendously big shit storm out there, tremendously big and wet, from the standpoint of the verbal diarrhea spewing from der Drumpf’s pie hole).

So I did not attempt to build a 10th castle this week. But I did go to the used book store to sort the recent donations so, just for you, here is the Most Boring Book of the Week straight from the Bryant Library Used Book Store:

When people talk to me about donating books I always make sure to tell them that we do not accept college text books. I think the title of this book explains why. Even if we price this at 50 cents nobody is going to buy this thing.

And worse yet, college text books are hideous both on the outside and on the inside:

I feel sorry for the student who had to read this book for her Spanish Literature class but why should she inflict her pain on us?

I looked up this book, which is a small (6 inches by 9 inches, 108 pages) book that is still for sale to liberal arts majors in America. It costs $47.50. Yes. this little book costs almost fifty dollars. (My books are twice as long and cost half as much.)

So that’s why the person who donated this book. She couldn’t bear to just throw away  $47.50. It’s a lot to spend on a book that you will only read once in your life. But hey. Nobody asked her to waste her life by highlighting the progress of textual culture, in all its forms, in no way lessened the importance granted in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to two other mediums of knowledge, memory, and persuasion: that is, the image and the oral discourse.

In other words, book publishing did not make painting and talking obsolete.

Like, duh.

Cat news: While I was away, Candy moved out of my shower, finally. She now inhabits the upstairs hallway. Yay. I get my bathroom back, but I now have litter boxes and a napping cat that I have to step over every time I to-and-fro.

My 18-year old cat, Coco, is looking really bad so I am taking her to the vet this afternoon.

Next week I will have a castle to show you, one that I hope will be a show stopper.

Until next Friday, Dear Readers, have a great weekend. There’s a new, more evil hurricane of Republican bullshit heading our way and we all need to keep calm and flip congress in November.

 

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If wishes were sailboats I’d be on the Seine River, moored on the Quai de Conti, as seen in this illustration I did for page 12 of Gardens of Awe and Folly:

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Do you see that black house boat, the middle one docked alongside the quai that faces the Pont Neuf, and the fabulous garden in the Square du Vert-Galant(above)? Well, that’s a real boat, really floating on the Seine, and it’s really for sale, having just come on the market, available for immediate move-in:

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This is the Marie Jeanne, built in 1913 — she’s 16 meters long (that’s 53 feet, for those of us who think in the picturesque).

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The interior is mahogany — the living area is open concept, with sky lights and a working fireplace.

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The boat has 2 bedrooms, so its $1.6 million asking price is a bargain, considering that a comparable 2-bedroom apartments in the 6th arrondissement is going for $3 million these days.

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It’s got a full sized tub, too . . . but I’d have to get used to having a skylight right above me when I am soaking away the stresses of the day.

WHAT AM I SAYING???? If I had $1.6 million to buy me a houseboat on the Seine I’m pretty sure I’d have nothing in the world to feel stressed about.

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Ahhhhhhhh, to spend the next four years in my own little world, bobbing cozy and happy on the gentle river of memory and wonder, painting little moments of joy and thankfulness . . .

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Oh, if only wishes were sailboats, I’d christen my bateau The Madame President and sail off into the sunset.

Thank you, my Dear Readers, for all your kind and commiserating Comments these past few weeks. I have been distraught, disbelieving, disgusted, and despondent — and still am — but I’m working on a survival plan that includes not going crazy with fury and loathing which I hope will put me on an even keel for the next four years. I need to paint, and write, and stay here in this space with all you Wonderful Yous, in order to marvel at the small mercies that redeem us, day to day.

And on days when it seems that there is just too much ugliness in the world, there’s always Taffy, doing something appallingly cute:

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