Say “day-twa” Friday, Feb 27 2009 

petitzinc…and eat a crepe (or several) in honor of Detroit’s past as French territory.  Le Petit Zinc is an excellent place to do so, which is where we did it.  (Photo by DC. Note the Cat in the Hat… He is everywhere.)

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Music vs. words, part IV Thursday, Feb 26 2009 

(I think it’s part four.)  Anyway, compare and contrast:

John Wesley Harding’s Who was Changed and Who was Dead practically is literature, right there.  Then we have the beach book vibe of Majesty Crush: I Love You in Other Cities.  OK, maybe not a beach book, maybe a book club book.

And on the book side, my favorite title so far this year: I Promise to Be Good. (A keeper; highly recommended.) Also the human condition in five words.

You CAN just make this stuff up Tuesday, Feb 24 2009 

Today I posted this on my Under the Poppy blog, and I love it so much I’m posting it here as well.  It doesn’t answer the age-old “Where do you get your ideas?” question (because there is no answer to that), but it does tell you what to do with them once you’ve got them.

Writing in the New Yorker, Anthony Lane:

“Many of the writers on this [Top Ten] list are under the impression that if they do the factual spadework, the fiction will dig itself in and hunker down, solid and secure….The effect…is quite the opposite.  It suggests that the writers are hanging on for grim life to what they know for fear of unleashing what they don’t know; they are frightened, in other words, of their own imagination….When Flaubert studied ancient Carthage for ‘Salammbo,’ or the particulars of medieval falconry for ‘The Legend of St. Julien Hospitalier,’ he was furnishing and feathering a world that had already taken shape within his mind[.]“

Cory Doctorow makes Sunday, Feb 22 2009 

Just finished Makers, Cory Doctorow‘s new novel (it’s out this fall from Tor; Cory was kind enough to give me a ms copy).  It’s pure Cory – a romp through a switchback maze of ideas (very much like experiencing one  of the “rides” in the story), twinned to an examination of what it can mean. to self and to society, to create something, to be a maker of things, with all the logical, legal, and emotional baggage that that identification, by self and by others (especially others who love what you do or want to make money from it; not always the same people!), tows along in its wake.

And there’s the most adorable, brave, broken goth kid in it, too.

Floor Candy Thursday, Feb 19 2009 

We’re not talking about the five-second rule here.  It’s dirty, it’s risky, but it’s so sweet you eat it anyway.  It’s Floor Candy, and it’s the title of the book I’m just about to begin. Loading up the iPod with soundtrack music (Ziggy-era Bowie, Franz Ferdinand, a little Scissor Sisters, etc. etc.) . . . . Here we go.

Here and now and then Tuesday, Feb 17 2009 

I’ve been spending a lot of time in the 19th century lately, and the line blurs less than one would think.  The incidentals of dress and diet change, and they didn’t have Facebook to, um, spend their time with, but the human condition morphs so laughably – or comfortingly – or tragically – little, that the frieze moves, the actors change, the froth evaporates, but the play rolls on. Maybe that’s why I’m reading so much in the “past” – I want to see what endures.le-flaneur (Drawing by Nicolas Toussaint Charlet)

He just doesn’t care Sunday, Feb 15 2009 

catinthehat Which is why I love him.  He’s anarchy, he’s Pan roaming the hills, he’s Punch throwing out the baby and the bath water, with the style of a street performer and the precision a Bolshoi dancer.  As Louis Menand has it, “The cat is a bricoleur. He has no system—or, rather, his system is to have no system.” (Menand also notes that, as a child, his “own identification. . .was entirely with the fish.” Discuss.)

The Cat was one of my first loves between the covers of a book and he always will be.

And of course the fish is right, he shouldn’t be here when your mother is out.  But you’re going to let him in anyway, aren’t you?

Downtown clubhouse, here we come Friday, Feb 13 2009 

My friend Diane (filmmaker extraordinaire) and I (me) have our eye on this building in downtown Detroit.  What a playhouse this would make, huh?1500woodward1

Share the love Wednesday, Feb 11 2009 

If you have a companion animal, take a look at where s/he is right now – sleeping on your bed, maybe, or chewing a toy, or chewing your bed – happy and safe, right?

tau

So many are not.  So many need us to make up for the neglect and outright cruelty they suffer at others’ hands.

Here’s where I’ll be tomorrow, helping at the Michigan Humane Society’s annual telethon. Want to help, too?  Do it! Share the love!  Adopt, donate, give your time to the MHS or any of the many rescue/shelter/advocacy groups all around the US and the world. Make this a Valentine’s Day to remember.

Drink it down, little grown-up Friday, Feb 6 2009 

Just the headline here was enough to stop me cold: “When Books Could Change Your Life.” When? Like, meaning a specific chronological moment? Meaning a process that stops?

If I thought that was really true, I’d jump off a bridge.  My thinking, the way I view the world, react to the world – my life – continues to be changed by the books I read.  Not every book, but then, back at 8, 10, 12 years old, not every book did it for me either. (Right now it’s Rimbaud’s poetry that’s turning me deliciously inside out.)

But if you stop changing in response to what you read…? Maybe you’re just sipping stuff that can’t make you shiver, laugh, retch, whatever.  Maybe you’re immune to whatever it is you’re in the habit of sampling.  Maybe you need to find a new vintage, need to get totally drunk on words again.

(Also, I don’t at all agree that Ulysses is “better” than The Velveteen Rabbit, but let’s don’t mess with that now.)

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